‘Have idea, will travel’ – #CannesLions2015

Alexandra Lever, Senior Campaign Executive, discusses Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2015 ‘Have idea, will travel’ seminar.

‘Have idea, will travel’, was a seminar at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2015 which really resonated with me.

Mike Schalit, co-founder of Network BBDO, and Creative Chief of BBDO South Africa was joined by Syl Saller, CMO of Diageo and Lara Balazs, head of North America marketing for Visa. They discussed into why some global campaigns work, while others fail.

How do you make a great global campaign that the world will love, what elements go into making it great and where do marketers go wrong?

‘Pack Right, Pack Light’

First the seminar discussed how to get a global campaign off the ground. Saller said, “the first thing to do is to start packing!”. In that she meant start packing the strongest assets your brand has. In that, Balazs added, “if you are throwing in every message that every country wants, you are not going to stand for anything”.

Consumers are looking at a brand that stands for:

  • Clarity
  • Authenticity
  • Transparency

It is important to project consistent imagery, tone and feel for a global brand across markets.

Travel with purpose

Getting to great work isn’t easy, you have to make work that works in all countries from Ethiopia to England.

The most iconic brands are rapping into something deeper in consumers and culture they look at the higher brand role that that brand has in that space.

The most iconic brands cross borders and travel with purpose. For example, Johnnie Walker campaigns since 1990 have been about rooted in an understanding regardless of gender or culture, people want to progress. So the brand is about personal progress.

‘Biology trumps Geography’

“The truth is we are all humans and humans have brains which respond to stimulus. Biology triumphs geography” – Lara Balazs, head of North America marketing for VISA.

Great work which illicits those chemicals performs better. Great work has three rules.

  1. Storytelling

For example, Snickers, ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’

  1. Being incredibly visual.

A lot of copy is not going to fly

For example, First Kiss, 100million organic views.

  1. Easy to grasp.

Themes you can explain to your Mum and Dad and they get it.

Dip Yourself into Local Culture

“Great global campaigns can thrive with fresh thinking from local markets”.

Have global insight but give it some local flavor. Citing the example of Guinness from Diageo, which ran a global campaign on the platform Made of More, Sal noted that in Africa, the theme was adopted to the local market, as Made of Black.

A number of global ideas fail in local markets, because a brand only chooses one execution. This is often due to cost, however if it is not great work, and if it is not effective, you are going to lose the money on your media buy.

Have no fixed plans


  1. Pack right, pack light
  2. Travel with purpose
  3. Biology trumps geography
  4. Dip yourself into local culture
  5. Have no fixed plans