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Our Industry Has Lost Its Way A Titanium & Integrated Juror’s Perspective

Bechara Mouzannar, Chief Creative Officer Leo Burnett MENA

Issue 36 | September 2015

The Titanium Lion was defined as the way forward when it was introduced by Dan Wieden at the Cannes Festival 10 years ago.

However, the quality of the work in general this year in the Titanium and Integrated competition showed me that the way forward for our industry has totally blurred in all regions of the world.

We ended up seeing great campaigns that had won in several other categories, which makes me believe that there are no borders between categories anymore. We were simply looking for one particular gem that would really unite us, but we never really found it as a group.

So we revived other campaigns in order to give them a fair chance, and among them the 'Abla Fahita' campaign by JWT Cairo. This was a very courageous and well-thought campaign and we gave it a Titanium Lion. But the Grand Titanium shows our incapacity as an industry to see the way forward.

With the introduction of the Innovation and Health competitions – and all the sub-categories that have been added over the years – it seems that Titanium either has lost its raison d'e^tre or should be re-defined. Because the lack of focus on what Titanium represents tells you how lost we all are – not only the jury – when it comes to knowing where we're going. As for the integrated category, when you look at the winners you don't feel that these are the best campaigns you've ever seen. But it was a good year for us to understand – clearly – how far we are from being able to define a new business model. If the titanium jury and the industry are not able to outline what a Titanium is in 2015, then I'd better leave it up to the users to define it. Because this is the third, and the most important learning, from my whole participation in Cannes Lions this year.

We unanimously decided to give the grand prix for good to the Ice Bucket Challenge. A users' campaign that was initiated by the ALS association, it was then edited by Facebook as a means of assistance for the organisation. This for me was the revelation of this festival, although

I knew the campaign before. Because this is the kind of campaign that takes you places in an un-rendered way, and as it travels it starts to engage the whole world and all ages and all races.

I was at the gala ceremony when the Grand Titanium was announced. I had not voted for it because I found it to be a nice gimmick but definitely not even worth a regular Titanium. And I really felt embarrassed to see almost everyone bewildered and to hear no applause. Immediately afterwards, the Grand Prix for Good was announced and there was a standing ovation that lasted seven minutes.

The scope of the gap between the silence for the 'Domino's Emoji Ordering' idea and the huge applause for the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' shows how deeply lost the industry is. Since our jury and the whole creative industry – through its entered work – were totally unable to identify the way forward, I suggest that the Titanium Lions become the awards that users give. Since they definitely know more than we do as to where communication is heading.

The night of the gala was a very happy night for me, because the time of the users has come. On the Cannes Lions stage, the Ice Bucket Challenge won more trophies than any other campaign done by any agency in the world. I have been waiting for this for so long. Some industries only accept to really embrace change when they are in danger of extinction.

First published in Campaign Middle East (www.campaignme.com)

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