Burnout and Humour Take Centre Stage at Cannes

On the second day of the Cannes Lions festival, brands expose our collective weariness while reminding us that humour is the new cool.


Burnout is white hot

Cannes provides an annual cultural check-up and an early diagnosis is that we are weary. It shows itself in many of the shortlisted concepts; many are centred on self-care. Heineken created a bottle cap that, when popped open, triggers your laptop to shut off.

The Cannes experience itself shows a difference in our collective state by offering a tech-free chill zone in an oasis of greenery. Is it the post-COVID-19 reality or the state of our industry? The opening video for the show nods to the killer concepts that are expected of us in less time with less money than ever before.

The Humour Damn is Broken

Delivering us out of the laughter drought that was the pandemic is Kevin Hart. His evolution from stand-up comedy to marketing entrepreneur is informed by a simple mission: ‘to make us laugh together’. As human beings, we love to laugh, yet humour is overlooked by many brands. Odd when you consider studies show that 91 percent of us prefer funny brands.

According to interviewer Jeffrey Katzenberg, only 20 percent are leveraging humor in their advertising. After reviewing hundreds of shortlisted ads, I think those numbers are outdated. The humor dam has broken open, and funny is the new cool, especially in the beverage and fast-food categories.

Just watch a few of Hart’s Old Spice spots. Throw in a few Doritos ads. I rest my case.

Word of the Day

Ecosystem.” Used by Kevin Hart 43 times to characterize his vault from “talent for hire” to heading a marketing company producing humor-driven ads, shows and podcasts.

Karen Howe

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