EconomyWhy isn't the roar of Mexican creatives so loud...

Why isn't the roar of Mexican creatives so loud at Cannes Lions?

Last year, the Cannes Lions festival, which rewards the best works in the advertising industry at a global level, awarded 982 lions, distributed among 53 countries. Mexico managed to take home 12 of these medals, below other territories such as Spain, which achieved 29, and Colombia, which won 18.

Of the dozen lions won, nine (3 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze and 1 Grand Prix) correspond to the #SeguimosHablando campaign, in which Publicis ‘revived’ journalist Javier Valdez, murdered in 2017, to give a message to the President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Two medals were obtained by Leo Burnett with Untouchables, an initiative carried out together with the Mexican startup Eva Center, in order to promote a method to detect breast cancer through thermography.

And the other, the first Titanium Lion for the country, was won by Corona and the We Believers agency with “El Clásico de la Historia”, a campaign in which they recreated a soccer game, derived from 70 hours of audiovisual material from the two teams with the largest number of followers in Mexico: América and Chivas.

It was not a bad count for Mexican creatives. But, without a doubt, his roar in Cannes was not as loud as in 2015, when the country took 27 lions and won its first Grand Prix, which is the highest award given in the global competition.

Raúl Cardós, CEO of (anonymous), believes that Mexican agencies don’t win as many international awards because they lost focus along the way. “There are agencies that become obsessed with winning to the point that they sometimes make up ads, when the real work they should be doing is with their clients. In addition, Mexican campaigns fail to project popular culture in a way that the entire jury understands,” he says.

Cardós has been a jury member at local and international festivals such as Cannes, Fiap, San Sebastián and the Círculo Creativo. In 1996, he won for Ogilvy the first creative lion for Mexico and since then he has not stopped receiving recognition at Cannes, Fiap, Clio, London Festivals, One Show and D&AD and the Creative Circle of Mexico.

But for the creative who has worked for brands like Bimbo, Kellogg’s, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Mattel, Kimberly Klarck, Duracell, Kraft, McDonald’s, Danone, Dormimundo, Volkswagen, Herdez, SCA, Casa Cuervo, Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, Nike and Coca-Cola, awards should be the consequence of good work and not the end.

Expansión: What did it mean for you to win the first Cannes creative lion for Mexico?
Raúl Cardós: At Ogilvy they had a huge obsession with prizes, even more than mine. I was approached when I was 26 years old to be CEO and my role was to do award-winning work. They showed me all the briefs and I selected those that I thought would give the agency awards.

Among them fell one for the Duracell batteries that were in the video cameras. Mauricio Galván, Carlos Turné and I came to the conclusion that whenever you’re recording something at the wrong time your battery runs out and with that idea and a video camera we went to record some scenes in the street.

Then we took the proposal to the client and he liked it, but he didn’t have the money to produce recorded material, so the initial campaign was for posters. However, he told us that if we recorded it well, he would put the material on the air. So, we asked Simón Bross, director of commercials for Mexico, to direct us. We recorded at my father-in-law’s house with a video camera and the only thing we did was pay an actor, and in another commercial I appear as an actor and people from the agency.

We sent it to Cannes thinking that it was not going to win because the ideas that won were the ones with big productions and budgets. It was a pride and a great honor because I was there when they told us we won and it was the first time I had been to the festival.

That marked my career in several ways because Mexico had won a lion like 15 years before, but it was in the technical area, a production by maestro Fernando Espejo for an advertisement for Ford trucks. Thanks to the lion, Enrique Gibert, who was a jury at Cannes and founder of Gibert DDB, sought me out to work in his agency for brands like Volkswagen. That put me on the path to becoming Creative Vice President of the agency at 27 years old.

E: How do you think the value of prizes has changed?
RC: I feel that today there is a brutal excess of festivals and that makes the prizes lose their value a lot and become distorted. All the agencies will tell you that they are the most awarded, for me, the damage that the awards have done to the industry is that they have become a business. There are agencies that put 100 pieces and that is a matter of volume, not quality.

An agency that wants to win awards has to invest a lot of money, which seems very ironic to me: pay to submit ideas to a festival so that other creatives tell you that your work is good. We are like dogs chasing each other’s tails.

Today, the industry in general is at a time when we should have fewer awards, be less obsessed with them. I have seen people who lose their lives wanting to win, when the clients don’t care, I have never won or lost a client because we have more or less prizes.

E: Do you think that Mexico lacks creativity and talent to win?
RC: There is a lot of talent in advertising. However, I do believe that Mexicans should think about how to reflect popular culture in a way that is understood abroad, we are one of the most creative countries in the world, but advertising does not reflect it. The winning countries in advertising have a very clear identity. Mexico does not have it.

E: Beyond the awards, what is the purpose of (anonymous)?
RC: In (anonymous) there is not a single award hanging on the walls, we have a hole in the floor and we throw all the awards there because they are a thing of the past, they no longer have anything to do with what you are doing now. We are 90 people in the agency and we are in a very good moment. Even being an independent agency, its position in the market is enviable, since we are one of the best known in the country after Ogilvy.

We are also going through a redefinition process. We want to better structure the processes, so that talent has a better balance between life and work because we have grown in a way that sometimes people are very exhausted, so the focus is to take pressure off and make everyone feel happier .

On the other hand, I am convinced that when you found your company you can inject your own philosophy. The hallmark of (anonymous) is that we tell stories. If people turn on the television to be entertained, our commercials should entertain and not interrupt. I do not compete against other ads, but with what people want to see. That’s when you really transcend.

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