Five things on Friday #348

Things of note for the week ending Friday June 23rd, 2023

No things this week just Lions.

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12 shortlists.

Seven Lions.

Four Gold. Two Silver. One Bronze.

Seven Lions awarded at the peer reviewed and judged Cannes Lion Festival of Creativity.

All seven for the OREO x Xbox partnership (aka ‘Cheat Cookies’ or ‘Unlock Playfulness’ – market depending), that launched at the turn of the year.

I led and sold in the strategy for this project when I was at Digitas, working with the amazing team at Saatch Saatchi Dusseldorf, in my role as European Strategy Lead for Mondelez bakery .

I cried.

Clients have been amazing.

And my old team have sent a million selfies.

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I know it sounds mad but for me, this shit is important.

When it comes to the advertising industry, winning a Lion is IT.

Like that is IT.

People care about all the other awards, sure. But the big one, the one that really chuffing matters – it’s the Cannes Lion.

Winning a Lion at Cannes MATTERS.

I know this because the only other Lion that I have on my CV is the Bronze I’m credited on for the 2014 Expedia activation: Travel Your Tweet Interesting.

And I have always been proud of that.

But y’know what, I don’t talk about my upbringing that much (Dad was a carpenter, left when I was six or seven, Mum worked two jobs – in a pub and a supermarket) – I was recently sent a book called ‘Making it in the creative industry: A practical guide’ and it reminded me that actually, I’ve been really effing lucky to get where I am.

I grew up in Essex. I didn’t come into the ad industry knowing someone. I didn’t go to private school (I got my GSCEs at Castle View, Canvey Island, Essex). I had free school dinners (had to queue up at reception every lunchtime and get the little bus ticket voucher). I didn’t go to university and I don’t have a degree. No one paid for me to get anywhere. No one opened doors. I’m a white cis-het male and so the system is easier for me to navigate – there’s privilege there. I acknowledge that.

Today though, I acknowledge my background. My working class roots. I’m a member of Jed Hallam’s common people and proud.

And today I’ve got four gold lions.

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You may not care about Cannes. And y’know what, if you’d asked me before this week, I probably would’ve said I don’t care as well.

But then we won. And I sobbed. Sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Uncontrollably! Sobbed for the validation of my peers. Sobbed for achieving the heights on a campaign strategy and idea we believed in so much. Sobbed for all those bastards that never really knew what to do with me when they found me working in their team.

And yet here I am. With FOUR GOLD Lions.

Speechless. Utterly speechless.

Normal service will resume next edition.

I’m done now.

Whatley out x

PS. Watch the case film.

PPS. Those Lions in full:

GOLD: DIRECT, FOOD & DRINK
GOLD: CULTURE & CONTEXT
GOLD: AUDIENCE, SOCIAL INSIGHT & ENGAGEMENT
GOLD: BRANDED CONTENT, INSIGHT & STRATEGY
SILVER: ENTERTAINMENT FOR GAMING, PARTNERSHIPS
SILVER: GAMING, DATA & TECHNOLOGY
BRONZE: BRAND EXPERIENCE & ACTIVATION

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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x

3 thoughts on “Five things on Friday #348”

  1. Amazing work! The only thing wrong with this FToF is that it actually came out on Friday, which I’m pretty sure is against the rules.

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