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Innovation in the OOH Space —Cannes Matters

Sean McCaffrey Reflects on Cannes

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Nike ‘Dream Crazy’ Cannes 2019 Grand Prix OOH Winner

Sean McCaffrey on Cannes

We were turning through web pages recently searching Cannes OOH and found this post written by Cannes Attendee, President and CEO of GSTV, Sean McCaffrey.  Though it was written two years ago, it still resonates as profoundly today.  McCaffrey states, “Cannes Lions in OOH are inspiring the broadening role of OOH and highlighting its increasing value in a visual, connected and mobile world.”

Last year, Cannes selected McDonald’s of Canada ‘Follow the Arches’ as the top OOH choice and this year’s winner, Nike’s, Just Do It with Colin Kaepernick.  OOH Today posted  twice on Nike’s Just Do It/Dream Crazy Kaepernick OOH Campaign.  Quoting Sean McCaffrey in his return from this year’s (2019) event, “this year’s winners add recognition to OOH’s ability to catalyze a social conversation and drive brand value and growth.

Cast an eye over McCaffrey’s story here⇒McCaffrey’s LinkedIn Post Cannes OOH Inspire


Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump peer out of a billboard from the Twitter campaign
Twitter 2017 Cannes OOH Grand Prix Award

Cannes OOH Inspire?

Sean Mccaffrey

Sean McCaffrey

President & Chief Executive Officer at GSTV



As the advertising world returns from the Côte d’Azur to conference rooms, while still others debate from afar the very reason for Cannes, we’re left to consider professional ROI from Cannes. Does the time spent there matter? Does Cannes inspire and lead to business growth? And for a more personal question to me, does Cannes accurately reflect and reward where OOH fits in media today, tomorrow and beyond?

Unequivocally YES . . . the Lions and the hardworking jurors among them are absolutely nailing the growing value and utility of OOH with their Grand Prix selections. 

Much like video and audio encompass more innovation than their legacy roots, OOH is similarly transforming it’s value with screens, audience data, integrated consumer experiences and smarter campaign strategy. If you want to follow the consumer to connect and inspire, those consumers are increasingly connected while OOH. 

But like audio and video, OOH at its best leverages the core values of the medium (powerful, unavoidable visuals in physical locations and context) alongside the right application of data, technology and consumer insights. Creativity . . .technology . . media selection. . .all must combine to drive business results. And the Cannes Lions in OOH are a literal road map for the evolution of OOH’s growing value to brands.

Five years ago (a lifetime in today’s economy), Google won for their outstanding Google Voice Search with understanding of OOH’s key value, the power of location and context. Phonetic pronunciations of words placed in the right place and time made consumers ask a question with Google providing the answer . . by downloading the Voice Search app. Smart, contextually relevant, visual and most importantly successful at driving 50% more downloads in London during the campaign.

The following year we all delighted in childhood wonder with British Airways #LookUpcampaign. Taking location and context one step further with an addressable screen and real-time weather and flight data tracking BA flights over London, British Airways encouraged Londoner’s to #LookUp in amazement and wave in real-time to passing travelers. British Airways deftly illustrated location and context catalyzed by addressable screens and real-time data.

Next the world welcomed more stunning visuals from Apple Shot on iPhone and their Grand Prix winning campaign. Once again, a brand smartly combined location, context and stunning visuals while engaging their loyalists in a global social community writ large in OOH. Rather than shout about the power of their camera or speed of their processors, Apple smartly took the personal relationship we all have with our smartphones to share those moments with the world.

And or course this year’s winner, Twitter Grand Prix, chose to show the world that Twitter is “what’s happening” with powerful visual hashtags featuring icons and events from music, politics, social and cultural conversations. Working both as a B2B and B2C campaign, Twitter uses cultural currency and iconic visuals demonstrating the value of their platform. Twitter intrinsically understands there is no line between the physical and digital worlds to consumers, and we’re mobile and empowered and can move from awareness to action in an OOH minute.

It’s worth noting the Cannes Lions’ Marketer of the year winners from the last decade are also a highlight reel of powerful OOH creativity – Nike, Honda, P&G, Volkswagen, Unilever, Ikea, Mars, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Heineken, Samsung and most recently, Burger King. These brands over-index in OOH and their creative uses of the medium drive business results.

As we work to meet today’s consumers with meaningful communication that inspires action . . .it’s worth noting the Cannes Lions in OOH are inspiring the broadening role of OOH and highlighting its increasing value in a visual, connected and mobile world. For that I’ll raise a glass to all the winners and look forward to bright things ahead in OOH . . it’s #whatshappening!





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