Wednesdays without Will: Cannes without Red Bull

WHERE’S WILL?

Don’t worry loyal Wednesdays with Will followers, Will’s still here—he’s just off exploring the world of advertising outside the blogosphere. I know, weak sauce. Will will be back soon, but in his absence, we’re bringing you Wednesdays without Will. Our summer junior executives have arrived and are eager to share their voices with Our Space; today’s post on the Cannes Lions awards is by Leora Sherman—a Washington University senior.

Since 1954, the Cannes Lion Festival and Awards has united members of global communications industries by the thousands to celebrate excellence in creative communications. Each year, the festival doles out the prestigious Lions awards in categories such as graphic design, public relations, innovative communication strategies and more. This year Cannes received over 35,000 entries from household names and newcomers alike. However, one of the most talked-about contenders for the Grand Prix award was nowhere to be seen on the winners’ list.

That contender was Red Bull “Stratos,” last year’s live media event that featured a real-time stream of professional skydiver Felix Baumgartner tumbling from a helium balloon at record heights, becoming the first person in history to break the speed of sound in free fall. In case you missed it, here’s the buzzed-about footage (note Red Bull’s not-so-subtle branding techniques):

 

 

So where was Red Bull amid all those Lion Awards? As it turns out, they didn’t even submit to the festival. According to Patrice Radden, Red Bull’s director of corporate communications, “our approach towards communications is that we don’t really talk about ourselves too much. Rather, we focus on what we do — the events we create and produce and the athletes we support — versus who we are.” Hmm. Before trying to decide if this proclamation of humility is actually veiled arrogance, I turn to another question: was this the right move for Red Bull? With all the Festival chatter surrounding “Stratos,” I think it’s safe to say they would have walked away with some wins had they chosen to participate.  On the other hand, Red Bull does pretty well for itself even without the added publicity boost of a prestigious industry award. Debates aside, “Stratos” is, needless to say, an impressive project.

Although “Stratos” was missing from Cannes Lion Festival, many of the award winners are well worth noting. Here is the submission that received the Gran Prix in the Branded Content & Entertainment category. The advertiser, a partnership between Intel and Toshiba, was particularly recognized for successfully creating a storyline around the product.

 

 

Cover Photo Source: By Cyril Attias via Flickr

Leora is a Junior Executive at SJG. She is a native Chicagoan who is currently working toward obtaining a BA from Washington University in St. Louis. Outside the office, her favorite things include reading, live music and travel.