As I made my way to the Palais this year, I was hoping to take back new creative trends across tech and digital; to be able to see and document some of the most eye-popping, jaw-dropping innovations across the world.
But by the time day three dawned, so did this realisation came that all the best examples of world-class tech, social media hacks and digital wizardry are pointing towards something that has been at the core of great advertising since Bernbach.
I may be preaching to the choir here, since we creative folk are the most ardent adherents of the KISS principle (Well, in theory at least).
But the fact of the matter remains that new-age creatives have often been accused of obfuscating the marketing message, and wrapping it up with shiny tech. And often those accusations hold true.
But technology can also be the guiding force for simplicity. A means to bridge the gaps in understanding and empathy, some of which, admittedly, may be created by technology itself.
The work at Cannes this year is testimony to the fact if any technology — primitive or cutting edge — doesn’t help simplify the world and our perceptions of it for the better, it simply won’t make the cut.
The New York Public Library sought to simplify and reimagine books for an audience that finds comfort in a mobile phone screen, rather than books.
Microsoft redesigned their controllers from the ground up, simplifying them, so players of all ages with disabilities can play too.
Samsung is making memories accessible through voice with Bixby Voice Forever, simplifying how family members of MND patients come to terms with their loss.
Even Google is welcoming creatives with disabilities to create on the internet, by developing creative tools that simplify the process from their perspectives, with Creatability.
Using print, or rather the lack thereof, The Blank edition by An-nahar managed to say a lot by simply saying nothing. The rest, as they say, is all over social media.
This list would be incomplete without the mention of the indomitable Nike. The first thing you notice about their new ad campaign is the typography. You’ll notice a stark shift from the aggressive One Nike Currency font family to a simple serif Palatino.
Outdoor Jury President 2019, John Patroulis, rightly stated that the first criteria for judging a piece of work in a category where the definition of the category itself is constantly being rewritten and expanded is that “It has to be simple”.
In our world where the very rules of what counts as ‘advertising’ (or for that matter ‘creative’) are constantly being rewritten, simplicity makes for the most reliable benchmark.
As David Droga put it, “We’re all just trying to do stuff that people will give a shit about.”
Set out to simplify the world with your craft and you’ll find yourself fighting the good fight, and creating work that people, surprisingly enough, do care about.
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