An Analytical Approach to the Creative Cannes: A Study

thinking statue

When you hear the word ‘analyst,’ what do you think of? Somebody good with numbers that can calculate derivatives and correlate between two or three data sets? Most people do. But I feel that title on my (first) business card carries much more weight than just the ability to comprehend and work with numbers.

Being analytical simply means listening to things around you and attempting to understand why you see what you see. Numbers can indicate trends, but so can the words from a conversation, or the actions from a couple window shopping at the mall. Being an analyst simply means playing the “why” game at all seconds of the day. It means being aware and being observant.

In one of his books, David Olgilvy says that “creative people are especially observant, and they value accurate observation more than other people do.” Now I am by no means calling myself creative, but I do strive to become more creative than what I am. That doesn’t mean being able to draw a better picture, or create a better song. Creativity means being able to draw from a variety of areas and combine thoughts of different realms into a unique, unconventional solution to a problem. It could be art. It could be engineering a better manufacturing line. It could be explaining the Civil War to grade schoolers in a new way. But for me, I would like these creative solutions to take the form of how to reach and inspire broad masses of people in general. Whether to buy a product, volunteer, or simply challenge their comfortable weekday routine, I aim to better understand what you can say that makes people do something outside of normalcy.

Insert the Cannes, and perhaps a few other advertising awards. These awards mostly reward creativity particularly in advertising, where one attempts to persuade somebody to act. Some ads attempt to drive a purchase or subscription. Some try for something more, an inspired action that will make that person a better person. No matter what, these awards indicate a source of unconventional methods to accomplish the goal of inspiration. Yes, movies and books similarly do the same, but everyone sees marketing and advertising campaigns, whether they like it or not. I hope by analyzing, by observing, by being alert to these communicators’ best attempts at inspiring their targets that I will at gain a better understanding than my foundation of coaching pep talks and meetings I have already received.

The process is simple. Once every other day, analyze an award winning ad. Understand why it won an award, yes, but also question if it accomplished the end goal of an inspired or educated consumer willing to make a purchase (or a person to become a better person). Explore different mediums. Halfway through, check if thoughts align with the judges’ requirements. Thus, the latter half will include a critique on the work aligning with a) the business’s goals, b) the award requirements, and c) my own thoughts.

If at the very least, I will have expanded the library on which to draw ideas.

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