Cannes blog: The power of looking backwards

Post Cannes jury duties, One Advertising's CCO goes from a high volume micro look at advertising, to a compact but macro view of the industry

By Karen Howe

One of the things Sir John Hegarty finds troubling about advertising these days is its reluctance to look back to learn. Ours is a culture that lionizes the new and now without learning from the past. That’s what makes the Cannes Lions exhibit “The Game Changers” all the more extraordinary.

It traces the turning points that defined the business as we know it today, such as Bill Bernbach’s momentous “Think Small” campaign for Volkswagon, and restructuring of the creative world so writers and art directors worked as teams. His work was a celebration of good taste, good art and good writing.

As you wander through the exhibit, you are led through such iconic campaigns as “Got milk?” Apple’s “Think Different”, Levi’s 501 shrink-to-fit jeans, and Coke’s “I’d like to teach the world to sing.” It ends with Old Spice, Dove’s Evolution and Red Bull’s Stratos jump. It explains why each of these particular campaigns was a “Game Changer” in its time, tracking how we’ve evolved from newspaper ads, to online, branded content and mobile.

It reminds us to take a moment to look backwards. You just might see the future