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Print Ain’t Dead

by Mikey Fleming, Art Director

In the basement of the Palais, the Cannes Lions Festival hub, every piece of shortlisted work is on display. The sheer amount of work was overwhelming, but I did my best to check out as much as I could, with a particular focus on Print and Outdoor. I’m going to take you through just a few of the standouts. It was the fast food brands who were showing big brands just how print is done. Burger King, as always, had a strong showing with their now clearly cemented irreverent tone, constantly poking fun at their rival McDonalds. Two campaigns from different regions, ‘Come as a Clown, Eat Like a King’ and ‘McMansions’, both pushed the boundaries of what a brand can legally do or say in print.

KFC had two fantastic, highly commended campaigns. One for their Hot & Spicy Chicken, which, in a series of images, simply swapped out explosions with a macro shot of their deep-fried chicken. But the real standout was the now infamous ‘FCK’ press ad. This is how you do an apology ad. Timed perfectly, with exactly the right tone, this ad only ran once but was shared 2 million times on social media and became an international story. But most importantly, the reaction from the public was overwhelmingly positive.

McDonalds had a number of pieces on display throughout the basement, all showing demonstrations of great minimalist print. None more so than the Outdoor Grand Prix winning work ‘Follow the Arches’. An incredibly brave and confident outdoor campaign that cropped different parts of the McDonald’s arches to work as directions to their nearest restaurant. In a brave move, only the cropped versions of the arches and the brand colours were the only branding visible within the ad, yet there was never any question as to who it was for.

As I mentioned, the amount of work on display was jaw-dropping, as was the quality. There were too many to go into in detail, but the following three innovative pieces of print that found new ways to use the medium are too good not to mention. The IKEA pregnancy test, an ad you peed on to determine if you were pregnant, and if you were, turned into a voucher to use on a discounted crib, ALDI ‘Fresh Prints’, a real-time print ad and finally the Grand Prix winning Budweiser Tag Words, which found a clever way of using expensive photography without paying the usage. Each one a brilliant demonstration of how best to innovatively use the medium, proving that print isn’t dead, it’s constantly being reinvented by game-changing brands.


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Or see all our articles from Cannes Lions 2018