In the nineteenth century, British commentator Walter Bagehot made a famous caution against letting the monarchy become too familiar to its public: 'We must not let daylight in upon the magic.’
Looking over 2016’s list of what earned the highest accolades in our industry – both a gold Cannes Lion for creativity and a gold Effie for effectiveness – I wonder whether we need to consider Bagehot’s advice. It feels as if out award juries have come to favour dalylight over magic. Brands meeting consumers on the consumer’s terms. Empathising with their problems. All with that same tone – earnest, reverent, deferential.
We used to love irreverence. Brilliant ideas. Bold creative leaps that made products shine under entirely new light. Added magic to brands. Made them seem transcendent.
Creative tricks that made one and one add up to three.
Two of this year’s group are retrospective effectiveness awards, acknowledging the success, over many years, of Old Spice and John Lewis. These feel like proper advertising creativity. Campaigns that have taken two brands, that by rights should have been as dull as dishwater, and made them transcend their natural order. Made leaders of them.