THE BLOG

ADCAN - the Cannes-tidote to Commercials Awards

30/06/2014 11:30 BST | Updated 27/08/2014 10:59 BST

So, once again the lions have returned home in their prides from this year's largest advertising awards festival in France, the Cannes Lions - an event which, in the advertising industry translates to: line your stomachs, update your LinkedIn profile pics and don't forget your sunscreen.

The advertising industry can sometimes be a boozy, schmoozy cocktail of creativity and award shows like Cannes certainly play a large role in the creation of this image. As an aspiring film director myself, I was lucky enough to win a competition in Cannes for a spec ad I'd made with my creative partner,but after the VIP champagne bar on a yacht had run dry, I found myself left with a really nice looking paperweight , but I wasn't any closer to speaking with the people who could make a big difference in my career.

Of course awards are important as they recognise and bring attention to deserving creators of inspiring work. However, aside from award industry politics, what's always struck me is the disproportionate amount of time creatives and agencies alike spend both entering and making ads purely in the pursuit of mantelpiece hardware.

The more I looked, the more awards shows I found - there's hundreds in London alone. So you've just recently made a really great monkey chasing a banner ad or kick-started a compelling conversation about yogurt on twitter? Don't worry, there's probably and award waiting to be won for both of these. All you have to do is make a case study video and pay your £300 entry fee.

What was missing in the industry was a free space that could sit outside this mainstream award circuit of boozy backslapping, and serve as a direct link to nurturing upcoming creative talent, whilst doing some good along the way. The Cannes Lions Grand Prix Award for Good is a great way to recognise a creative advertising campaign for good causes (congratulations Lemz Amsterdam on your win!) - but there's a gap in the market for initiatives championing this kind of filmmaking.

There are around 180,000 charities registered in England and Wales alone, but how many of those have commercials or online videos you actually see or sit up and pay attention to? Plus, filmmakers are always looking to improve their reel and production companies are always on the look out for new talent.

In the wake of last years Cannes Lions, myself and collaborator, Dan Heighes launched a free-to-enter initiative called the ADCAN awards to connect those very dots.

Up-and-coming filmmakers create a 30-second TV ad for their selected charity or good cause from the creative briefs on our website and in the process are directly exposed to the names that can make a huge difference in their creative career including; Nexus Productions, Rattling Stick, Partizan and Vimeo to name a few.

Anyone can shoot an arty music video, a quirky spec spot for toothpaste or a short film that's not actually that short. However, creating a piece of communication for a real client that moves, touches and inspires people in 30 seconds is an insanely important skill to have, especially in the modern age of digital saturation.

So yes, a year on you could say there is yet another advertising awards show on the block. But you could also say an awards initiative that simultaneously celebrates new talent and supports emerging charities/good causes is in a way a Cannes-tidote to all advertising awards shows. Which as an Ad-man myself sounds just about right.