Cannes Lions Festival - Day Seven

The festival is starting to wind down and as I reflected on the revolutionary work I got to see, I thought a lot about how the relationship between agency and client must be in order to produce Cannes Lions-worthy work. How does an agency properly understand the brand without being a part of their day-to-day operations and how does the client accurately describe what they want without having the creative talent in-house?

I got a few answers to all these questions today, and perhaps the brand that best explained their unique relationship with their agency is Burger King (shoutout to them for winning Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes Lions). In a session titled, "How to Suck Less as a Client," Burger King CMO Axel Schwan and Head of Brand Marketing Fernando Machado gave simple advice on how to best interact with your agency of choice in order to ensure that everyone understands the other's needs and can deliver them. Perhaps the biggest takeaway was that brands and  agencies don't need to treat each other like so, but rather as partners. It seems simple, but when it's put into practice, the dynamic of the relationship changes to be more collaborative, open and friendly to good ideas. Burger King also has a clear understanding of their values, personality and what sets them apart from other competitors. For example, Burger King calls people 'guests' rather than 'consumers' in order to promote respect for everyone who walks in their restaurant and their ability to "have it their way". With this in mind, their creative work reflects those components. 

Even though the brand has a much deeper understanding of their company, agencies need to invest the time in understanding the company below the surface and weave that into their creative work. Because after all, the best work is always the most authentic. 


  1. Great examples from the Burger King session, although you're the first that I've heard speak positively about the talk. Love that you included a reminder of the key take aways.


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