The Big Question at Cannes Lions 

canneslionsIt’s not enough to create awesome print to win the ad game; one exec says it’s all about the conversation.

At this spring’s Cannes Print & Publishing Lions festival, industry execs gathered for much more than an awards program. They came to speak, debate and share on the state of the industry.

We heard Sir Martin Sorrell talk about the tide turning back to print, and Steven Perlberg of the WSJ saying all advertising isn’t dead, only bad advertising.

A fresh perspective comes from Norman Tan, head of creative efforts for J Walter Thompson North Asia, who was interviewed for Campaign Asia by Jenny Chan.

Tan points out that “the impact of print should not be restricted to traditional published media.”

“The question posed is: can your print execution also ‘go viral online’ or trigger conversations on social media? The quality of print is judged not only in terms of art direction or copywriting, but in the strategic direction of that piece of work,” he continues.

(He also notes the challenges in appealing to an international jury at Cannes, stressing that the conceptualization process must be simple and to the point. We expect that’s particularly true in an international jury situation, but it’s a valid point about good advertising in general.)

This idea of print going viral is not as far-fetched as you might think. We’ve seen it happen with magazine covers that tap a particular nerve, or the print catalog that hit the social, big time.

It’s easy to overlook the conversational potential of print in our planning; Tan’s reminder can help us bake that in.