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Cannes Lions 2007...And the winner is?

As the industry rats amongst us will know, the Oscars of the advertising world are awarded in Cannes, France each year...and right now the Cannes Lions 2007 are in full swing.

As the usual crowd of creative directors, agency CEOs, designers and account directors descend on Cannes for a few fun-filled days of sun, networking and of course the odd party or two, the biggest question remains: who will be this year's big winner?

The contest, according to leading industry sources, is clearly between 2 very worthy contenders: The Sony Bravia Campaign and the Dove "Evolution" campaign.

As a strong advocate smart marketing to women you can guess which one of the two I'm hoping will win...

The reason I like the Evolution campaign so much - because it is such an obvious rebellion against the stress-inducing ideals served up by the advertising industry - may seem a little odd given my profession. But of course it's not, because no matter what I choose to do professionally, I am a woman first, and no matter how much experience or professional insight I have into the ways of the industry, I remain susceptable to the joys (and irritations) of advertising, just like all women do.

Professionally and personally, here's why I'm hoping the Evolution campaign will win:

1. If we judge the sucess of a campaign not merely by the accolades it is awarded by industry peers, but primarily by whether it positively influences a) the perception and positioning of the brand and b) the sales of a product, then the 'Evolution' campaign can certainly be considered sucessful.

2. This campaign is a sign of the times in the advertising world. Consumers (not just women) have become more than a little rebellious about the blatantly manipulative sales messages so often thrown at them...They're clever, media-savvy and they know they have the power to make the ultimate decision of whether they listen to your message or buy your product, regardless of what they are told (also see the post on the ClueTrain Manifesto). They want you to treat them with respect - a lot of respect. They will not forgive their intellingence being underestimated. What they want to know is "do you get me and what is really important to me here, in the real world?...And do you know what I opposed to what you think I want?"

3. And personally, I hope the campaign wins because of the positive, reaffirming message it sends to all women, young and old, out there. Dove becomes the magician that reveals the way in which it performs the age-old trick that has kept us spellbound for so long. And in doing so, they broke through all our insecurities, our doubts and our anxieties by saying: "relax ladies, we'll show you how an ordinary woman, just like you, is transformed into a killer-babe...with the help of loads of stylists, truckloads of hairspray, buckets of make-up and of course, technology!"

And so, dear reader, Dove gets the respect (and the sales!) of millions of women world-wide. And respect is what it's all about when you want to connect with female consumers in a real, meaningful way.

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