Sunday 25 June 2023

Aussie ingenuity front and centre at Cannes

Kieran Moroney was in France last week for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. He is co-chair of AWARD School Victoria and creative director of VMLY&R Melbourne & Sydney.

What an incredible week for the graduating class of Cannes Lions 2023.

Just as AWARD School students across Australia are finessing, agonising, and poring over their final submissions developed over the last few months, so has the global creative community been doing so for the last year. And in many cases longer than that for ideas plagued by obstacles seeking to defy greatness.

It’s a time where countless hours of hard work, determination, and admiration for the work of others culminates in recognising the best creative there is.

In the case of Cannes Lions, there’s something like three times as many categories compared to Australia’s premier creativity course and some 26,992 individual pieces of work to compete against.

Less than five percent of the work makes it to a shortlist to be displayed in the basement of the Palais at the start of the week.

But unlike ‘the wall’ where those at the beginning of their advertising journey have their best work displayed in black marker on white paper, the halls of Cannes are decked with richly detailed A2 idea boards finessed to highly considered perfection.

L-R: VMLY&R’s Rhys Thomas, Paul Nagy, Amanda Chen, Kieran Moroney, Isabel Evans, Jake Barrow, Thomas Tearle in Cannes.


Australian entrants continue to punch well above their global weight. It’s plain to see the spirit of Aussie ingenuity and innovation is truly alive and kicking.

In the Innovation category, four of the nineteen shortlists were powered by smarts from Australia. To be so prolific is a brilliant indicator on the health of our industry. Congrats to the teams behind Never Done Evolving feat Serena, Resilience Road, the Mammoth Meatball and the First Digital Nation.

The best of AWARD School will be displayed on graduation in August and the bar has been set for the world at Cannes.

In both cases we should celebrate the new standard that has been set, and for those already working in the industry prepare to radically evolve our thinking over the next year to keep driving creativity onwards.

AKQA’s Adam Grant and Diego Machado on stage at the festival.

For more highlights from this year’s festival, click here.
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