The bountiful south

Bilbao has won seven international awards recognising the quality of its architecture

Bilbao has won seven international awards recognising the quality of its architecture

Across the 20 countries that Southern, or Mediterranean, Europe embraces, there are arid deserts, soaring mountains, lush green micro-climates, an awful lot of dramatic coast and massive forests, not to mention thousands of villages, towns and cities of all shapes, styles and sizes. There is also a different mentality in Europe’s south, forged in the shimmering heat of long summer days, and an approach to creativity that reflects the open and optimistic nature of its people.

Alfonso Marian, chairman of Ogilvy Spain and worldwide creative director for customer engagement and e-commerce, agrees — with reservations — that Southern Europe still has its own creative style: “There aren’t big differences between regions when it comes to the big creative idea. On the other hand, there are still hints of local flavour in terms of craft and tone. We Southern Europeans are probably more optimistic, spontaneous and naïve. We get straight to the point when it comes to narrative storytelling. Humour for us is a collective exercise. By contrast, internal struggles, irony, sarcasm and self-deprecation are the property of the cloudy north. But as globalisation blitzes through our societies, marketing strategies, cultural insights and communication styles are becoming more homogenous across different markets.”

Marian points to ‘Be More Old’, a campaign by Ogilvy for the Adolfo Dominguez clothing line, as one of which he is particularly proud: “It will probably not win at Cannes but, for its bravery, it should. Adolfo Dominguez is a fashion brand for older, affluent women and men, offering elegant classics and excellent quality at a reasonable price. One of the big issues we need to solve in terms of our common sustainability problems is that, today, each one of us buys 60% more clothes than in 2000. But Dominguez’s concept encourages us to change that behaviour. The idea behind ‘Be More Old’ is that a skirt should last 10 years. We may not recognise this brand’s bravery with an award, but it deserves a place within the festival.”

Juan Garcia-Escudero, general creative director at Leo Burnett Madrid, selects Pernod Ricard’s ‘The Time We Have Left’ as his favourite campaign of the year: “It’s one of those campaigns you come across maybe once in your lifetime, because it actually changes people’s lives for the better. The heart of it lies in an algorithm that calculates how much time you have left with someone. It’s the first time we’ve actually managed to harness the power of data to move people to act and the results could not have been better: a 54% increase in sales, the most-watched and most-shared Spanish campaign in history and, most importantly, millions of people re-thinking their life priorities and making a positive change in the way they manage their time.”

• Read the full article in the Lions Daily News, published here online, and in print throughout the city of Cannes, during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, from June 16 to 21

Harriet Palmer