dmAlan Edgar, is a Creative Director at Ogilvy Joburg, guest stars on Jogilvy with some insights into the Cannes 2012 winners thus far:

Direct Marketing (or CRM) was often treated like that fat, freckled kid at school who always used to get beaten up; trust me, I know, I was one of them. Ha!

It was regarded at the ugly stepson of the family but these days it seems to have grown into something quite special. It’s an advertising medium that’s proven its resilience. It’s dynamic, surprises, delivers tangible results, punches way above its weight and, dare I say it, it’s become pretty… ‘cool’.

See how far it’s developed, from the ‘junk mail’ of old, by watching this inspiring selection of winners from this years Cannes Lions. (To put it into perspective of how competitive this category is consider these stats: 2357 entries were submitted into the Direct Lions category, an increase of 27% compared to 2011).

Let’s start with the BIG winner: The Grand Prix for American Express: ‘Small Business Gets an Official Day’. Genius.

Cannes Gold / EMART: ‘Sunny Sale’

QR Codes. They’ve never really taken off because they’re considered a bit of a pain in the ass to work out. But this ‘shadow-activated’ QR code took Gold because it managed to enthrall consumers and had them engage in droves.

Cannes Gold / Mercedes-Benz F-CELL: ‘The Invisible Drive’

The campaign promoting F-CELL technology had to be just as innovative as the technology itself. By turning the B-Class F-CELL invisible with the help of the LED construction, they created a perfect way to demonstrate the USP of the technology – its invisibility to the environment. This is something to be seen.

Cannes Gold / Montblanc: ‘The Beauty of a Second’

What could you achieve in ONE second? Not much, you’d think. To celebrate their 190th birthday Montblanc ran a competition that challenged people to distill everything they knew about cinematography and focus their skill to capture beauty in a 1-second-long video, creating the shortest ever short-film contest. See for yourself how it went:

Cannes Gold / LEGO: ‘Builders of Sound’

As part of the promotion of the sets of Star Wars toys, Serviceplan Campaign has built a huge barrel organ for LEGO. The construction took 20,000 LEGO bricks to make, and when the barrel of the organ is turned it plays the Star Wars theme tune. You may have seen this before but it’s well worth another view.

Cannes Gold / ‘INTEGRATION DAY’

The goal of the campaign was to take full advantage of World Downs Syndrome Day to attract the attention of the public to the importance of integrating people with Down Syndrome into society. A very touching piece of work.

Cannes Silver / EXIT DEUTSCHLAND: ‘Trojan Shirt’

How would you reach a target group that operates relatively secretive and communicate a message to them that puts their beliefs into question? This campaign is targeted at ‘helping’ Neo-Nazis escape from a world that they find impossible to escape.

Hope these examples inspire you as much as me and sway you to re-evaluate your attitude towards Direct. Hell, maybe, even start giving ‘Direct’ the love it deserves.

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