David Droga on Titanium Grand Prix, and why he’s excited about the future

Friday is David Droga’s favourite day of the International Festival of Creativity, because it’s when the Titanium Lions are unveiled.

Until then, the Festival is about celebrating the very best industry craft across individual disciplines and media. “Which is crucial,” said the Accenture Song CEO, who served as jury president this year. “But the Titaniums have got to be about what more can our industry be, how much further can we push, how much more value can we have.”

Widely regarded as the most prestigious industry award in the world, the Titanium Lions were renamed late last year as the Dan Wieden Titanium Lions, honouring the revered Wieden + Kennedy co-founder—who recommended in 2003 that Cannes create a new category for game-changing work showing the way forward for the industry.

Just four pieces of work received the honour this year, including three Titanium Lions (there are no gold, silver or bronze awards in the category).

  • Budweiser and Wieden + Kennedy and Africa Creative DDB, for “Bring Home the Bud”
  • Mastercard and McCann, for “Where to Settle”
  • Corona and Draftline Shanghai and David (Bogota and New York), for Corona Extra Lime.

The Titanium Grand Prix was given to Accenture Song’s The Monkeys and the government of Tuvalu for “The First Digital Nation,” an effort to earn international status as a digital-only nation state when the actual country of Tuvalu is being submerged by rising seas resulting from climate change.

“This is not a technology idea or a storytelling idea, this is an idea about changing perception and setting precedents,” said Droga. By maintaining nation status while the physical country is underwater and its people scattered around the world, Tuvalu’s citizens will retain certain rights and status on the world stage. “So as I said, it’s not a tech idea—it’s a problem solving idea,” said Droga.

Problem-solving was a core feature for each of the four Titaniums. “They’re more than just ideas or executions,” said Droga. “They’re actually solving problems—commercial problems, physical problems, government problems. They’re not just an idea that’s going to be disposable. And that’s how we are valued by our clients.”

Throughout the Festival, there was a lot of talk about technology and AI and how they will change the industry. Droga said he’s excited about the future, and the potential for creative agencies to use those tools to solve new problems for their clients.

“I don’t want our clients thinking, Well, [agencies] are going to be replaced by technology,” he said. “When the shit hits the fan or they need something sold, who are going to call? You’re going to call your agency. You’re not going to call ChatGPT.”

More than marketers or advertisers, the industry has to evolve and adapt and more completely embrace its role as problem solvers, he added.

“We need technology to enhance our imagination and our ambition and our audacity. And I love seeing our work thinking ‘Is that advertising? Is that marketing now? No, it’s just useful. We’re useful. And it makes me proud to stay in the industry, it makes me proud to be here. Because whatever happens we’re ready to show up.”

David Brown