Telus, The&Partnership and ENT win Canada’s lone Entertainment Lion

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“No More,” a song developed for Telus by The & Partnership and Ent! Marketing, was the sole Canadian winner in the three different Entertainment Lions competitions announced Tuesday, capturing a Bronze in the Entertainment Lions for Music.

“No More,” a message song calling for an end to cyber-bullying, was sung by Vancouver hip hop artist SonReal in support of Telus’ “#EndBullying” campaign. “Music is a universal language, and we believe that it has the power to drown out negativity online and rally Canadians behind #EndBullying,” said Jill Schnarr, Telus’s vice-president, corporate citizenship and communications, when the song was released last November.

According to Festival organizers, the Entertainment Lions celebrate “world-class creativity that goes beyond branded communications to impact culture.” They are an evolution of what was once classified as Branded Content.

They are also unambiguously about celebrating the ability of creativity to affect change, as opposed to simply building brands, or selling products and services—although creativity of that type has grown in stature at a time when brands are increasingly willing to take a stand on important issues.

That has been a recurring theme during the first two days of press conferences with the jury presidents, but it dominated the session with the Entertainment Lions jury presidents on Tuesday morning.

Entertainment Lions for Music

The Music Lions saw two Grand Prix awarded, one to Childish Gambino and Doomsday Entertainment for “This is America,” and the other to AKQA Sao Paolo for Baco Exu Do Blue’s “Bluesman.”

Both winners deal with important social and political issues head-on. Such overt tackling of important issues in creative and “arty” ways is exactly what music can do said London based music consultant and jury president Paulette Long.

Many of the winners on the list are about “people and about people’s voice,” she said, dealing with issues like gun violence, gender equality, online bullying and helping people with disabilities. The jury felt it had a responsibility to recognize work for just that reason.

“It is for us to do this, it is for us to make a change,” said Long. “It is about us to use these tools that we have to say something, to say something good for all, and to make a difference.”

The Grand Prix winners in the Entertainment Lions and Entertainment Lions for Sport, on the other hand, were both by big global brands with powerful messages about doing good and affecting real change in the world.

Entertainment Lions

The Entertainment Lion Grand Prix went to Johnson & Johnson for “5B,” a film about a the nurses who set up the first AIDS ward at San Francisco General Hospital in the early days of the AIDS crisis.

“We need more stories like this in the world right now, stories of compassion, stories of care, stories of human connection,” said Scott Donaton, global chief creative and content officer for Digitas.

“And [it’s] coming from a brand that is dedicated to care and to making peoples lives better…that has for decades celebrated nurses not just as doctors’ assistants, but as front line health care professionals.

“It is a brave idea, beautifully told, and brilliantly executed,” he added. “And a story that would have been lost and wouldn’t have been told without the bravery and commitment of the brand and the people who made this.”

Entertainment Lions for Sport

Nike’s “Dream Crazy” won the Grand Prix in Entertainment for Sport, already its second Grand Prix of the Festival after winning the Outdoor Grand Prix on Monday. The ground-breaking and news-making campaign starring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is almost certain to emerge as one of the week’s biggest winners, with multiple Lions in other categories a near certainty.

But the Entertainment Lions for Sport jury president Steve Stoute, chief executive officer of Translation, might also have shared one of the best articulations about why “Dream Crazy” deserves to be awarded in Cannes.

“What we really applauded was not only that Nike was bold to tell the story, but the use of Colin Kaepernick…was what made it special,” he said. “That Nike had taken a risk itself in suing Colin Kaepernick, sticking with Colin Kaepernick, and the same craziness they were asking of us, was the same craziness… they were applying to themselves.

“We felt that this is the benchmark of the risk that we want creatives to take going forward… and think about the world they are going to make. In our industry a lot of people do things not to get fired, and we want people to do things and take that risk, and put it on the line because with that great risk comes great rewards.”


David Brown