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At the penultimate awards show of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Lions were handed out in six different categories. Canada emerged with two: one for Cossette and Sick Kids Foundation in Radio & Audio, and another for FCB/Six for “Go Back to Africa” in Mobile.
After winning a Grand Prix for Creative Data Wednesday night, FCB/Six and Black & Abroad won a Bronze Mobile Lion for “Go Back to Africa.”
“We found The spirit of creativity in Mobile this year,” said jury president Ari Weiss, chief creative officer, DDB Worldwide, North America. “From evolutions in social commerce, hacks that changed perspectives for the better, to tweets that ignited a cultural conversation and new experiences that blur the boundaries between digital and physical world. Mobile, for better or worse, is where we live our lives. And it’s our responsibility to make it for the better.”
The Grand Prix was awarded to “Whopper Detour” for Burger King and FCB New York, which also won a Direct Lion Grand Prix earlier in the week. Burger King geo-fenced 14,000 McDonald’s stores and offered anyone nearby with the BK app on their phone a one cent Whopper.
One of the big challenges in QSR is to get consumers to download their app, said Ian Mackenzie, chief creative officer for FCB/Six. When people do download it, they are more likely to buy from the brand and not the competitors, he said. “This is just a great idea, great storytelling, great activation on large scale, it’s got a technology component—the geo-fencing.
“It’s perfectly on brand in terms of Burger King, which is trolling, and it just works so well,” he added. “The scale of the business results are staggering.” The app was downloaded 1.5 million times in nine days and mobile sales doubled.
Addressing the dearth of Canadian Mobile Lions, Mackenzie said he’d like to see more Canadian agencies and brands enter the competition, but said that winning takes real innovation, which is a challenge for many.
“Agencies are under tremendous pressure to get the day-to-day work through and I think that can sometimes come at the expense of innovation,” he said. “A platform like mobile really requires innovation, it requires risk taking. And I’m not sure today in Canada [that] there’s tremendous white space for agencies to pursue that with their client partners. If we can, as collaborators with our client partners, find more white space to really experiment on the frontiers of mobile, I think there’s going to be lots of upside to that.”
Radio & Audio
The lone Canadian Radio & Audio Lion was a Bronze for “Air Time” for Sick Kids Foundation by Cossette.
“Radio and audio is one of those categories that has gone through difficult times,” said jury president Jose Miguel Sokoloff, global president, creative council and chief creative officer U.K., for MullenLowe London.
“Right now you will find that the boundaries of radio and audio are expanding. It’s almost exploding, but still retains the magic of being one of the few categories there are zero barriers, where a person with a pen, paper and idea and audience to change the world.”
The Grand Prix was given to 360i New York and HBO for “WestWorld: The Maze,” an immersive Amazon Alexa voice game that took players inside WestWorld.
“It’s impeccably produced,” said Sokoloff. “Every every piece of sound, if you listen on your headphones, you feel like you’re actually in this world. It’s well written. The craft is incredible. So I think it’s just amazing.”
There was a lot of debate about the Grand Prix, with Skittles and Town Lodge work from South Africa also in contention, said judge Lyranda Martin-Evans, executive creative director and vice-president of DentsuBos Canada.
“Ultimately, with WestWorld, where it really won over our hearts, was the beautiful use of new technology to create a truly audio led brand experience, that’s immersive, that connects with the brand, that builds brand love that allows the fan to interact with the brand.”
Martin-Evans said that Cossette’s Air Time was a “smart way to use your dollars and to get big brands to donate their airtime to give kids air, everyone thought that was really beautiful.”
Budgets remain a challenge and may partly explain the single Canadian Radio & Audio win, said Martin-Evans. “But if we consider craft, and the beauty of craft, the work from South Africa that made it up quite far and was considered for Grand Prix, it’s just beautiful writing. It didn’t cost like an arm and a leg, we could have done that in Canada. As we sometimes look at the sexier mediums, don’t forget about the beauty of the written word.”
One of the strongest indications of how far Cannes Lions has evolved beyond advertising to focus on commercial creativity in all forms, is the Innovation Lions. It’s not that advertising can’t be awarded here, but this is the domain of tools, products and platforms created to solve real problems. Problems like diabetes, which was the purpose of Grey’s “The Puck” (which was shortlisted but failed to make a winners list that had just seven Lions).
The Grand Prix was given to “See Sound,” for Wavio and created by Area 23, which is part of FCB Health in New York. “See Sound” is a “home hearing system” for deaf people. It detects and identifies 75 different sounds in the home and sends a text message to the user. “See Sound’s” underlying innovation was a machine-learning model based on an analysis of more than 2 million YouTube videos.
The Innovation Lions are about technology and creativity and how the impact on people, said jury president Bill Yom, global creative director, Cheil Worldwide, Global. Giving “See Sound” the Grand Prix is a signal to the industry about the power of collaboration to create things that help people.
“To use YouTube with an AI… to help those people get the signal that there is a danger in the house with a product design—beautiful design by the way—in such amazing simple way we said, ‘Okay, this is a Grand Prix.”
Microsoft’s “Changing the Game” adaptive videogame controller for people with physical disabilities was also considered for the Grand Prix, because it too helped people in meaningful ways, but “See Sound” went a step beyond just helping, said Yom. “It’s saving lives.”