The Message from Cannes Lions 2019, brought to you by…
The Brand Experience & Activation Lions (formerly Promo & Activation) has long been one of the most heavily entered competitions in Cannes. This year saw 2,532 submissions, second only to Film, meaning the competition for a trophy is fierce.
While there were no official Canadian winners Thursday, both Momentum Toronto and McCann Toronto will get Bronze Lions for their respective work on “Just Do It HQ at the Church” for Nike and “Second Chances” for Donate Life California.
Speaking about themes emerging from the winning work, jury president Jaime Mandelbaum, chief creative officer VLMY&R Europe, said brands have been talking about things like inclusion and gender equity for some time, but that is no longer enough.
“We need to see brands—and we saw a bunch of brands—taking action and really being part of the solution and not just talking about it,” he said. “That is the cost of entry for brands… they need to be doing, not just talking.”
The Grand Prix went to Microsoft and McCann New York for “Changing the Game,” an adaptive video game controller for gamers with disabilities and limited mobility.
Video games let people do incredible things and anyone should be able to play them, said Mandelbaum, “yet these kids were playing and found yet another limitation in a completely new reality. They had yet another limitation.
“Brands are the sum of the parts of the experience that they create and provide to people. And I think this project not only transforms the relationship that these people have with the brand, it has a disproportionate impact on people’s lives in terms of generating things like confidence.”
One of the key trends in ecommerce, is the “atomization of retail,” said Creative eCommerce jury president Daniel Bonner, global chief creative officer, Wunderman. People don’t just buy from stores or online anymore. “They can effectively buy from anywhere. We had work where people were able to buy from live TV, they were able to buy from graffiti on walls across the city. Buy from posters, buy from their friends…The most creative examples of e-commerce are doing this a lot, so you can effectively buy anything and it doesn’t have to be in a store or on a shelf.”
The Grand Prix actually didn’t fit with that trend, he said. The top award in Creative E-commerce went to “Do Black, The Carbon Limit Credit Card” for Doconomy by RBK Communication, Stockholm.
The credit card tracks how much Co2 emissions are caused by each purchase, and imposes a spending limit based not on money, but how much Co2 the user’s consumption has caused. It is a pilot program, but it has launched and the cards are going out soon, said Bonner.
“It was well researched, it is a beautiful, simple idea [and] the execution was stunning,” he said. “Not one other entry looked like this or felt like this. Nor was an idea anywhere near this.”
The Creative Effectiveness Lions were created in 2011 to recognize Lions winning work that also has a proven and measurable impact on the client business. So the jury isn’t judging pure creativity, since every entry has to have already won a Lion, said jury president John Seifert, Ogilvy’s worldwide chief executive.
The task for the jury is to find the linkages between creativity and market impact. “So it’s a little bit of a Sherlock Holmes test,” he said. Echoing common themes shared by most judges at Cannes, Seifert said that “purpose and point of view are by now table stakes.” The jury was looking for work that created a deep connection between a brand and its audience in authentic and real ways.
“We live in an era of great fragmentation, [so] ideas that break though fragmentation and build true engagement between brand and audiences are the holy grail,” he said.
The Grand Prix went to French supermarket chain Carrefour and the agency Marcel, Paris for “Black Supermarket,” a campaign to allow farmers to grow more and different kinds of seeds that were prohibited by law.
There is “awesome” work across the winners’ list, he said. “This case, this piece of work… the creative effectiveness and the impact this created was just, dare I say, a no-brainer Grand Prix.”