Zulu Alpha Kilo, Rethink, and Bensimon Byrne make strong showing on Cannes’ first shortlists

Monday marks the official start of the International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, and Canada has (had) 842 chances at bringing back a Lion, with the first winners announced Monday evening.

As we reported Friday, there are 25,464 submissions in total this year, down slightly from last year’s Festival—which allowed work that would have been eligible for the cancelled 2020 event—and down 18% from the last pre-pandemic Festival in 2019.

There were 907 Canadian entries a year ago, but again that covered a two-year entry window. In 2019, there were 904 entries from Canada, meaning Canada’s 842 submissions represent a 7.3% drop from the last “normal-times” Cannes Lions.

However, with 12 shortlists released, we also know that some of those Canadian submissions are no longer in contention. We’re also starting to see the first Canadian work—already recognized in earlier global shows—that might be rising to the top in Cannes. And as most senior creatives who’ve judged the Festival will tell you, just making the shortlist is a significant achievement.

Sunday shortlists

On Sunday, the Festival released five shortlists, including both of the competitions in the Health Track Lions: Pharma and Health & Wellness Lions. The other three lists were in the Classic Track: Print & Publishing, Outdoor, and Radio.

The winners from each of those five competitions will be announced Monday evening, and while no Canadian submissions made the Radio or Pharma competitions, the entries below have a chance at a Lion.

Print & Publishing (5 Canadian entries):

  • Cossette and McDonald’s were nominated twice for “Balloons—Grand Openings,” once for “Fries” and once for “Big Mac”;
  • Rethink and Heinz were nominated twice for “Draw Ketchup”; and
  • Rethink Fondation Émergence for “Colours of Pride.”

Outdoor (6 Canadian entries)  

Health & Wellness (10 Canadian entries)

Monday shortlists

Seven more shortlists were published on Monday morning, including all of the Entertainment Track: Entertainment, Entertainment for Sport, and Entertainment for Music. (Cannes describes the Entertainment Lions as “creativity that turns content into culture.”)

And all four competitions in the Craft Track were also released: Digital Craft, Design, Film Craft, and Industry Craft.

Entertainment Lions (1 Canadian entry)

Entertainment Lions for Music (1 Canadian entry)

Entertainment Lions for Sport (1 Canadian entry)

Digital Craft (6 Canadian entries)

  • Jam3 and Adidas were nominated twice for “Adidas Ozworld”
  • Tank Montreal and Razom Emergency Response, for “Feel What We Feel”;
  • FCB Toronto and Canadian Down Syndrome Society, for “The Mindsets Paper”
  • Performance Art Toronto and Black & Abroad were nominated twice for “The Black Elevation Map”

Film Craft (4 Canadian entries)

  • Bensimon Byrne and White Ribbon were nominated three times for “Day After Day”
  • Bensimon Byrne, Narrative, OneMethod and White Ribbon for “White Ribbon Documentary”

Industry Craft (2 Canadian entries)

  • Rethink Toronto and Periods for Periods, for “Periods for Periods”
  • Rethink Toronto and Fondation Émergence, for “Colours of Pride”

Design (11 Canadian entries)

  • Rethink Toronto and National Magazine Awards Foundation for “National Magazine Awards”
  • FCB Canada Toronto and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation were nominated twice for “Dream Drop”
  • Sid Lee Montreal and Ellen MacArthur Foundation were nominated twice for “Circular Design For Fashion”
  • Performance Art Toronto and Black & Abroad for “The Black Elevation Map”
  • Rethink Toronto and Fondation Émergence for “Colours of Pride”
  • Zulu Alpha Kilo and Pfaff Harley-Davidson for “Tough Turban”
  • Rethink Toronto and Purdy’s for “Purdy’s Holiday Braille Box”
  • Zulu Alpha Kilo and Singlecut Beersmiths for “Notes IPA”
  • BBDO Toronto and Canadian Paralympic Committee for “Para Expansion Pack”


David Brown