Missing Matoaka and Bill it to Bezos earn early recognition in Cannes

Cannes Lions 2023 won’t officially begin for another 10 days, but two Canadian agencies already have reason to high five.

Short lists for three different categories were released Tuesday morning, with Angry Butterfly’s “Bill it to Bezos” for Jane/Finch Community Centre among just 19 entries shortlisted for the Innovation Lions. Launched in 2013, the Innovation Lions are for ground-breaking technology and problem solving, including both standalone technology solutions and creative campaigns that use new technology.

For “Bill it to Bezos,” Angry Butterfly figured out how people could direct their $3.50 Twitch Subscription Credit to the charity instead of to a Twitch streamer as originally intended by Amazon Prime. “Bill it to Bezos” also won two Golds at the One Show in New York last month.

The winners will be announced June 22 in Cannes, but converting the short list to a Lion will be tough—last year the jury only awarded four Innovation Lions, and five the year before that.

Meanwhile, another very big winner from the One Show, BBDO’s “Missing Matoaka,” also made the shortlist for Glass: The Lion for Change, which are awarded for work tackling gender inequality or prejudice. According to the official Cannes Lions description: “Entries will need to demonstrate ideas intended to change the world.”

“Missing Matoaka,” which was developed for the Indigenous arts and culture magazine Muskrat, shares the real story of young girl known as Pocahontas—one of the first missing and murdered Indigenous women—via an audio track that synchs up with a popular big-studio movie. It won nine Gold Pencils and two Best of Discipline honours at the One Show, earning BBDO agency of the year.

Like the Innovation Lions, just making the Glass shortlist is real accomplishment, with only 21 submissions still in contention for a Lion, with the winners announced June 23.

Finally on Tuesday, the shortlist for the prestigious Titanium Lions—now named The Dan Wieden Titanium Lions—was also released. Only 17 submissions made the list, and no work from Canada made it this year.

David Brown