BBDO and Rethink bringing two Entertainment Lions back to Canada

After first introducing the Entertainment Lions in 2012, Cannes expanded the category to include Music in 2016, and Sport in 2019, before adding Gaming in this year’s competition.

The four different competitions remain relatively lightly entered for Canada, with 58 entries in total: 23 in the Entertainment Lions, 13 in the new Entertainment Lions for Gaming, seven in Entertainment Lions for Music, and 15 in Entertainment Lions for Sport.

It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that Canada didn’t win a lot of Entertainment Lions, with BBDO and Muskrat Magazine adding a Silver to their growing tally for “Missing Matoaka,” and Rethink and Penguin Books Random House winning Bronze for “The Unburnable Book.”

The Entertainment Track also delivered the Festival’s first multi-Grand Prix winner. That honour went to Wieden + Kennedy and the mobile game Clash of Clans for “Clash from the Past.” It won the top prize in both the Entertainment Lions and Entertainment Lions for Gaming.

Speaking about the kind of work that won, Entertainment Lions jury president Brent Anderson, global chief creative officer, TBWA\Media Arts Lab, shared some advice echoing a general theme emerging across the Festival.

“Risk is important,” he said. A really really great idea should “make your knees knock a little bit,” he said. “In the ideation stage, or when you’re looking to buy an idea, and certainly when you’re going to execute it, if it doesn’t bring that level of trepidation, pause, maybe a little bit of nervousness, I think maybe going more ambitious, and going bigger and taking some risks will get you there.”

The double Grand Prix winner was based on the idea that gamers love games with some history behind them, but Clash of Clans is only 10 years old. So, Wieden + Kennedy made up an additional 30 years of history, complete with decade-appropriate versions of the game.

“It was a really big and ambitious swing,” said Anderson.“It is just a masterclass in community building, in community feeding, in understanding and giving your audience exactly what it wants.”

In Music, the jury chose two Grand Prix, including one for Apple’s stirring and uplifting “The Greatest.”

“It was just an embodied empowerment and it’s celebrating diversity inclusion, but not in a way that like felt exploitative, which I feel like a lot of pieces can do,” said jury president Danielle Hinde, owner / executive producer, Doomsday Entertainment.

The other was awarded to an equally stirring, but also somewhat disturbing music video for Michael Kiwanuka’s song “Beautiful Life.”

“Do you all have chills right now,” asked Hinde after screening the video. “You felt that right?” She called the execution “flawless,” adding that the jury chose it in part for “making an important statement about social media and just how we’ve all become so desensitized to horrible imagery.”

Finally, in Entertainment Lions for Sport, the Grand Prix was given to “Dreamcaster” by FCB for Michelob Ultra. Based on the brand principle of bringing joy to everyone, FCB and Michelob showed how they could make basketball more accessible to people who love the game, but can’t actually see it. More specifically, they helped a basketball lover call a game through a series of technological innovations.

“Dreamcaster” demonstrated a step forward in the industry trend toward inclusivity in the past couple of years, said jury president Rob Doubal, co-president of McCann London and joint chief creative officer of McCann UK.

“I think for the last few years generally, inclusivity has been the ambition of the work, which is very important. But in a way [for] this piece of work, inclusivity was the method and it actually resulted in a far superior product.”

Speaking with The Message after the press conference, Doubal explained why the feel-good campaign to help someone in the blind community was good for the business overall. “Ultimately the aim was to bring joy to fans, whether they’re in the blind community or not,” he said. “And very importantly for me—and this was what we discussed—was ultimately the product for everyone and the total fan base was amazing.

“Inclusion was a result, but it was also the method which made it a better result for all fans.”

Kruger Canada CMO Susan Irving was on the Sport Lions jury, and said there was little discussion about “Dreamcaster” for Grand Prix, because there was so much support for it. “It had incredible results,” she said via email, noting that within days of going live, organic search volume for Michelob Ultra jumped 55% and social conversation about Michelob Ultra increased by 44%.

“Sport is a magical activity,” said Irving. “Whether it is to inspire consumers to get active, or bring fans together to cheer for a specific sporting event or team, it really does unite us all. Gone are the days of sports marketing being solely about linking your brand as a sponsor to a sports team or league.  The work was very much elevated to purpose and leveraging the power of sport as a platform to make the world a better place through a common passion point.”

David Brown