Tuesday evening’s awards gala in Cannes was all about the Craft and Entertainment Lions, with awards given out in eight different competitions, and Canadians taking home 11 Lions in total (see the Entertainment Lions wrap-up here). Klick Health won the only Canadian Gold of the night, although both BBDO and Rethink added more trophies to the shelf.
Klick’s Gold in the Design Lions was for “The Congregation” for Podher. With the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Klick and Podher imagined creating a new religion that includes reproductive rights as a core tenet, since the first amendment protects religious freedom.
The only other Canadian Design wins on the night were a Silver for Performance Art Toronto (with VectorB McCann, Mexico) and Bimbo, for “The Greatest Guide to Jochos & Burgers,” and a Bronze to Rethink and RGD for the rebranding of the RGD Awards.
The Grand Prix in Design went to McCann New York and Microsoft for “Adlam—An Alphabet to Preserve a Culture.” The Fulani people of West Africa had always been a spoken language, but when forced to adopt the alphabet of colonizers, the language—along with it their traditions—began to vanish. Two brothers created an alphabet for their people, but it did not exist in digital form until Microsoft encoded the alphabet.
Canada’s Design Lions total: 3 (1G, 1S, 1B)
When it was time to choose a Grand Prix, an essential question for the jury was how they could promote innovation without abandoning the fundamentals of craft, said jury president Quinnton Harris, co-founder and CEO of Retrospect USA. “And this piece, the craft is just undeniable,” he said.
If culture exists and grows through shared language, Microsoft and McCann enabled that by helping the Fulani people share their language through digital media, thereby preserving it for future generations.
“But when we thought about its impact, [they’re] not just preserving a culture, [they’re] enabling through design and innovation, an entire culture to create from their point of view,” said Harris.
“Inclusivity is more than what you look like, more than how you think. It’s really making space to be, and to have a human experience that you may have not had before.”
Klick also won a Silver in the Digital Craft Lions for its rich animated short for Paws NY, “The Bridge.” The film also performed well at the recent One Show, and also won a Bronze Lion in the Health & Wellness Lions on Monday.
Joining Klick as a Silver winner was BBDO’s “Missing Matoaka” for Muskrat Magazine, which already won a Gold in the Radio & Audio Lions on Monday.
Canada’s Digital Craft Lions total: 2 (2S)
Speaking to journalists about the winners Tuesday morning, jury president Resh Sidhu, global director of Arcadia Creative Studio, Snap Inc., said there was a lot of work submitted that used AI and machine learning. “It has arrived without a doubt, but a word of warning,” she said. “It has to be technology with purpose. Good technology alone is not enough. And that’s what we saw in the work that….
That included the Grand Prix winner from AKQA (Portland and Sao Paulo) for Nike. “Never Done Evolving: Featuring Serena Williams,” analyzed data from across Serena Williams’ playing career to improve training for other tennis players, but also to create a live virtual match between 17-year-old Serena and 35-year-old Serena.
“Great digital craft for us is not just about mastering technology and the tools. It’s really about using those tools to resonate with people on a real human level,” said Sidhu. And while there was a lot of debate about the Grand Prix (with “Transparency Card” by AKQA Sao Paolo for Congresso Em Foco a strong contender), the jury eventually settled on “Never Done Evolving” because “it is the epitome of what digital art is,” she said.
After winning a Gold in Health and Wellness on Monday night, Ogilvy Toronto (with Ogilvy London) added a Film Craft Silver and a Bronze Lion on Tuesday for Dove’s “The Cost of Beauty.” Also winning Silver was Broken Heart Love Affair’s “Immortal”, for the Royal Ontario Museum.
“When we were first getting into our Bronzes, we were talking about faultless work,” said jury president Kim Gehrig. “When we moved into the Silver, we talked about inspired work. When we moved to Gold, the word trailblazing was our north star. And then when we got to Grand Prix, the word transcendent was what we used,” she said.
Canada’s Film Craft Lions total: 3 (2S,1B)
The work the jury deemed most transcendent was the short film / music video “We Cry Together” for Kendrick Lamar.
The film was exceptional in all aspects of craft, from direction, and the performances, and art direction, to the camera choreography and lighting, said Gehrig.
“All these crafts came together to make something that is brave and is shocking,” she said. “One of our other criteria was, I kept saying it’s 2023 and I wanted this Grand Prix winner to be in 2023, to feel 2023, to make us think, to make us feel, to challenge us. And this director has used the craft of direction, and I feel very blown away and inspired by this piece of work.”
Another winner from Monday, Rethink’s “Ketchup Fraud” for Heinz Ketchup, also won a Bronze on Tuesday for the campaign, which included three executions: “Kitchen,” “QSR” and “Diner.”
The judges noticed a theme of brightening mood coming out of the pandemic, said Yoshihiro Yagi, executive creative director, Dentsu Inc. “We saw a lot of work that’s light-hearted. We saw a lot of humour, a lot of wit, and a lot of fun campaigns,” he said.
Canada’s Industry Craft Lions total: 1 (1B)
The Grand Prix went to “My Japan Railway,” an analogue-meets-digital campaign created by Dentsu to celebrate Japan Railway’s 150th anniversary.
With the winning work coming from Yagi’s agency, he asked one of his judges to comment on “My Japan Railway.” “It was quite an easy choice,” said Natasha Romariz Maasri, executive creative director at Leo Burnett MEA. “There was not a lot of debate.”