Cannes Lion Names its Grand Prix Winners

Written by Tim Edmundson

This past week saw the best and brightest of the advertising world visit Cannes for the annual Cannes Lion Festival of Creativity. At stake were the most prestigious awards in the ad world — the Cannes Lion Grand Prix. Reserved for only the most innovative, effective, and inspiring advertising the world has to offer, the Cannes Lions is the crown jewel every brand and agency aspires to make their own.

SteelHouse is no stranger to Cannes, and we eagerly awaited this year’s crop of winners to be announced this past weekend. We were not left disappointed. Each campaign brought something different to the table, but all had one thing in common — they were amazing. Here’s a look at some of our favorite winners from this year’s festival, and for a complete list, check out Adweek’s rundown here.

Media Grand Prix Winner – Innovating Saving –

With their focus on smart and innovative ways of saving money, ate their own dogfood and created a campaign that was hugely successful while not breaking the bank. They created an ad about super bowls (think bowls for eating cereal, not football) and ran it online-only during the Super Bowl. Because their keywords and tagging were “super,” “bowl,” and “commercial,” they were more relevant to the search term “Super Bowl” than any other actual Super Bowl commercial. This made them one of the most watched commercials that weekend, without having to spend millions of dollars. It didn’t end there — they also ran radio ads on the cheap by using the Google translator voice instead of a voice actor, a commercial series featuring a shrink-ray to help reduce prices, and built the Careculator app, which calculated how many likes, shares, and comments your friends gave you on social to determine how much you should spend on them for the holidays. That’s pretty damn clever.

Glass Grand Prix Winner – Fearless Girl – State Street

This statue made waves earlier in the year when it first appeared on Wall Street, staring down the iconic Charging Bull. Placed by asset management company State Street Global Advisors to celebrate International Women’s Day, the Fearless Girl grabbed headlines and inspired people around the world. And not only did it send a strong message, considering the fact people outside of finance now know the name State Street Global Advisors, it can definitely be considered a smashing success when it comes to raising brand awareness.

Direct Grand Prix Winner – Connected Whopper – Burger King

Burger King’s recent campaign, which was designed to have Google Home devices read from the Burger King wikipedia page took home the trophy for the Direct Grand Prix. Created to annoy its way into the hearts and minds of the public, the campaign picked up points for a creative approach to marrying advertising and tech — enough points, in fact, to win a Grand Prix.

Design Grand Prix Winner – The Unusual Football Field – AP Thai

Property developer AP Thai created the Unusual Football Field project, an inspiring piece that showed the value of what would normally be considered “useless” space. By creating football fields in unexpected spaces (between buildings, around corners, etc.) throughout urban communities, they aimed to provide an outlet for local teenagers to express their creativity through sport. And not only did they achieve that goal, they also ended up with an amazing ad.

Cyber Grand Prix Winner – Do You Mean Mailchimp – Mailchimp

Mailchimp struck gold with their Do You Mean Mailchimp — a collection of campaigns spread across several mediums, from snail-based beauty to crushed potato chips (yes, really). By creating nine unique experiences that sounded similar to Mailchimp — Jailblimp, Snailprimp, Failchip, to name a few —  and a paid search campaign that would link them back to Mailchimp when googled, they created interesting and engaging experiences that raised brand awareness when people inevitably stumbled across them. Taking advantage of what the internet does best, create buzz, Mailchimp produced an ad that created the conditions to go viral, and actually succeeded.

Cyber Grand Prix Winner – Meet Graham – TAC Victoria

Australia’s Transport Accident Commision (TAC) Victoria introduced us to Graham, a representation of what a human would need to look like to survive the car accidents that happen every day on our roads and highways. Based on crash and scientific data, Graham’s beefy and nightmare-inducing appearance went a long way in showing how vulnerable our actual bodies are in the event of an accident. And it makes for an effective piece of advertising — we’ll be driving a lot safer on the way home tonight.

Take Cannes’ Lead and Go Beyond What’s Expected

The Cannes Lion Grand Prix winners reaffirm that if you want your creative to stand out, you need to rise above the herd and do something innovative. You can apply this to your own campaigns across display and social — by marrying technology with creativity and utilizing strong imagery with elements like countdown timers and product carousels, you can create ads that get noticed and inspire people to click. Look for opportunities to include video in every ad you can — video’s engagement rate is through the roof. And while you won’t be building L-shaped soccer fields, price-shrinking ray guns, or creepy crash-resistant humans, your digital advertising can elevate itself above the competition by making use of the tools at your disposal.

If you’re interested in elevating your creative, check out what we have to say about breaking the cycle of boring ads, building better ads, and shooting great product photos. With beautiful creative leading the way, you’ll set your campaigns up for strong performance.