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Cannes Lions: Make a statement. Start a movement.

The International Festival of Creativity is a hub of inspiration and innovation and, Cannes Lions are arguably the most sought after awards our industry has to offer. Now the dust has settled two weeks on from the event, I take a look at the some of the stand-out entries from Cannes Lions 2016.

Creative Effectiveness

Picking up the Grand Prix in the Creative Effectiveness category was ADAM&EVEDDB’s Christmas ad for John Lewis. Personally, I’m tired of the annual effete Christmas campaigns that fill our feeds each year but whatever my feelings toward #MontyThePenguin, I can’t argue with the 6.9 million views the ad generated in its first 24 hours.

‘Raising Eyebrows and Subscriptions’ is a great example of dynamic and reactive advertising that achieved a Gold for Creative Effectiveness. Proximity London’s campaign for The Economist used the magazine’s own data to identify a new audience and find out where to place stories that would resonate with segmented groups of potential readers.


To encourage young people to visit Tate Britain and introduce the gallery’s vast collection to a new audience, Grey London decided to strip famed artworks right back to their beginnings and tell the stories behind the paintings. The campaign employed stark copy which captivated viewers, providing historical context and insight into the artist’s personal situation. ‘500 Years of Stories’ was awarded Gold in the Design category.

Sydney Opera House asked Interbrand Australia to provide them with a fresh identity that would unite the varied events and activities that take place at the performing arts centre. The design solution; ‘Shifting Perspectives’ (which was awarded Gold) depicts the iconic sail roof silhouette in an elegant yet contemporary graphic style and is brought to life with seamless animated transitions.


When I think of ‘Direct’ as a form of communication, I immediately assume ‘Direct Mail’ because that’s what so many of my creative briefs have involved in recent months. But really the essence of direct communication is the act of one person talking to another, which is why I love this campaign from INGO for the Swedish Tourist Board Association. ‘The Swedish Number’ celebrates 250 years of free speech by opening a dialogue between participating individuals and encouraging conversation the old-fashioned way before email and instant messenger became the norm.

‘Manboobs’ by David for breast cancer charity MACMA (which achieved Gold in the Direct category) is a fantastic example of how creatives can use rules and restrictions to their advantage.

Film Craft

Picking up the Grand Prix in the Film Craft category was DROGA5’s Michael Phelps featurette for Under Armour. The short paints a fiery picture of Phelps’ rigorous training routine and gradually builds to the closing frame which states: “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light”. The progressive image that is revealed is brilliantly executed to make us feel Phelps’ passion but also the pressure he is put under in order to reap the rewards of his hard work and determination.


This campaign for Netflix series House of Cards by BBH New York (which was awarded the Grand Prix in the Integrated category) is a great example of how creatives are able to cut-through the noise and hijack the spotlight.

Outdoor retailer REI decided to close their doors on Black Friday to which, Venables Bell & Partners suggested promoting an integrated campaign that encouraged would-be shoppers to spend their time outdoors with their loved ones instead. The campaign, which received Gold, took an unexpected turn when over 100 retailers followed suit and closed their doors on this key date in the retail calendar. #OptOutside gained 2.7 billion PR impressions within 24 hours and encouraged hundreds of parks across the US to open their gates for free. By defying convention and making a statement about the chaos Black Friday causes, REI have shown retailers and consumers alike that there are far more wholesome ways we could be spending our precious time.


Achieving Silver for Outdoor is Volvo Mexico’s ‘Pedestrian Airbag’ campaign by Grey Mexico. The large format ads clearly highlight the Volvo V40’s unique safety feature with frank, hard-hitting imagery.

Print & Publishing

One campaign that resonated with me due to recent terrorist events across Europe, plus the UK’s fear mongering Brexit crusade is VML Cape Town’s ‘I Am Muslim’ for People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP). The core idea behind the print ads is clear and simple; boldly executed to make a statement and start a wider conversation. The campaign was awarded Gold in the Print & Publishing category.

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