The biggest winner of the week at the 61st annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (the ad industry’s version of the Oscars if you will), was arguably a fashion brand. Or a department store in fact. British retailer Harvey Nichols walked away with four of the grand prix awards, including in the integrated, film, press and the promo & activation categories, as well as gold Lions in direct and outdoor, another two in promo & activation again, and a silver and bronze in design.
Sorry I Spent it on Myself, as the campaign was called, was a push for Christmas 2013 that saw shoppers encouraged to buy expensive presents for themselves in place of for their loved ones. It was anchored by a gift collection comprised of a range of “ultra-low net worth” items, or tongue-in-cheek stocking-fillers as alternatives for those who have self-indulged. Think sink plugs, paperclips, even a bag of gravel. All very neatly packaged up of course.
Created by agency adam&eveDDB, it was launched with a print campaign as well as an amusing commercial online, in-store and in cinemas, which documents the reactions from those receiving the budget line of gifts.
Prasoon Joshi, jury president of the titanium and integrated categories referred to the initiative as “unapologetic, very confident, funny and charming – everything our profession is all about”. According to Harvey Nichols, 26,000 of the budget products sold out within three days, and overall the campaign helped the retailer have one of its best Christmas periods to date.
Here’s a highlight of some of the other big winners under the heading of fashion and beauty:
G-Star Raw: The grand prix in the first ever product design category at Cannes Lions went to G-Star for its Raw for the Oceans collection. This is a line made out of ocean plastics in partnership with Bionic Yarn and co-designed by Pharrell Williams. Initiatives that inspire change in the world, whether focused on the environment on gender equality, on protecting children and more, are unsurprisingly a regular feature on the winner lists at the festival, but it was impressive to see this travel over to product as well.
Wren: It was no surprise to see this LA-based clothing brand walk away with a prize for its First Kiss campaign. Shot by Tatia Pilieva, this three-and-a-half-minute spot documents 20 strangers making-out for the first time. It’s one of the major viral success stories of 2014 so far, garnering a huge 85 million views since launch, and reportedly increasing traffic to the Wren website by 14,000%, and upping sales in the online store by over 13,600% compared to the week before it launched. It also won a bronze in film craft.
adidas: A series of awards went to the D Rose Jump Store from adidas, including golds in design and outdoor and silver in PR and in branded content & entertainment. Created by TBWA London, this was a physical space designed to engage kids who have grown up on council estates in Hackney, rightly cynical, and often hostile, towards brands. It did so with NBA all-star and adidas athlete Derrick Rose – a relatively unknown name in the UK – placing him front and centre of a pop-up shop converted from a rundown community centre, where all the shoes were free. The challenge was to jump to reach them on the 10ft high shelves placed around the room. Rose is someone who has risen out of one of the most violent neighbourhoods in the US, therefore coming from a background that mirrored the kids being targeted. Over 2,500 of them turned up to watch the action, and the resulting film reached 370,000 in just five days.
Levi’s: As part of its Station to Station project for autumn/winter 2013/14, which saw a vintage train repurposed into a moving art studio travelling across the US, Levi’s decided to likewise reinvent a series of timeless tools. “Iconic instruments of the past, [were] deconstructed and repurposed into 21st century social devices,” reads the write-up from agency AKQA. They included a 1901 Underwood typewriter tailor-made for Twitter, a 1956 Gibson guitar for Soundcloud, a 1932 Graflex camera for Instagram and more. The initiative won both silver and bronze Lions in the cyber category.
Apotek Hjärtat: This Swedish pharmacy launched a new line of hair products under the name of Apolosophy in early 2014. It wanted to raise awareness and to encourage people to trial, so did so by demonstrating how it can bring your hair to life, by literally bringing an advertisement to life. ‘Blowing in the Wind’, as the campaign was called, saw sensors placed on digital screens in Stockholm subway station platforms. Every time a train arrived, the model’s hair would blow across her face. It won silver Lions in cyber and design, and a bronze in media.
John Lewis: Another Christmas 2013 department store winner from adam&eveDDB, was the Bear & Hare campaign for John Lewis. This won silver awards in film and film craft for its hand-animated spot featuring Lily Allen covering Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know, and a bronze in the titanium and integrated category. Check out all the details of the campaign in this earlier post.
Lacoste: Another silver film Lion was awarded to The Big leap, an arresting 60-second film depicting “a man about to risk it all to win the game of his life”. That leap is in the game of love, as demonstrated by actor Paul Hamy building up the courage to go in for a kiss with model Anna Brewster in one scene, while another (the metaphor) sees him leaping off the side of a building and falling towards the ground until their lips lock. The film was created by BETC and directed by Seb Edwards.
Other silver and bronze awards went to:
Nike Cricket for its Make Every Yard Count campaign in India
The Boobs campaign from Pacific Brands Underwear Group in Australia
Two films in the Made from Cool campaign by Jack & Jones in Denmark
And further bronzes to the likes of: Rip Curl, Uniqlo, Foot Locker, Rolex, Ray-Ban, Havaianas. Check out last year’s winners, here.