Given the way the world has changed over the past 12 months, it’s no surprise to see pieces of work that have something truly meaningful behind them walking away with the big prizes at this year’s Cannes Lions.
Where in 2016, we were all about new technologies and looking to the future, for 2017 it’s really been about what makes a statement, moves people, plays on human truths and ultimately initiates some kind of real impact. That’s not entirely new for the creative and advertising industry, of course, but it stood out more than ever against a backdrop of growing consumer uncertainty.
State Street Global Advisors’ Fearless Girl by McCann New York for instance was the big winner of the week. This bronze statue, which stands opposite Wall Street’s Charging Bull, launched on International Women’s Day (the first under President Trump) in a bid to prove that companies with strong female leadership perform better than their male-led counterparts. It won a huge four Grand Prix awards, praised for the fact it was “disruptive, irreverent and broke the mould”.
The Film Grand Prix meanwhile went to Channel 4’s We’re the Superhumans, while other Grand Prix awards touched on the environment, on traffic accidents, on refugees and on equal voting.
The Innovation Grand Prix winner also came under the impact header. Awarded to The Humanium Metal Initiative by Åkestam Holst for IM Swedish Development Partner, it is the world’s first supply chain distributing metal made from destructed illegal firearms. The aim is to promote weapon destruction programmes in affected regions and financial support to victims of armed violence.
The first commercial items from the initiative are due to launch in September this year, and will include all sorts of partnerships with a variety of brands, including those in the fashion industry by turning the metal into jewellery, buttons and more.
Elsewhere, there were other winners in the fashion industry too – albeit more traditional in their campaigns than as purpose driven as this year’s headliners. Notably Kenzo picked up a number of accolades for its My Mutant Brain ad, including two golds, three silvers and four bronzes across the Film, Film Craft, Cyber and Entertainment for Music categories, as well as a Titanium Lion.
Meanwhile, H&M’s Come Together spot by Wes Anderson, featuring Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody on a train on Christmas Day, won two silver and three bronzes. And John Lewis’ Buster the Boxer got three silvers and three bronzes.
Sport of course picked up multiple titles once more. Nike scored a huge 13 Lions just in the Film and Film Craft categories alone, while also winning in Digital Craft, Integrated, Entertainment for Music and Design.
It was its Unlimited Stadium campaign from BBH that picked up the highest number however, winning four golds, five silvers and six bronzes across Design, Cyber, Promo and Activation, Outdoor, Creative Data and Entertainment. Created to launch its Lunar Epic Mid shoe, this was an interactive LED running track set up in the Philippines during the Olympics. It took the data of each runner on each lap, and turned it into a digital avatar they could then run against as they continued.
Head to head came Adidas of course, which picked up a Grand Prix for its Original is Never Finished campaign in the Entertainment for Music category, as well as three further bronzes for the same ad. Other accolades went to its Alexander Wang collaboration launch, its Adidas Odds initiative for the Paralympics and its Adidas Neo Snapchat campaign. Green Light Run, which enabled urban running in Tokyo, picked up four awards, and Breaking the Pattern with Adidas Glitch, which launched a football boot exclusively through a dedicated mobile app, collected five.
The North Face, Converse, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Under Armour also scooped awards, while others went to Amazon for its Tokyo Fashion Week opening, Marks & Spencer for its Mrs Claus film, Diesel for its Make Love Not Walls campaign and to Harvey Nichols and Havaianas for various efforts in print and publishing.
If we count Snap Inc’s Spectacles under the header of “wearables” then they also did a sterling job at the awards this year – picking up three golds across Design and Product Design, and silver and bronzes in Mobile.
And then there’s Ikea, as pictured top. Not a fashion retailer per se, but it took full advantage of a connection with luxury when Balenciaga sent out a blue bag on the runway earlier this year; one that looked distinctly similar to its own plastic carry-all it offers to shoppers.
The brand jumped on the social media conversation that was flowing around it, launching a campaign that helped consumers identify a “real FRAKTA bag”, which instantly went viral. The results saw over 165 million media impressions amounting to over $6m in earned media against zero ad dollars spent. It won a silver in PR and bronze Lions in Direct and Promo and Activation.