Blocks film

Cannes Lions 2014 round-up: fashion and beauty winners


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.

Blocks Startups

Recommended listening: Refashion podcast


A new fashion and tech podcast has launched that’s worth checking out. Refashion kickstarted in April 2014 and has already featured interviews with the likes of Will Young, director of Zappos Labs; Melissa Coker of womenswear brand Wren; and Daniela Cecilia, founder of visual search app ASAP54.

Created for fashion entrepreneurs and business owners, the podcast aims to “highlight the hottest fashion tech startups and seek business advice from founders and fashion executives”, says its own founder Cristina Quitania.

Part of her mission, she says, is to help tighten the learning curve. “By bringing together the most influential players from each community each week, the Refashion Podcast has one goal in mind: to support innovation, creativity and growth – growth that both propels the fashion industry and ourselves. I stand for collaboration and a continuous curiosity to learn, and believe that these two things will build a transformed fashion community.”

Young talks about customer service for instance, while Coker focuses on how the brand achieved such viral video success with its recent First Kiss campaign.

A recent episode sees Andy Goodman, managing director at service design agency Fjord, discussing smart materials, nano technology and synthetic biology. From wearables to embeddables, this is a fantastic exploration of where science is leading us in the future, and what really we can expect to see.

There are also sessions with companies including, Everpurse, Mallzee and more. And I’m on there in my role as senior editor at WGSN, talking about what’s happening in social media trends for the fashion world, as well as how brands are balancing the role of technology from a gimmick versus truly ROI perspective.

Check it out via iTunesStitcher Radio and

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Burberry, Wren, Uniqlo and Marc Jacobs among digital winners at inaugural Clio Image Awards


Sarah Jessica Parker might have taken home an honorary title for her creative work at the first ever Clio Image Awards this evening, but it was a night for digital campaigns from across the fashion and beauty industries to be recognised otherwise.

Grand prizes in categories including mobile, experiential, out of home and video each went to initiatives that could be deemed digital in some way or another, nicely nodding to the integrated efforts being seen in the market of late.

Burberry unsurprisingly won the prestige title in digital/mobile for its Burberry Kisses campaign with Google last summer, while Uniqlo took the mass award in the same category for its Uniqlo Storms Pinterest initiative. That latter one achieved a massive 55 million impressions in five days with a media spend of $0.

Meanwhile, the Marc Jacobs Daisy Tweetshop, which saw fans able to use social currency to win big prizes during New York Fashion Week, was the winner in the engagement and experiential division. (There’s a great campaign wrap video on this hosted on the Clio website well worth the watch).

Even the out of home award in the mass category, which went to Gap for its Holiday 2013 campaign called Make Love, saw a digital component this year. The ads were straightforward portrayals of different types of love; depicting diversity and focusing on a message of acceptance throughout. It was the retailer’s reaction to racist graffiti being drawn on one of the ads starring Indian Sikh-American actor and fashion designer Waris Ahluwahlia in a New York subway station however that truly hit the headlines – Gap not only made the effort to find out where said image was actually located, but made that same shot its Twitter background picture. The Clio Image Awards referred to this as a “rare moment where a campaign truly comes to life”.

Film meanwhile, was a particularly easy one, with the grand prize going to Wren for its uber viral First Kiss campaign. This three-and-a-half-minute video documenting 20 strangers making-out for the first time only launched in early March 2014, but has swiftly become the most-viewed fashion film of all-time with a huge 81 million views.

There were also honours for the likes of T by Alexander Wang’s guerrilla marketing move with its free-for-all sample sale, Diesel’s Reboot campaign, the Inside Chanel video series, and more. Further awards went to Inez & Vinoodh for their achievements in fashion photography, as well as in additional categories such as store design, packaging, partnerships and print ads.

Image via WWD

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Digital snippets: Oculus, Luxottica, Wren, Asos, Nike, Birchbox, Tom Ford, Kenzo

The big tech story this week has of course been about Facebook’s purchase of virtual reality headset company Oculus VR. But there were lots of others to know about too. Read on for an edit…


  • Google deal with Luxottica will bring Glass to Ray-Ban, Oakley [WSJ]
  • How Wren made a viral video of strangers kissing and increased sales by nearly 14,000% [Business Insider]
  • Asos and Nike celebrate 27 years of Air Max with first Google+ shoppable hangout [Marketing Magazine]
  • Birchbox, seller of beauty products, steps out from web to open New York store [NY Times]
  • Tom Ford joins the world of e-commerce with sexy new web store [Fashionista]
  • Kenzo’s virtual aquarium highlights the danger of overfishing [PSFK]
  • Chanel releases new Coco Mademoiselle Keira Knightley ad – She’s Not There [The Inspiration Room]
  • Lancôme ramping up digital initiatives [WWD]
  • How Yoox became the Amazon of the fashion world [Telegraph]
  • Why in-store tracking might not be as bad as it sounds [CNNMoney]
  • The Shazam of fashion is here, introducing ‘ASAP54? [Styleite]
  • Silicon Valley never talks about the real reason you don’t own a smart watch or ‘wearable tech’ [Business Insider]


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Digital snippets: Wren, Gucci, John Lewis, Lord & Taylor, Kenneth Cole, Sephora

A bit of a catch-up post today in light of several weeks of travel… here then all the latest stories to know about surrounding fashion and tech from the past fortnight or so:


  • “First Kiss” film (as above) goes viral with 63 million views – is ad for clothing label Wren [NY Times]
  • Gucci launches own Spotify music hub to promote short film ‘The Fringe’ [The Drum]
  • John Lewis looks to digital innovation as next big thing in retail with ‘JLab incubator’ [The Guardian]
  • Lord & Taylor now accepting bitcoin [CNBC]
  • Kenneth Cole challenges consumers to do good deeds and prove it via Google Glass [Creativity]
  • Sephora launches ‘Beauty Board’ social shopping platform [USA Today]
  • Bergdorf Goodman makes Instagram shots shoppable at SXSW with 52Grams [5th/58th]
  • Dolce & Gabbana crafts love story around perfume to appeal to consumer emotion [Luxury Daily
  • adidas launches gaming platform powered by social media starring Lionel Messi [Marketing Magazine]
  • Can Instagram save ageing teen retailer Aeropostale? [CNBC]
  • Which big brands are courting the maker movement, and why – from Levi’s to Home Depot  [AdWeek]
  • How beacon technology could change the way we shop [Fashionista]
  • On Instagram, a bazaar where you least expect it [Bits blog]
  • What Google’s wearable tech platform could mean for the fashion industry [Fashionista]
  • Smartphone payment system to be unveiled in UK [FT]
  • Alibaba ramping up efforts to sell US brands in China [WSJ]
  • What does WeChat’s new e-credit card mean for luxury? [JingDaily]
  • Op-Ed | Are camera phones killing fashion? [BoF]