Getting the Cannes Lion is the dream of any brand and agency, advertising or communication. Even being shortlisted is considered a major win, not to mention the award itself. Still, the main prize is not a statuette, but the impact that the campaign had on society.
Now, when the next “lions” are chosen in Cannes, we decided to recall the brightest Cannes cases of the last 10 years, which received a prize in their category. And we drew conclusions from them that will help you build strong communications.
Wrangler – We Are Animals – 2009
Denim brand Wrangler has partnered with Paris-based agency Fred & Farid to create an advertising campaign, We are Animals, which portrays people as “children of nature” filmed in a forest at night. The creators of the campaign felt that modern man suffers too much from complex social rules and oppressive technology. According to Wrangler, from time to time you need to listen to yourself, return to instincts and reflash.
Advice. Today we are all a little crushed by digitalization and automation. Too much synthetic and not enough human, emotional. Try to inspire people to find their real “I” and support even in those cases when this “I” does not coincide too much with what it should be.
Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like – 2010
If you ranked the most viral promotions of the last century, Wieden + Kennedy’s Old Spice campaign would definitely be among them. The team mixed humor, picture dynamics, marketing insight (“deodorants for him buys she is») – and the incredible project The Man Your Man Could Smell Like turned out. The campaign rocked the Internet and not only for more than one year and to some extent set a new bar for advertising “viruses”. Now the main video of this promotion already has 56 million views.
Advice. Before Old Spice, no one dared to talk so cockily and at the same time excitingly with a buyer of deodorants – but the brand changed everything. Do not be afraid to do what no one has ever done before. If you’ve done your research and feel like your audience is ready to embrace something out of the ordinary, go for it.
Volkswagen – Dark Force – 2011
TV commercial for Volkswagen with mini-Darth Vader was created by Deutsch agency for the Supercup. In it, a kid dressed as the main villain from Star Wars tries to influence objects – but he succeeds only with his father’s Volkswagen (and not without the secret help of his dad, of course). At the “Cannes Lions” this work took two gold and three bronze awards in different categories.
Advice. It is very difficult to use classic images to do something non-trivial, but if it works, it will be a victory. Reimagine what everyone is used to, look for new facets in the characters and feel free to experiment.
Benetton – Unhate – 2012
The Italian clothing brand Benetton created the Unhate campaign back in 2011 together with the agency Fabrica. At the center of this project is the kiss, a universal symbol of love that can bring even the biggest opponents closer together.
The creators of the campaign captured in a kiss (not without editing) the state leaders of countries that were not friends with each other: Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Advice. In addition to political reconciliation, the Unhate campaign also features the theme of equal love: whoever you are, love and everything will be fine. Equality in all areas is still a popular trend. It’s important to show your audience that you value them for loving you and for their strength of character, and not for meeting old standards tied to social media characteristics.
IBM – Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities – 2013
Together with the French office of the agency Ogilvy, the tech gagant IBM has created a series of functional metal billboards – in the form of a rain canopy, a hinged bench and a ramp over the steps. These outdoor billboards are part of the People for Smarter Cities campaign, which supported urban improvement projects and the development of urban programs.
Advice. It’s good when creativity not only inspires, but also solves everyday problems. Today it is not enough just to surprise – it is important to help. That is why, when planning your next post for the social network, think about how it could simplify the life of your audience.
Volvo – The Epic Split feat. Van Damme – 2014
No one has done this either before or since: the legend of American action movies, Jean-Claude Van Damme, performed his trademark cross split on two moving Volvo trucks. The ad featuring this trick was created by the Forsman & Bodenfors team.
Everyone argued for a long time that it was fake or true. It turned out that everything was done really without computer graphics and dummies. The star had reliable technical insurance and was not in danger, but on the screen everything looks as if Van Damme’s life was held by a thread. The video has collected more than 90 million views on YouTube and spawned many memes.
Advice. The budget for this video is huge – an estimated $ 3-5 million – and not everyone can afford to repeat it for Volvo. But often it doesn’t take a lot of money to make a print or video that becomes a meme. Of course, “memoization” happens spontaneously, but a brand can always give the audience a couple of ideas about which direction to go. Self-irony has not prevented anyone yet.
Always – Like a Girl – 2015
The campaign of the Always brand with the tagline Like a Girl became a landmark – one of the first to touch on the topic of gender equality and women’s struggle for their rights in society in a modern context. It turned out very simple, sincere and strong.
Advice. The topic of gender equality is now very relevant. It is important to help break stereotypes not only about the “female role” in the family, but also “non-female” and “non-male” professions, skills and abilities. We need more stories about how girls become carpenters, and guys become children’s hairdressers and pastry chefs, how mothers achieve great career success, and fathers go on maternity leave – and how happy everyone is.
Under Armor – Rule Yourself | Michael Phelps – 2016
Droga5 NY has produced a series of inspiring promotional videos for the sports brand Under Armor as part of the Rule Yourself campaign. But it was the video with swimmer Michael Phelps that won the Cannes Lions Grand Prix in the Film Craft category. It shows a titled American swimmer nicknamed “The Baltimore Bullet” and “Flying Fish”, the 23-time Olympic champion walked to tremendous success. Spoiler alert: toiled to the point of exhaustion.
Advice. Victories inspire admiration, but more important than the summit itself can only be the path to it. Tell us exactly how your company achieves success, show your own heroes – employees, customers, suppliers. This kind of transparency and sincerity brings people together very much. Use Crello templates to style your friends’ quotes or short workflow videos.
Art Institute of Chicago – Van Gogh BnB – 2017
Leo Burnett’s Chicago-based team developed the Van Gogh Bnb project to promote the artist’s exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. They teamed up with Airbnb to create a living room model from Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles” series. It was possible to rent this “Vangogovskaya” room, which was equipped in one of the buildings of the historic center of Chicago, for only $ 10 per day.
The campaign was so cool that it won the Cannes Lions Grand Prix in the Creative Effectiveness category, a category that includes creative projects that have shown great business results. The project managed to bring in $ 2 million with an investment of $ 500 thousand.
Advice. Retrospectives and flashbacks continue to be, if not the hottest, then quite relevant trend. Brands often turn to the past – they find interesting fragments in it, they thoroughly shake it off and repack it. The intersection of formats also works great – for example, what they are used to seeing in a plane can finally take on a new shape and sparkle with new faces.
LADbible + Plastic Oceans – The Trash Isles – 2018
There is so much garbage in the oceans that you can collect an entire island from it. Online edition LADbible and international organization Plastic Ocean have created a project calling on the UN to give the hypothetical garbage island state status.
Creatives from London-based BBDO helped to develop the project. They came up with the flag, banknote designs, passports, and postage stamps for the Garbage Islands. The goal was to draw attention to the problem of ocean pollution – and the creators of the project succeeded.
Advice. The problems of ecology and animal protection are now more acute than ever. It is very important for companies – even those that do not pollute the environment – to tell and show how to conserve and preserve natural resources.
Brands can share tips on how to sort waste, or organize clean-ups to clean up the local river. Use Crello’s motion templates to put together animated instructions – they’ll get more attention than a regular static one.
The Cannes Lions Advertising Festival is an endless source of inspiration for everyone involved in communications. Those meanings that were touched upon 10 years ago look quite fresh today – and some are even more relevant than before. For example, the topic of ecology, social equality, and universal practicality is getting a lot of attention.
To make it easier to find inspiration for communication in Cannes examples, we recommend:
Explore the cases of your niche. See which campaigns have created brands like you.
Look wider. It happens that a decision can be born after studying cases from a completely different field – maybe a jewelry brand or an auto manufacturer will throw up an idea that is perfect for fast food.
Don’t repeat it. Some cases are so cool that you want to copy everything to the smallest detail. But this is not worth doing. Use other people’s ideas as ingredients, but not the main ones – don’t forget to add your expertise, feeling and style.