News & Views

Cannes Lions / Cyber, Design & Press Lions

by Contagious Team

Favorites in the viral, mobile and other categories continue to storm the stage

Wednesday in Cannes saw more innovative work enshrined at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Awards.

Google and Arcade Fire's Wilderness DowntownOld Spice's Responses campaign and Pay With a Tweet took a trio of Grand Prix in the Cyber category. 

A total of 21 Gold Lions were awarded in the category, with the United States taking the bulk with eight awards, which went to a varied group of work, including web films and browser experiences as well as infrastructural bits technological advancements. 

'On one hand you're judging narratives and on another you're judging deep, systematic technological solutions,' said jury president Nick Law, chief creative officer of R/GA. For instance, two Gold winners that couldn't be further apart are Sneakerpedia, a piece of branded utility from Foot Locker and Sapient Nitro London, and Nike's Write the Future, a massive budget television commercial that went viral on the web. 

Pay With a Tweet was two creatives from R/GA who used social media to give away free books, and created a system for others to do so in the process. 'It's two guys, promoting themselves,' Law said, 'But it belongs in this jury because it's using social media tools.' 

In addition to Wilderness Downtown, Google took Gold for YouTube Life in a Day (along with Toaster and rehabstudio, London), the Google Art Project and the Chrome Fastcampaign in addition to three Silver awards. Law was asked if Google was now competing with agencies, but didn't rise to the bait. 'They're competing with agencies for talent, that's for sure,' he said 'But I think they're partners with agencies when it comes to marketing.'

Other notable golds went to Heineken's Star PlayerMini Getaway and Uniqlo's 'Lucky Line'

The question of U.S. dominance was raised, but Law said it was the maturity of its media shift that was reflected in the work rather than large budgets. 'I think it's the first big market that fragmented to the point where it's difficult to get a mass audience, so networked media becomes more influential and there's more commercial opportunity as a result,' Law said. 'I really don't think it's about budgets.' 

The jury talked about increasing spend on digital, to keep up with the shift, but still awarded Gold Lions to two pieces, Nike's Write the Future and Volkswagen The Force, which are both essentially Super Bowl commercials, whose media and production budgets could likely have paid for all of the other Gold winners combined. 'You've got to get back to how good is that writing, how good is that idea,' said Lean Mean Fighting Machine creative partner Dave Bedwood. 'I think you should try and zoom yourself back to the heart of the piece, but I think you've got to forget [media spend and production] and get back to the heart of the work.'

Another journalist asked if, given the prevalence of digital in other areas, the Cyber category was becoming redundant. 'If we want to reward specific and idiosyncratic efforts, then it's an additive's strange, fluid,' Law said. 'If you look at the breadth of aptitudes happening here, they represent the breadth of media; I don't think it becomes redundant. We need to figure out every year how to categorize it this ever-increasing set of aptitudes.' 

Grand Prix in the Design Lions category went to the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel, for its Cosmopolitan Digital Experience work from Digital Kitchen in Chicago.

The experiential work sees multiple massive video canvases greeting hotel visitors. 32 Golds were awarded to work including Leo Burnett Iberia and Sony Playstation's Mr Lee (which graces the cover of Contagious 27), Ikea's Homemade is Best cookbook from Forsman & Bodenfors, and the Mirror web experience from Japanese band Sour.

JWT Shanghai's Heaven and Hell, which had won two Golds the night before in Outdoor took Grand Prix in Press. 10 Golds were awarded. 

Juror Nick Cohen, executive creative director of Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai, commented on Press: 'Honestly I wish more of the work came close to actually being beautiful expressions of brands, period. So much press work entered in the show were just clever little jokes or crafted eye candy, designed by agencies to win prizes, but not really about winning affinity or affection for the poor little brand usually sitting all alone on the pack shot in the lower right hand corner.' He says of the JWT's winning work: 'The Samsonite piece was a classic example of a single dramatic image saying everything and being incredibly persuasive.'