News & Views

Contagious Team: Cannes Predictions

by Contagious Team

We pick the campaigns that have impressed us most over the year and share which ones we think will win big at Cannes, as well as the ones we'd be fighting for if we were on the jury.

Alex Jenkins, editor, Contagious I/O

It’s a bit of a punt given that it’s not a marketing campaign, but I’m backing Sweetie by Lemz in Amsterdam for an Innovation Lion this year.  An initiative by an agency which resulted in the identification of 1,000 paedophiles from 71 countries shows the real-world impact of digital creativity and what agencies can achieve beyond shifting FMCG. How the project came about is pretty innovative too. On I/O we interviewed Mark Woerde, strategy director and co-founder of Lemz:

‘There was no brief at all. About one year ago, I read an article in the newspaper about shelters in the Philippines that were crowded with children who were sick from webcam sex with people from other countries… I decided to call the director of Terre Des Hommes and said: ‘It’s great that you help these children in the Philippines, but what about the demand side? They weren’t doing anything [preventative]. I knew of sex tourism and how big that industry is, but that was the first moment that I realised that the internet could increase sex tourism by such a massive factor.’


My other campaign which I personally find fascinating but might get overlooked is Democreativity. Based on a partnership between Visit Sweden, The Swedish Institute and Business Sweden, it’s a collaboration platform designed to crowdsource ideas for the ‘most unlikely game ever’. Given how little time juries have to come to decisions, I suspect that there’s too much going on here for them to get their heads around. Still, good luck to Prime as any campaign designed to explore ‘different creative expressions and help give a voice to all ideas’ deserves a look-in at a festival of creativity.

Ed White, editor, Contagious Magazine

Among all the dizzyingly complex, multi-layered campaigns we see at Contagious, it’s the beautifully simple, insight-based ones that stick out the most. Agency Hakuhodo in Tokyo took a product innovation (icy cold foam), and brought an understanding of culture (people documenting their lives on social media) to create a Mr Whippy-style solution that makes it totally distinct on-trade, sharable on social media and yet costing nothing in terms of media. Advertising at its best creates intangible value for brands and people at very low cost: Kirin’s Photogenic Beer is just that. Genius.  

While I find commuting a complete bore (who doesn’t, frankly), finding a seat on a crowded train still retains a childish thrill. Now, imagine you could use your phone to find a train carriage with a free seat. Well, Dutch rail company NS did that, and then as an encore created LED screens along station platforms to indicate the same information. 

We see countless ‘technological world firsts’ submitted to Contagious. We see, by contrast, all too few creative ideas grounded in insights around people’s needs, fewer still successfully channelling those insights into useful services that make that brand more attractive. Reisplanner Extra may seem small, but it’s the type of transformative digital service that will define the strongest brands in the future.  

Louise Potter, writer, Contagious

I'm going to agree with Alex and say that the campaign I think should win is Sweetie. Ad agency LEMZ creates virtual child and uses said robot to catch sex offenders. Actual, real-life sex offenders. And it then takes them several months to decide whether it is even morally correct to reveal that they worked on a campaign of this magnitude at all. How can this not scoop everything with the word 'innovation', 'digital', or 'tear-jerking' in the category title? Highly preferable to a washed-out actor balanced on some trucks, even without an Enya track.

Yes, Alert Shirt is a bit silly, but as someone who spent a year working with an overpriced TV provider that thought a die-cut on a piece of direct mail was innovation, I can’t help but adore Foxtel’s bonkers haptic shirt. Not only does it mimic feelings of pressure, impact, adrenaline and exhaustion, but it actually exists – and was created to help retain existing subscribers to the pricey sports service. I’m not sure it’ll even make it to Cannes – but I’d love to see something this utterly insane win.

Emily Hare, managing editor, Contagious Magazine

I was a bit dubious about the impact that Sound of Honda/Ayrton Senna 1989 could have until I saw the effect on the audience that the winning film had at this year's D&AD awards. Recreating Senna's record breaking lap that the great racing driver set when qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix with light and sound is not only a moving and powerful feat for a modern audience, but also a great product demo, highlighting the proficiency of the Honda engine's smart telemetry system. Beautiful work from Dentsu Tokyo

As a slight outsider, I'd back Samsung's Power Sleep app, created with Cheil Austria and Cheil Worldwide. If the juries are looking for brands demonstrating a sense of purpose - and last year it was a watchword of the festival - this should be a great choice. Thanks to a collaboration with the University of Vienna, the app runs overnight while phones are charging, quietly using the phone's impressive processing power to investigate proteins, contributing to a cure for diseases such as Alzheimers and cancer. Not bad for a night's work. 

Lucy Aitken, writer, Contagious

BA’s digital out of home sites which could detect BA flights in the area truly harked back to an era where catching a flight was a magical experience. Each Magic of Flying billboard, via OgilvyOne Worldwide in London, showed a child pointing to the sky as BA planes flew overhead, with the flight number and destination displayed. This should definitely win because it performed two mighty tasks: reminding us of our long-lost childlike fascination with flying and making us literally look up at the brand.

My outsider tip is DomyosTai-Chip-Hop, by Fred & Farid in Shanghai because it rejected traditional advertising and spawned a dance craze instead. To launch Domyos sportswear in China, Tai-Chip-Hop fused  eastern and western movements and captivated the country so much that a dance-off was filmed for national TV. The advertising for most sportswear brands is so earnest, all about personal bests and going for the burn. Tai-Chip-Hop stands out because it's FUN. Oh, and it just so happens to tick all the Titanium boxes: breakthrough, provocative and a new direction in the industry. 

Raakhi Chotai, researcher, Contagious

The shoo-in: Volvo Trucks, Epic Split. Jean Claude Van Damme doing the splits on two giant trucks to the sounds of Enya. What the f***, in a good way.

The underdog: InterRail mobile. Train travel company brings cheap mobile data to the masses (or its customers, at least) with its own SIM card. A deceptively simple bit of service design that taps into the ‘play and display’ culture of InterRail’s young target market, it’s also is a sure-fire way to inspire some actionable Facebook envy from those back home. Brilliant.

For more predictions and insights from industry experts, check out the Cannes Contenders piece from the latest issue of Contagious here. What have we missed? Please share your dead certs and outsider tips in the comments below.