News & Views

Cannes Lions: PR Award Winners

by Contagious Team

US burrito chain Chipotle has added to the Film Grand Prix and the Branded Content and Entertainment Grand Prix it won in 2012 for Back To The Start by scooping the PR Grand Prix at this year’s festival for the similarly emotive short film The Scarecrow.

Once again, the brand enlisted Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency with content creation although this time with additional support from Edelman which handled the comprehensive PR push on the campaign. That occurred after an initial month-long period of ‘organic’ growth on YouTube.

However, The Scarecrow was a controversial winner. Due to the success of Back To The Start, it was scrutinised harder than any piece of branded content in the last two years and the reception was broadly not as favourable for the newer campaign. This didn’t seem to bother jurors though, who not only praised the sweet storytelling, but also commented on how the various integrated elements of the campaign worked together to drive engagement and share the company’s industry-leading commitment to sustainability with consumers. The Scarecrow also won two Gold Lions in the category.

There were 13 Gold Lions awarded in total, with the jury also singling out (perhaps unsurprisingly) Forsman & Bodenfors’ Live Test Series for Volvo, which they claimed used great film craft to create something inherently PR-worthy. The Gold adds to those that Volvo won in Promo & Activation and Direct on the same day, although it remains a firm favourite to scoop a Grand Prix towards the end of the week.

Specific campaigns aside, the hot topic surround the PR category this year was how, once again, the winners list was dominated by creative and media agencies; in fact no Gold Lions were won exclusively by PR agencies; only those working with creative shops. This wasn’t, however, due to a lack of entries: submissions from PR agencies apparently doubled from 20% to 40% compared with 2013.

Subscribers to Contagious magazine can access a case study on Chipotle here.

A full list of the day's winners are available here. To hear more from Contagious at Cannes, check out Storystreamlisten to our daily podcasts and follow us on Twitter.