News & Views

Cannes Lions / Mobile Winners

by Emily Hare

Google Cardboard – a virtual reality headset – has been awarded 2015’s Mobile Grand Prix. Users construct the cardboard and velcro headset, slot in a mobile phone running Cardboard apps and can then try out a range of branded and unbranded virtual reality experiences.

Joanna Monteiro, mobile jury president and VP, creative director at FCB Brazil, explained in the press conference that Cardboard perfectly fitted the criteria that the jury had set, as it affirms mobile as a platform that will really change behaviour and have an impact on consumer life.

Monteiro said of Google Cardboard: ‘We are talking about experience all the time. This will really engage people in a way that few creative ideas will.’ She told Contagious: ‘Cardboard democratises the VR experience all over the world, that is huge. We were talking in terms of Before Cardboard and After Cardboard, because it will change everything.’

The jury was also impressed by Cardboard’s relatively low cost of just $10 or $20, as opposed to other, pricier, virtual reality headsets because of its democratising potential.

Monteiro explained that Cardboard was awarded the Grand Prix relatively easily, rather than an individual campaign, because ‘It was bigger in terms of changing the importance of mobile in the world. That will bring a light to mobile very strongly.’

As for Cannes introducing a separate virtual reality category to the festival in the future, Monteiro confirmed that the jury could definitely see that being a possibility, citing the prevalence of campaigns not only created for Google Cardboard, but also for alternative VR headsets such as Oculus Rift. The jury could try out all of the VR award entries on the headsets they were originally created for, rather than watching a film of the experience, which really helped to bring the power of the virtual creations to life.

Monteiro said ‘It’s amazing how it makes people feel things, and we believe that really changes behaviour. In terms of product and giving importance to the mobile it is huge.’

Lisnr, a mobile solution to transfer data over audio via R/GA New York, was awarded a Gold Lion, but was also in contention for the Grand Prix because of its wider implications. Monteiro described it as a ‘technology that democratises and makes everything easier.’ The jury praised both Lisnr and Cardboard for being ‘enablers’ of marketing, rather than actually ‘doing the thing’ in terms of being stand alone pieces of work or creative. Cardboard stood out, however, as a number of other entries in the category wouldn’t have existed without the device.

R/GA New York claimed two other Gold Lions, one for its innovative Hammerhead Navigation System, designed to be fitted onto a bike and direct cyclists without them having to check maps on their phone. The Pursuit by Equinox also gained a Gold Lion for the agency.

Other innovative solutions picked up Golds, including smart shark detection system developed by Australian telco Optus, via M&C Sydney and L’Oreal ParisMakeup Genius virtual mirror via McCann Paris.

ALS’ Ice Bucket Challenge was awarded a Gold in mobile, as it used mobile devices to film and share user-generated charity films, enabling a far greater reach for the charity initiative.
EA Sport’s Madden Giferator claimed a Gold for Grow, Norfolk, along with Google’s Art, Copy, Code project. And FCB and Current Chicago received a Gold Lion for The Unforgotten, a gun education piece for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.