News & Views

Cannes Lions / Direct Award Winners

by Emily Hare


The Swedish Number has won the Grand Prix in Direct at the 2016 Cannes Lions Festival. 

The campaign by the Swedish Tourist Association beat 3071 entries to win the top award. Jury chair and global chief creative officer, Leo Burnett Worldwide, Mark Tutssel, asked the jury to 'focus on brands, the big brands, the small brands, brands that really understand what creativity can do in the world today'. 

The jury awarded the Grand Prix to The Swedish Number, a campaign by Ingo, Stockholm that asked Swedes to volunteer to answer calls from anyone in the world who chose to phone in. Tutssel explained the power of the idea: 'In a world where we text, we tweet, we snap and we have a million options at our fingertips, it’s easy to mistake technology for human connection. At the end of the day, we’re people talking to people.

'It’s really refreshing to see an idea and a campaign that unites 9.5 million brand ambassadors with the world, through the most direct form of communication which is speaking, in this case on a one-to-one phone call. It’s direct at its core, it’s an incredibly brave idea that generated immediate response and it’s a campaign for tourism that transcends tourism to become a celebration of national pride and a potent powerful demonstration of a country’s commitment to freedom of speech.'

Just 2.4% of the category's entries won awards, with 75 Lions handed out in total. Other notable Gold Lion winners included outdoor clothing brand REI for #OptOutside. The campaign, by Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco, encouraged people in the US to get outside on Black Friday, by closing the brand's stores. The campaign's double Gold success added to its Grand Prix win in the Promo and Activation category.

Burger King's McWhopper gained two Golds, also adding to a Grand Prix in the print category. Burger King's invitation to McDonald's to create a burger together to celebrate Peace Day gained the brand widespread PR success. Y&R New Zealand worked with various other agencies to pull the project off. 

Brewtroleum, the project by Heineken NZ through Colenso BBDO Auckland, to turn waste from the beer production process into fuel also was awarded a brace of Golds, in addition to wins across other categories today.

And Manboobs, the breast cancer awareness piece for MACMA, through David Buenos Aires, won a Gold Lion, which followed its Grand Prix for Good in the Cannes Health Lions.

The variety of engaging and compelling winners with a strong sense of business purpose confirm Mark Tutssel's desire to celebrate 'brands that really believe in the value and power of creativity to create not only human value but obviously business success as well'.

Setting the tone for the rest of the week, Tutssel concluded: 'Cannes represents the best of the very, very best. Its purpose for existence is really to put that spotlight on creativity that drives business success. At the end of the day, we’re not in the creative business, we’re in the business of creativity. The more clients we can partner with who believe and subscribe to that, the more success we will have and they will have.’

Cannes Deconstructed