News & Views

Cannes Lions / Film and Film Craft Winners

by Chloe Markowicz


A campaign created from a retailer’s actual security camera footage won the Grand Prix in Film at the 2016 Cannes Lions Festival.

Harvey NicholsShoplifters campaign promoted the brand’s new loyalty app through real CCTV footage of people stealing fashion and accessories from the British department store. The Film jury said that the campaign, by agency Adam&Eve DDB was the ‘clear winner’.

To prime the Film jury on what to look out for among the shortlisted campaigns, Joe Alexander, jury president and chief creative officer at The Martin Agency, shared famed DDB art director Helmut Krone’s comments on ‘The New Page’. The new, Alexander explained, ‘is not related to anything you’ve seen in your life’ and ‘very often it’s someone else who has to tell you that thing has merit’. Speaking of the Film jury’s mission he said, ‘To me that’s the essence of what we try to put everything through.’

Speaking about the Grand Prix-winner, jury member Ana Balarin said that after watching the Shoplifters film, the whole jury room spontaneously started applauding. ‘This says a lot about it,’ Balarin added. ‘It’s our responsibility with the Grand Prix to award something that challenges our perception of the category, this does it in spades. Who thought that a film with a low budget, without a script, could be so entertaining and have such a rich narrative?’ The jury also commended the campaign because the content worked as a film online, in cinema and on TV. ‘This is a very modern piece of work that lived in both worlds,’ said Balarin.

A total of 15 Gold Lions were awarded in total and Alexander said the jury was impressed by an ‘incredible variety of work’. However, Alexander said that there was a 'thinner body of work' compared with previous years. In 2015 3,070 campaigns were entered, but this year only 2,801 were entered in the Film category. He cited the economic situation around the world for the decline in entries. ‘At the top, the work was amazing but as you got down into the lower tier of the shortlist the depth just wasn’t there,’ he said.

Alexander also noted that only one virtual reality campaigns made the shortlist (The New York Times' The Displaced) , even though he wore a VR headset more this week than he ever had before. He explained that the jury members are still unsure about judging VR work. ‘The Film jury is maybe three, four or five juries away from figuring out what’s a great VR experience, what’s a great VR film.’


In the Film Craft category, Under Armour’s Rule Yourself spot won the Grand Prix. The ad, by Droga5 in New York, told the story of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps as he returned to the pool for one last swim.


BBDO Germany’s Steffen Gentis – a jury member – said this work was chosen because ‘it was the one piece that transcended the craft and just reached out and touched us. The craft became invisible and we found ourselves completely immersed in the experience.’

Droga5 in New York also picked up a Gold Lion for a spot for spirits brand Hennessy, which told the story of Swiss physicist Auguste Piccard, who became the first person to reach the stratosphere in 1931. And a Gold was also awarded to cosmetics brand Shiseido for its High School Girl? film.

Laura Gregory, CEO and founder of Great Guns and the Jury President, said that the jurors were looking for entries ‘to deliver a piece of work in a way that elevates it beyond the written script.’ She also expressed her surprise that some of the best work entered into the Film category wasn’t then entered into the Film Craft too.

Cannes Deconstructed