News & Views

Cannes Lions / Titanium Lions Winners

by Emily Hare
REI wins the Titanium Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity with a culturally relevant piece of work that is 'a brilliant idea, beautifully executed'

The campaign, which gained 2.7 billion PR impressions in 24 hours, saw the outdoor goods retailer close its stores for Black Friday, the US’ epic shopping day. Created by Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco, 170 other stores followed REI’s lead and National Parks in the US opened for free, encouraging 1.4 million people to get outdoors. The piece was also awarded the Promo and Activation Grand Prix earlier in the week.

Sir John Hegarty, co-founder of BBH and chair of the Titanium and Integrated jury praised the bravery of the idea, saying ‘We’ve awarded work in both categories that is actually trying to become a part of the cultural zeitgeist. I’ve often said that a lot of advertising exists in the world of advertising, but it doesn’t touch the people it’s supposed to be talking to.’

Instead REI ‘played with what’s happening in the world outside, on a crazy day, saying go outside and have fun. Work like that gets more notice from our audience and gets applauded.’

Sir John Hegarty issued a stark challenge to the industry, saying ‘the awareness and value of advertising is declining. That is not my opinion, that is the opinion of the audiences we talk to.’ He asked: ‘How do we move the value of advertising and communication forward in a way that audiences genuinely look forward to and respond to?’

Instructions to the Titanium jury challenged them to award pieces that ‘break new ground in branded communications,’ and award work that is provocative, boundary-breaking and industry-inspiring work, moving the industry forward.

Sir Hegarty’s response was ‘I’m not sure new is always best, I think we looked at work which actually was quite old, but actually had executed something brilliantly and made you rethink. I feel - and maybe this is a personal view - that in in the rush for the new we’re forgetting how to communicate things that genuinely move people.’

‘I’ve always felt that, when you’re creating a piece of work, you shouldn’t be able to see where the advertising stops and the brand starts... I think what companies have got to try and do is to make their communications so much a part of what they’re about, you just don’t question it. Brilliant work does that… Titanium can show you how to do that using new ways of communicating.’

The other Titanium winners included some of the most influential and highest awarded work of this year’s festival. Titanium Lions went to Brewtroleum, through Colenso BBDO Auckland, for its idea that saw beer waste converted into a new type of fuel, increasing beer sales in the process. It was awarded the Outdoor Grand Prix earlier in the week.

Burger King’s audacious idea to create the McWhopper, a burger that mashed together the Big Mac and the Whopper to celebrate Peace Day, via Y&R NZ Auckland also claimed a Titanium Lion, in addition to the Print Grand Prix, picked up earlier in the week.

David Kolbusz, jury member and chief creative officer, Droga5, praised the ‘very simple ideas, executed to exhaustive measures’ echoing Sir John Hegarty’s point that the industry needs to fight for the craft of the work it does.

Other Titanium Lions went to The Swedish Number for The Swedish Tourist Association by Ingo Stockholm, also awarded the Direct Grand Prix earlier in the week, and Krylon's First Ever Pinterest Yard Sale by Deutsch New York.

Cannes Deconstructed