James Swift

24 June 2021

Cannes Lions: Creative Effectiveness Winners 2021 

Nike's Colin Kaepernick campaign returns to Cannes to collect the Grand Prix in the Creative Effectiveness category

Nike’s Crazy Dreams campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick has won the Grand Prix in the Creative Effectiveness category at Cannes.

The campaign, by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, earned media worth $163m, added $6bn of value to Nike’s brand and boosted sales 31%, according to the case study video.

Crazy Dreams launched in 2018 with a social media post: a black-and-white close-up image of Kaepernick’s face along with the strapline ‘believe in something, even if it costs you everything’. The campaign also included a film, which Kaepernick narrated.

Kaepernick was a quarterback for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers when he began kneeling during the pre-game national anthem in 2016, to protest the treatment of Black people in America.

The Nike campaign, released on the 30th anniversary of the brand’s ‘Just Do It’ slogan, referenced the sacrifice made by Kaepernick, who has not played professional football since 2017.

While many people applauded Nike’s stance at the time, others – who considered Kaepernick’s protest unpatriotic – were displeased and a few reacted by posting images of themselves burning the brand’s products.

The Creative Effectiveness category at Cannes celebrates work that demonstrates ‘how an effective strategy rooted in creativity has met its chosen business objectives’, and is eligible to campaigns that have already won or been shortlisted at Cannes.

Nike’s campaign with Kaepernick won a Grand Prix in the Outdoor category at Cannes in 2019, as well as a Grand Prix in the Entertainment For Sport category.

Gold Lions Winners 

The Time We Have Left for Ruavieja (Pernod Ricard) by Leo Burnett, Madrid

The Whopper Detour for Burger King by FCB New York

Cannes Deconstructed 

Want to know about the best work and key trends from this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity? Book a Contagious Cannes Deconstructed briefing for your team and we’ll deliver a week’s worth of festival insights in one hour. These can be delivered in person (depending on Covid restrictions) or virtually. Contact [email protected] for more information.

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