Cannes Contenders 2016
Patrick Collister, Editor
Issue 39 | June 2016
12 Creative Directors from around the world gave us their thoughts on three campaigns that could win at Cannes 2016.
We invited a number of creative directors to nominate three campaigns they believe should win at Cannes.
Last year, there were some obvious winners going into the festival. Grabarz + Partners/Lowe GGK's "Nazis vs Nazis" and DDB Madrid's "Holograms for Freedom", for instance.
This year, our creative directors have chosen a far wider spread of work. Only J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam's "The Next Rembrandt" for ING and Y&R New Zealand's "McWhopper" campaign for Burger King getting two votes or more.
We wanted to identify at least one piece of direct mail that would win Silver or Bronze. But there is nothing obvious in the archives, though Republik New Zealand's "Haus of Versant" campaign had an important mail component.
If over 1,000 Lions were handed out in 2014 and 2015, then we can safely assume there will be as many in 2016. Here are 38 of them. Perhaps.
Top Picks: Chris Beresford-Hill, ECD, BBDO New York
I'm making three gold predictions for film at Cannes. What unifies my three choices is that they not only stand out against all the other entries, they manage to stand out against iconic work their brand has done in the past.
Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Old Spice "Rocket Car"
How do you refresh a campaign that everyone loves, and has been copied many times over, while still staying true to the tone of your brand? You do this spot, obviously. And God bless them for hanging onto the seriousness so long before the turn.
Harvey Nichols "Love Freebies?"
Yeah, they did it again. Great idea, great execution, and to make it more infuriating, it clearly didn't cost very much to do - so it's harder to come up with excuses for why we all can't do more work this good. I do feel like hugging the old man shoplifter after watching the video, though.
Wieden + Kennedy Portland
The best Nike spots are so pure you can't believe they haven't done the idea already. That's how this one feels. Oh, and another thing, it inspires non-athletes without the pandering, and there's way too much pandering these days. After I finish hugging the old shoplifter guy, I want to hug whoever wrote this spot.
Top Picks: Katrien Bottez, ECD, Famous Brussels
The Martin Agency
Geico 'Fast-Forward' ads
I loved the 'Unskippable' campaign from Geico last year, based on the insight that people don't want to watch pre-roll ads. They won many awards with it and that may well be the case again this year with a series of pre-rolls called "Fast Forward." Each ad begins quite normal and then fast-forwards to something unexpected. Luckily there are also extended versions if you really want to know what happened.
This is so entertaining it actually makes you forget what you wanted to watch on Youtube. A hilarious and brilliant campaign!
I like pie as much as I like this idea: a campaign to create awareness and spark conversation in Romania about the gender gap. Romania has one of the worst gender gaps in Europe. These edible pie charts don't only show how bad the problem is. 5% of the revenue from all bittersweet pies sold will be donated to an organisation dedicated to reducing the gender gap by training rural women and preparing them for modern professions.
Infographics are normally boring but these 'bittersweet' pie charts are an inventive way of generating conversation around the issue of gender inequality.
Klarna "Smooth" commercials
I remember that I watched these spots. And I watched them again. And again.
Three ads that dramatize how smooth it is to use Klarna's services and how frictionless the payment process is. A simple idea but what an execution! The weird imagery together with the electronic music make these commercials entrancing.
Work that will make the 'banking category' more exciting and that also could do very well in craft this year.
Top Picks: Shane Bradnick, ECD, DDB New Zealand.
3AM – Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' "Prologue Campaign"
The simple idea of recreating the buzz and fanaticism of the Cold War era space race to launch the movie The Martian. If there was ever a look into the crystal ball of advertising, this would be it. True integration, not around a product but around an audience. High quality content, multiple brands involved, audience participation and every platform and touchpoint imaginable used. I only hope one day I get the opportunity to say, "First we partnered with NASA" in a case study. It's going to win big.
Y&R New Zealand
Burger King "McWhopper"
Stunt? Guerrilla marketing? Activation? CRS campaign? Probably all of the above and also probably one of the biggest PR campaigns ever. When Burger King proposed the McWhopper for Peace Day through an open letter in The New York Times, everyone held their breath and when McDonald's said no, everyone just made their own. The real beauty of this campaign is the thought given to every detail: the proposed packaging, the uniforms, the pop-up store and even the inevitable Plan B when McDonald's didn't come to the party. The only category McWhopper won't win in is probably the Health Lions.
DDB New Zealand
Sky History Channel "Unforgotten Soldiers"
Full disclosure, this is work from my agency. It may not be as 'big' as the other potential contenders I've selected but I love the simple and elegant beauty of this idea. Bringing a World War I black-and-white photograph to life as a public installation with such consideration and respect not only created a moment in time that both young and old could connect with, but ensured that those who lost their lives 100 years ago were not forgotten.
Top Picks: Paul Brazier, Chief Creative Officer, AMV BBDO London
Here are my three predictions for Cannes and, of course, I'm not allowed to mention our own work such as Sainsbury's "Mog" or the Jeff Goldblum work for Curry's PC World and the "Gareth Thomas" Guinness work. Oh! I just did!
Who can tell what will win, but here are my choices, which will almost certainly scupper them from winning anything!
I'm not going to write much about them as I think Cannes winners should speak for themselves.
Watts of Tokyo
Shiseido "High School Girls"
It's fascinating to watch, beautifully crafted and a great demo for the brand.
Harvey Nichols "Love Freebies"
It seems incredibly bold to show actual footage of people shoplifting from the store but this surprising imagery makes a relevant point. Clever graphics hide the shoplifters' identities and lighten the tone. It all concludes with a succinct line about the service: 'Love Freebies. Get them legally.'
Talwar Bindi "Life-Saving Dot"
Finally, Cannes will be full of ideas for good causes. I'm sure these initiatives are genuine and above all I hope they do make a difference to people's lives. This simple idea stood out from most.
Top Picks: Martin Cedergren, Executive Creative Director, M&C Saatchi Stockholm
Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg
H&M "Close the Loop"
For over two and a half years, Swedish clothes brand H&M has been running their "sustainable closed loop" program. Customers can bring in a bag of used clothes and exchange it for a £5 voucher. The clothes are then either reused or turned into new clothes, with a range of denims being the first example. The 90-second film showcases the eccentric characters in dramatic surroundings, whilst Iggy Pop encourages us to break fashion taboos. We're left with the compelling message that recycling a t-shirt saves 2,100 litres of water.
Lidl "Le Bon"
How did Lidl repeat the marketing success of "Restaurant Dill"? The question has an answer: A live pop-up alternative Nobel party for 1300 guests with Masterchefs and all revenues to cancer research.
M&C Saatchi, Stockholm
E.ON/Malmö FF "Welcome home, Z"
Swedish football club Malmö FF has given the world a number of football legends, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic possibly their greatest yet. Zlatan, now playing for Paris Saint-Germain FC, had a chance to make epic history by playing against his old club in the group stage of Champions League. Malmö FF and the main sponsor, E.ON, wanted to give him a warm welcome home to Malmö...
Top Picks: Patrick Collister, Editor, Directory
Well, these three ideas have all featured in recent issues of Directory and I would give each a Gold or two. That's not to say the various juries in Cannes will.
Y&R New Zealand
Burger King "McWhopper"
Featured in Directory 37, how very satisfying it must have been for the team when McDonald's responded so predictably to the idea of collaborating with BK on World Peace Day. If they had been open to the idea, there would be no awards. So, Y&R New Zealand, be as grateful to McDonald's as to your own clients.
Seth Meyers, Game of Thrones
"Jon Snow Comes To Dinner"
I can't find out who the agency is behind this. It's 'native advertising' at its best. Using a content creator with nearly half a million subscribers to get his followers (a) interested in the new series and (b) sharing the video(s). This is one of a series and the funniest of the lot.
ACHTUNG! mcgarrybowen Amsterdam
Philips "Brush Button"
Instead of writing a TV spot warning of the perils of brushing your teeth inadequately, ACHTUNG! mcgarrybowen came up with the idea of a device which gives you two-minutes of personalised content. Push the button, start brushing and listen to your diary for the day, the traffic report for your route work, news about your football team...until the two minutes are up. A great example of a brand demonstrating its values rather than talking about them.
Top Picks: Graham Fink, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy & Mather China
Watts of Tokyo
Sheseido "High School Girls"
The most amazing thing I have seen all year and really wish I had done. Everything about it is so well crafted. The music, the direction, the styling, and of course the make up. Grand Prix.
Prudential "Race for Retirement"
Life insurance is a tough category. It's one thing telling people to save for the future, but getting them to actually do it is another matter. That's why I love this idea for Prudential. Asking folk to run for their retirement, with messages they can interact with along the way. It's great media idea too. Deserving of a Gold in my view.
Ogilvy & Mather London
An online film for Philips healthcare, features people with breathing difficulties learning to sing and then perform a version of The Police's 'Every breath you take' at the Apollo theatre in New York. It's incredibly moving and you find yourself rooting for the singers as they take on the challenge with unbridled enthusiasm. Just reading the comments on Youtube alone tells you that it was a smash hit with the public. There's thousands of them. They can't all have been written by the agency! I'm sure they're holding their breath for a Gold Lion.
Top Picks: Rafael Guida, Executive Creative Director, OgilvyOne Hong Kong
J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam:
ING + Microsoft "The Next Rembrandt"
Artificial intelligence is the hot topic of the moment. Microsoft recently went live with an AI experiment on Twitter. Aside from the fact the teengirl chatbot ended up becoming a sexist, Nazi Trump supporter, it demonstrated what machine learning is capable of. This partnerships with ING shows us a more positive take on AI. Using data at its core, it demonstrates Microsoft capabilities and delivers a nice piece of branded content. A sure winner on Creative Use of Data and a great contender in many other categories.
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Cannes is changing. Tech giants that were once only sponsors of the festival, offering comfortable lounges and cool drinks by the beach, have started taking home Lions of their own, including the Mobile Grand Prix last year for Google Cardboard. Following this trend, I can definitely see the jury appreciating this effort by Facebook. It uses technology for good and is deeply related to the brand values of making the world more accessible, to everyone. A huge technical effort, translated into a small but life-changing feature for blind users.
Forsman & Bodenfors
SK-11 "Marriage Market Takeover"
We have seen western brands creating conversation in social media with campaigns such as Dove Real Beauty and Always #likeagirl but neither had much relevancy in Asia. It's refreshing to see here such a strong insight that can touch woman all over the world but which is specific for this region. The delivery is brilliant and touching, using no gimmicks or unnecessary use of technology but is still highly relevant in the digital age. Definitely a strong contender, it's one of those ads, which living in Asia myself, makes me wish I had done it myself.
Top Picks: Stephanie Larsen, Creative Director, OwenKessel Leo Burnett South Africa
When it comes to awards, I look at the pieces of work that make me wish I had done them. And the following pieces made me secretly hate their creators the moment I saw them.
Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
Origin Energy "Solar Stealers"
What I love about this piece of work is that they took what was probably a very boring brief and turned it into a piece of genius. The insight was spot on, it was beautifully crafted and most importantly, it was funny – which is not a very easy task in a category more hated than banks. Through flawless writing, perfect casting and an extremely clever app that I wish I could use, they were able to educate consumers without them even realising it. Thanks Clemenger BBDO Melbourne for showing us how advertising is done.
J. Walter Thompson Beirut
Bou Khalil Supermarché "The Good Note"
This deserves gold in many different categories. They took a real human problem and found a simple solution that actually made a difference to people's lives. It was based on an insight in Lebanon but addresses a worldwide problem and I would love to see this idea rolled out in other countries. This is such a powerful idea because it actually has the ability to change the world. This type of work makes me proud to be a part of this industry because it demonstrates the true power of creativity.
Under Armour Rule Yourself "Michael Phelps"
Under Armour does it again. In a category where we're used to seeing sporting heroes portrayed as gods performing in all their glory, it's refreshing to be reminded that even the world's greatest Olympian has to put in the hard work and long hours. Every single detail has been meticulously considered. From Phelps' out-of-season beard and that never-ending lane, to those haunting crowd sounds, this ad is cinematic perfection. It should clean up in the craft categories, especially for sound design. And that line at the end? I can only hope to write a line like that in my career.
Top Picks: Ramzi Moutran, ECD, Memac Ogilvy Dubai
I have been trying to find a needle in a haystack, looking for greatness in unexpected places, campaigns that did not come from the big agency in the top cities of the world.
Leo Burnett Dubai
Du Telecom campaign ("Russian Odyssey", "Verisimilitude")
First find is the new campaign from Du, a telco in the UAE. They are no strangers to Cannes, having won in the last few years with previous renditions of this campaign. I do feel, however, they have gone and done something quite special with this new campaign. Same old idea: "Some movies just cannot be watched alone". But the way Ali Ali and Maged Nassar have chosen to tell their stories is just brilliant. All told from the point of view of the "Directors" with the behind the scenes making-of. Funny, original, very entertaining and amazingly crafted. Lions.
Swedish Tourist Association "Call Sweden"
To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Swedish law that abolished censorship, they created the Swedish Number Campaign. They put every possible customer directly in touch with Sweden's best brand ambassadors: their citizens, allowing each and every one of them be the voice of their country, a spokesperson for Sweden. With the use of an app anyone who called the country was put through to a random Swede. Even the Prime Minister took some phone calls. Its a big idea. Its a brave idea. Simple yet brilliant, like all good ideas should be.
In the Middle East, many children speak and write in English rather than their own language, Arabic. This is a problem solved by this clever app. The key-lock on Samsung devices become Arabic words. Only when the word is traced by a finger is the phone is unlocked. Every day there is a new word to learn.
The app was only recently launched so there are not that many downloads yet. However, its nice to see brands like Samsung doing their small part towards keeping their customers' culture intact.
Top Picks: Fabian Pensel, Creative Director, BBDO Dusseldorf
Venables, Bell & Partners
Audi R8 "Commander"
The first and last car I owned was a '97 Opel Astra my grandfather left me. So I'm not exactly an expert in luxurious or powerful cars. And honestly I don't care much about cars as well. The anti-German, if you want. But this wonderful ad made me think maybe you should give up the Netflix subscription, sell your life insurance and pawn your wedding ring to get an R8. From storytelling to casting, editing and especially the brilliant use of music, this piece gave me goosebumps from A to Z.
Squatty Potty "This Unicorn Changed The Way I Poop"
If there was a Lion for selling in an idea, this quirky thing would definitely be awarded Grand Prix. I just love the weirdness of it. It's pure WTF, beautifully written and executed. And it proves that pushing things to the limit actually pays off. On the flipside I will never be able to enjoy Creemee ice-cream like I did before.
Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
Bonds Underwear, "The Boys"
It is a tough world below the waistline. Believe it or not but there is something like men's problems and finally someone points out that the three of us really have a hard time every now and then. This is the fun part that makes this a great ad. The fact part would be: written hilariously, acted great and executed with a simplicity that makes me jealous.
Top Picks: Jaime Rosado, Chief Creative Officer Latam, J. Walter Thompson
Domino's Pizza "Dominos DXP"
Pioneering at its best. It looks like one of those great inventions shown in Back to the Future. Makes me easily visualize how the delivery business will be in the future.
Cheerios "Bring back the bees"
A brave idea. Not every day a brand is willing to remove its iconic symbol to get attention about a cause. Love this idea because is absolutely relevant for Cheerios.
J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam
ING, Microsoft "The Next Rembrandt"
Simply genius. One of those ideas that makes me feel stupid.
Top Picks: Ben Welsh, Creative Chairman, M&C Saatchi, Asia/Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo
Instead of writing about work that I think will do well at Cannes, I thought I'd mention three things I'd like to see win at Cannes. And instead of the usual scramble through articles and appeals to colleagues for their predictions, I'm going to go on memory alone; work I've noticed over the last 12 months.
M&C Saatchi Stockholm
SPP "Small Changes make Big Differences"
It's for an investment company and it encourages people to move a slider across the film to give them a choice of what the world will be like in 2045 to promote sustainable investments.
It's a brilliantly simple and compelling piece of work and anyone promoting sustainability should be applauded.
Ocedel "Firefly Man"
I saw this while chairing the film jury at AdFest. It stole the show and reminded us all of how great a great film can be.
Moving, imaginative and, in the end, a great product demonstration.
Lastly, and hopefully for effectiveness (although that would have to be next year) I'd like to see Bernie Sanders "America" win.