The curtain has fallen once again on the annual advertising extravaganza in the south of France: the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Every ad agency and marketer attending the week-long event hopes to come away with a Cannes Lions Grand Prix award, the top gong in the industry.
The awards run across several categories — mobile, press, film, health, and creative data, to name just a few — and are presented based on their creativity, effectiveness, and for displaying ideas that are simply ahead of the market.
We’ve collected together all the Grand Prix winners from this year’s Cannes. Or, in other words, the best ads the industry had to offer over the past 12 months.
CREATIVE EFFECTIVENESS GRAND PRIX: Volvo -- Live Test Series (Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors Gothenburg)
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Volvo and its agency wanted to carry out extreme tests of relevant product features of its various vehicles, but present them in an entertaining way. The result was a 'Live Tests' video series that was topped off by the memorable 'Epic Split' video, which saw Jean-Claude Van Damme performing the splits between two moving trucks. The Cannes jury said the campaign delivered 'huge results,' both quantitative and qualitative, for the brand.
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This campaign saw supermodel Gisele pummelling a punchbag while real comments from social media were displayed in the background. Online, viewers could see the comments appear in real time. The Cyber jury said the category this year was about how technology has empowered a strong human narrative, and helped to spread an idea that has an influence on behaviour.
(video provider='youtube' id='CfWzeGlaFvI' size='xlarge' align='center') The best way to survive a crash is not to crash at all, which is the idea behind LifePaint: a reflective safety spray paint that is invisible by day but shines brightly in the glare of headlights and can be easily applied by cyclists before they go on the road.
(video provider='youtube' id='ntMit7V27LI' size='xlarge' align='center') Volvo didn't pay for an expensive TV commercial during the Super Bowl this year, instead it asked its fans to become part of 'The Greatest Interception Ever.' Every time viewers saw an ad for a rival automaker, Volvo asked them to tweet #VolvoContest plus the name of a loved-one for the chance to win a car. Not only did Volvo manage to distract attention away from competitors' ads, but it claims to have seen a near 70% sales lift as a result of the campaign.
(video provider='youtube' id='pvcj9xptNOQ' size='xlarge' align='center') This clever pre-roll video ad series saw Geico run a selection of spots so absurd and surreal that viewers wouldn't want to skip after the first five seconds. 'You can't skip this Geico ad because it's already over,' said a voiceover as the action in the ad essentially stopped dead (sort-of) once five seconds had hit If viewers did continue watching, they were rewarded with a funny ending. Judges said the ad 'breaks every single rule of filmmaking.'
(video provider='youtube' id='iccscUFY860' size='xlarge' align='center') This incredibly cute festive ad won the hearts of the UK at Christmas this year, who flocked to stores to buy Monty the Penguin merchandise in their droves (as well as other, un-related penguin products.)
This campaign, for P&G's sanitary protection brand Whisper, aimed to break the taboo in India around menstruation. One insight that fed into the campaign was that women are even discouraged from doing simple things such as touching the pickle jar in the kitchen whilst they are on their period because there is a worry that the pickle would immediately rot. Not only did 2.9 million women pledge to 'touch the pickle jar,' but the work resulted in sparking a huge conversation in India around the issue.
(video provider='youtube' id='GXdV22IxljY' size='xlarge' align='center') In Turkey, one in three women is a victim of domestic violence. Vodafone aimed to help and empower women with the launch of a discrete application that allowed women to simply shake their phone to inform friends, family members, and the authorities they were in distress. One of the cleverest parts of the work was the way it was kept hidden from abusers, by only being promoted through targeted content such as beauty tutorials, lingerie garment labels, or waxing strips. The ad agency behind teh campaign said it was downloaded almost 7,000 times, and activated some 3,591 times.
(video provider='youtube' id='SxAj2lyX4oU' size='xlarge' align='center') Google Cardboard allows low-cost access to virtual reality. Simply attaching a $US14.99 piece of cardboard to a smartphone (or building it yourself,) and then downloading the Google Cardboard app allows for a really immersive experience -- a hike through Paris, or a tour of historical artifacts -- and shows that good VR doesn't have to be expensive.
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The success of this campaign probably wasn't just down to PR, but the sum of a number of marketing efforts across different agencies. It started off its life as a video, which asked adults to perform various tasks -- throwing, fighting, running -- 'like a girl.' The results were fairly pathetic and showed the negative associations people have with just being a girl. Later, young girls are asked to perform the same tasks, but do so with confidence and determination. The video -- which was also repurposed to become Always' Super Bowl TV ad -- has been viewed more then 58 million times on YouTube.
These pretty illustrated ads for the Buenos Aires public biking system aimed to show a never-ending chase -- a moth to light, baby to a teat, a squirrel chasing an acorn, and a dog and its tail. Why? Buenos Aires wanted to promote the fact that its cycle service was to be open 24/7 for the first time.
(video provider='youtube' id='fMnZpkOC_m0' size='xlarge' align='center') This award was steeped in controversy this year after Geometry Global, the agency that initially picked up the gong, was forced to hand over the award to its client after it was accused of taking credit for an idea that already existed, which had originally been developed by Singapore ad agency Arcade. The project aimed to tackle iron deficiency in Cambodia by encouraging people to cook with a block of iron in their saucepans. The shape of a fish was chosen because it is a symbol of good luck in Cambodia.
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To mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, SoundCloud and its agency Grey launched an ad that acted as an acoustic reconstruction of the wall. The campaign was also nicknamed 'The most unbearable radio ad.'
(video provider='youtube' id='RPdnpO983JY' size='xlarge' align='center') The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge showcase the huge power of social media. Last summer, Facebook feeds were flooded with videos of friends pouring buckets of ice water over their heads in a bid to raise awareness and funds for the fight against ALS. Swathes of celebrities including Victoria Beckham, Kermit the Frog, Mark Zuckerberg, George W. Bush, and Tiger Woods also took part, helping raise $US100 million for the ALS Association.
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Back in May, Domino's introduced a new 'tweet to order' system allowing customers to place direct orders for pizza via Twitter. The idea was to make it even more convenient to make an order, and to capture a wider share of a tech-savvy but time-short younger consumers.
(video provider='youtube' id='X03_bNuihLU' size='xlarge' align='center') This campaign served as an emotional tribute to Yankees base baller Derek Jeter's retirement from the game. The video, which saw several well-known Jeter fans (Spike Lee, Jay Z, and Tiger Woods, among others) honouring Jeter by doffing their caps to him and chanting his name, went viral and has been watched more than 9 million times on YouTube.
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