Cannes Lions

Cannes Design Grand Prix Winners Blur the Analog-Digital Divide

Panasonic's Unusual Battery Campaign and Google's Interactive Fabric Take Top Honors

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The Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners in Design and Product Design reflected a blurring of lines between the digital and the analog worlds.

In Design, the jury awarded the top prize to Panasonic's "Life Is Electric" campaign, created out of Dentsu Inc. Tokyo. Entered into the category of "Brand Collateral," the series of films asked, "Is it possible to 'see' electricity?" They then went on to whimsically illustrate the amount of energy contained in a single Panasonic battery -- by showing how much power it would bring to a hamster, kids in a playground, cheerleaders' pom poms, a bartender making a cocktail and more.

"This for all of us is very special because it managed, through the power of design, to change the perception of a product that has become a commodity by bringing storytelling to every space where the brand is in contact with the consumer," said Jury President Tristan Macherel, executive creative director at Landor France. "It managed to combine both cleverness and beautiful craft, what we believe design should do today."

The campaign moved the jury to look at their own moves in a new light. "We all started to think, 'How much electricity do I make when I do this?' We all fell in love with it. We chose it with our hearts, and our minds."

In Product Design, the jury bestowed the Grand Prix to Jacquard Wearable Fabric, created by Google's Advanced Technology and Product Group (ATAP) and entered for "Innovation." Jacquard is cloth woven with conductive yarn or thread --- so conceivably, it can transform the most mundane and analog things like the sleeve of shirt, sheets and curtains -- into digitally enabled touchscreen-like surfaces.

According to Product Design Jury President Amina Horozic, lead industrial designer at Fuseproject, Google's Jacquard "made us dream as product designers. We saw it as a solution to many of the problems we see today. We can use this to create products and entries for almost every category. We can interpret it in so many ways, and I feel like it can empower us to make a better, safer world."

Clear Winners

According to Mr. Macherel, his jury had discussed a few other projects for the Grand Prix , but "it was a quick process" deciding the winner. "It stood out from the beginning."

Ms. Horozic noted that in her jury's case, one other project in contention checked off all the boxes of being a 360-degree idea. However, "we felt that would send a message of preserving the status quo," she said. "We wanted to push a bit more. We selected something that wasn't typical product design, but it enables product designers to dream."

Looking Toward the Future

Mr. Macherel noted that the Design Grand Prix created a "bridge between digital tools and the analog world. I think our whole industry in the next few years is going to have a challenge of going to new technologies, but not forgetting the traditional way we do design."

The Jury

Mr. Macherel oversaw a 21-person jury from 19 countries while Ms. Horozic led a nine-person jury from eight countries.

In addtion to the Grand Prix, the Design jury also awarded 18 Gold Lions, while the Product Design jury awarded ten Product Design Lions.

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