Cannes Lions

Nike takes the first Grand Prix in Cannes' new Social & Influencer category

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Nike's "Nothing Beats a Londoner," was the first Grand Prix recipient in the new Social & Influencer Lions category at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Thursday night.

"When we come down to it, this category represents a shift in advertising," says Jury President Mark D'Arcy, VP and chief creative officer at Facebook.

The addition of the category is a nod to how social media has influenced creativity.

The jury looked at brands that were taking action, not just talking about something they wanted to do, D'Arcy said. Ultimately, he said, it is about people and connection.

The judging came down to a few pieces of work that were extraordinary, D'Arcy said, some of which were integrated with TV and tied to the Super Bowl.

But it was Nike's "Nothing Like a Londoner" that took home the top prize. Timed to the Winter Olympics, Nike puts a spotlight on London athletes, making them shine against the gritty and unwieldy backdrop of their hometown. The ad by Wieden & Kennedy London features athletes of all kinds—school kids, amateurs and pros—who gripe about how tough it is to perform and train, but they do it anyway. Each is one-upped by the next, boasting about their more trying circumstances as the scenes get progressively insane—one guy spews streams of tears from his eyes, while a dude with spaghetti arms morphs into a gargantuan, muscled beast.

And on social, the diverse cast, consisting largely of Londoners, features sports stars and celebrities including Mo Fara, Dina Asher-Smith, Skepta, Harry Kane and Gareth Southgate, posted their individual screens on Instagram and linking to that of the next "competitor."

"This is how culture gets shaped and it is pretty incredible," D'Arcy said of the campaign.

Nike removed the ad from YouTube, Campaign reported in March, amid a trademark challenge over the "LDNR" term it shows on some merch. Mindshare is the media agency.

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