"The Next Rembrandt," an ING campaign that used data to create an entirely new painting in the style of the old master, and "Justino," a touching multi-platform story promoting the Spanish Lottery, earned the Cyber Lions Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
What They Are
ING tapped JWT Amsterdam to "resurrect" Rembrandt Van Rijn through data and technology. With the help of Microsoft software and input from the Delft University of Technology, the project analyzed all 346 of Rembrandt's paintings to determine the subject of a new "work" from the artist. Further data analysis was then used to establish the shapes of the subject's features and determine its proportions and finally, a 3D-printer crafted the painting in layers, mimicking Rembrandt's own textures.
"Justino," created out of Leo Burnett Madrid, promotes Anuncio Loteria de Navidad, Spain's famous annual Christmas lottery whose big payout is known as "El Gordo." The centerpiece of the campaign is the Pixar-like tale of an elderly night watchman at a mannequin factory who never gets to meet his co-workers, who all clock out before his shift begins. But he tries to connect with them by placing mannequins in whimsical poses to greet them each day. Come Christmastime, he leaves them with an extra special holiday "gift," yet feels a bit heartbroken when he sees news that his company had formed a lottery pool and had ultimately won the big prize. But it turns out his colleagues have a surprise for him too.
Why They Won
In the case of "Justino," Jury President Chloe Gottlieb, Co-ECD of R/GA U.S., said, "The reason we loved this was it was born out of digital. It was not a TV spot put on YouTube. It was created for the digital space and every piece of the story was perfectly crafted for its channel. 'Justino' was a beautiful film at the level of Pixar, and then when you went to the Instagram feed or Facebook channel, it was all different and interesting and perfect for the appropriate platform. We love this idea that storytelling is not just happening in the same way, that people have such literacy now, such an ability to play with the materials and tools, that the story becomes dimensionalized and even more beautiful when we experience it. It's work that has no dead end."
Ms. Gottlieb praised "The Next Rembrandt," for how its creative emerged from the data.
"The data is not an output from the creativity. The data was the beginning, the source for the creativity. It's something coming from the digital world creating for the physical world, so in a sense, it's the opposite trajectory from the work we were seeing in Cyber just a few years ago." Although the idea might seem unusual for a bank brand, Ms. Gottlieb explained that ING has a history of innovation as a key brand pillar, and invests heavily in the arts and innovation.
Together, the campaigns tell "a very interesting story because one is very much a story as we know it, but one is an invention born out of technology, but also a piece of art," she said.
Ms. Gottlieb revealed that the day of voting on the Grand Prix was "very dramatic" and saw the jury debating between two virtual reality campaigns: Lockheed Martin's "Bus to Mars" out of McCann New York and The Dali Museum's "Dreams of Dali" from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. The Lockheed project used a sort of "surround" virtual reality system to put a school bus full of children on a road trip through Mars, the views changing appropriately with every turn, while the Dali project dropped viewers into the surreal world of the artist's paintings.
With the former, "we were excited by how virtual reality could be experienced collectively," while with the latter, "we were excited by how this could scale, and how you could enter the paintings magically," Ms. Gottlieb said.
The jury, which comprised 19 jurors from 17 countries, had come to a deadlock on which piece of work should win. "We were totally divided," Ms. Gottlieb said. But ultimately, "We voted to not give either VR project a Grand Prix." Ultimately, the projects earned Gold."
Ms. Gottlieb explained that in deciding the Grand Prix, "our number one criteria was 'Was it a game-changer'? Cyber is changing so fast you could easily pick something and then two weeks later it feels old. If we didn't think in two, three or five years it would feel iconic, we didn't pick it."
Entries to the Cyber category appeared to be down dramatically, with 2886 submissions versus last year's 3738. But Cannes Lions CEO Phil Thomas had a simple technical explanation--all digital craft and mobile entries this year went into their own categories. "If you put those back in, Cyber would have grown," he said.
Perhaps the biggest development the jury observed is that "the work is coming from the bottom up," said Ms. Gottlieb. "We saw amazing hacks of platforms that could only be created by people who understand them so well that they could invent in them."
She noted projects such as Wieden & Kennedy's Gold-Lion awarded campaign for Verizon, for which the agency created a real working phone in Minecraft through which gamers could actually make calls and order real-life pizza.
Overall, from all of this year's entries, "what we discovered was the quality of the work was of such a level that its digital nature disappears," she said. "The best Cyber is when you don't even see the technology. It becomes invisible, a seamless experience. It's like magic."