Had Cannes Lions happened, these entries would have won
Every year, Ad Age surveys creative leaders around the world on who they believe will be the big winners at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
It will take some time to find out if this year’s predictions come true. While the festival will celebrate creativity with programming on its Lions Live platform this week, the awards have been put on hold until next year. Executives listed here predict the ideas that would have ruled on stage.
Sigal Abudy, VP-creative director, McCann Tel Aviv
Madonna Badger, co-founder, Badger & Winters
Ana Balarin, Co-ECD, Mother London
Seth Gaffney, partner and chief strategy officer, Preacher
Ben Golik, Chief Creative Officer, M&C Saatchi
Lauren Haberfield, Senior Art Director BETC
Andres Ordonéz, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Chicago
Paul Shearer, chief creative officer, Impact BBDO Dubai
Krystle Watler, managing director, Virtue Worldwide
TBWA Media Arts Lab
Apple's exquisite film shows a man who seems to spring from sidewalks and bounce off walls, illustrating the freedom afforded by wearing cord-free Air Pods.
Paul Shearer: I am a bit of a film craft fan and the film Bounce for Apple is a cracker. When I saw it made me feel jealous beyond belief. Every inch of the production is near-perfect.
Andres Ordonéz: I love when advertising becomes a piece of art. It has everything to win in different categories. One of those pieces that makes you jealous at many levels.
Argos: Book of Dreams
A father's Christmas dreams for his daughter come alive in this fanciful holiday spot for the U.K. retailer, featuring a classic track from Simple Minds.
Seth Gaffney: With my sense of time completely warped, my mind goes to three very different, moving films released over the holidays last year that feel deserving of recognition. Argos, for a joyful story beautifully told. Also, Ikea’s “Silence the Critics,” for its sharp insight and execution, and NAMI, for piercing writing and performance [see below].
Ikea: Silence the Critics
In another holiday spot, rapping tchotchkes shame their owners into doing something about the decor.
NAMI: Naughty Or
Wieden + Kennedy New York
Santa has a shocking realization over his "Naughty or Nice" list in this spot addressing kids' mental health.
Sustainable toiletries company BECO placed pictures and contact information for its employees along with the hashtag #StealOurStaff on packaging. The majority of the company's employees are individuals with disabilities, so it’s a push to encourage others to be more diverse in their hiring practices.
Ana Balarin: The premise is extremely clever and the execution painfully simple. I hope it would have won big, as it has a very honest but non-patronizing tone, which is so refreshing in campaigns that address underrepresentation.
Burger King: Moldy Whopper
INGO, David, Publicis
To promote that the Whopper was going preservative-free, Burger King created this film to show what happens if you leave it out for a month.
Lauren Haberfield: We all love an "anti-advertising" campaign, especially one that leaves us asking, "How on earth did they get that approved?" Turning its No. 1 asset into something disgusting is a bold move that deserves to be applauded.
Krystle Watler: There's a reason why Fernando Machado is one of the most decorated CMOs of all time in our industry: He's clear on BK's positioning and is not afraid to take consistent, calculated risks to break through and fight above his weight class of ad spend. This campaign was risky—and it was executed well and simply, and ultimately delivered on its goal to drive top-of-mind awareness of Burger King no longer using artificial preservatives.
Gillette: The First Shave
A father teaches his transgender son how to shave in this touching film from the men's personal care brand.
Haberfield: What makes this so remarkable is how bad this idea could have been. It could have been an opportunistic, overly emotive-for-no-reason film that takes advantage of the hype surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. Instead they have told a truly human story that resonates with all who watch it and, by doing so, promote a powerful message of inclusivity and acceptance.
HBO: It’s OK
Wieden+Kennedy New York
HBO took a serious look at mental health through the lens of its own characters in this integrated campaign. It included a series hosted by a clinical psychologists and bumpers before its own shows acknowledging their characters' mental health issues and asserting "It's OK."
Madonna Badger: Shines light on mental health through the complex characters we all love and care deeply about. Made depression so understandable.
Louis Vuitton: Hand Sanitizer
During the pandemic, the high-end retailer was one of the first companies to retool its production line to address the shortage of hand sanitizer around the world.
Sigal Abudy: I think it would be wrong to talk about Cannes Lions 2020 without mentioning the coronavirus pandemic, and the kind of work this pandemic has inspired. Most of the big brands created emotional content, saying things like “We’re here for you" and "We care about you.” But there were some brands that led the way, took it to the next level and created real products. This luxury brand was actually among the first to tackle the nationwide shortage of sanitizing products in France.
The New York Times got cinematic in its marketing with this Oscars spot promoting "The1619 Project" starring actor and musician Janelle Monae.
Badger: Brilliant and Beautiful. This spot took my breath away the first time I saw/heard it.
Nike: Don’t Do It
Nike put a big twist in its long-running tagline, "Just Do It," in an ad responding to recent acts of police brutality against Black Americans, including the death of George Floyd.
Ben Golik: This year will rightly be remembered for the world change that will be accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the global response to the killing of George Floyd. Amid all this, great work is being made in very little time, that responds to our times. Nike’s “Don’t Do It” showed the power of the right words, delivered simply. A special mention to adidas for retweeting it. Be it between brands or people, laying long-standing rivalries to rest may be the best thing to come out of this year.
P&G: The Look
In its continuing efforts shining a light on the Black experience in the U.S., P&G and Saturday Morning created this gripping film showing a day in the life of a Black man, including the unconscious bias he faces throughout.
Badger: Great way to change the conversation and what/how we think is normal. Especially now.
Watler: P&G launched this last June at Cannes' Inkwell Beach. Who knew nearly a year later this effort would be as relevant and purposeful as ever. Marc Pritchard is officially the poster child for the phrase, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." He helped P&G take a stand against racial bias and for equality and inclusion. The film, the accompanying website and ancillary campaign tactics inclusive of PR were executed impeccably. I probably won't be alive when ads like "The Look" are no longer necessary but, until then, I applaud brands like P&G and Marc for adding to our American culture in an unexpected, meaningful way.
Sandy Hook Promise: Back-To-School Essentials
BBDO New York
What begins as a back-to-school ad takes a dark turn in order to promote Sandy Hook Promise's gun violence awareness message.
Haberfield: This campaign reminds us just how powerful “traditional” advertising can be. Hacking a well-established marketing moment and turning it into a unexpected message is very effective when it’s executed as well as this.
Spotify: Listen Like You Used To
This nostalgic outdoor campaign juxtaposed old-school hits with listeners’ modern-day habits.
Balarin: Striking design, creative use of data and insightful copywriting, all packaged up in a minimalist execution. No wonder it hit a chord with music lovers all around.
Tinder: Swipe Night
This content series that lived on the dating platform was a choose-your-own-adventure-style saga that also matched users up based on the decisions they made when faced with an apocalypse.
Ordoñez: It's an idea that lives in the intersection between innovation and storytelling.