Last week, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity returned to the South of France, and the industry gathered once again to celebrate the biggest ideas of the year. See quick snapshots on all of the Grand Prix winners below and click on each category for deeper dives into why they took the big prizes.
See all the 2022 Cannes Lions Grand Prix Winners
Dell and Intel: I Will Always Be Me
Agency: VMLY&R New York
The centerpiece of this campaign for Dell Technologies and Intel is a book that helps those with motor neuron disease to bank their voices, so when they later must rely on digital voice tech to communicate, they will be able to do so in their own voices.
Maxx Flash: The Killer Pack
Agency: VMLY&R Mumbai
A mosquito killer earned the Health and Wellness Grand Prix. A product innovation from VMLY&R Mumbai, it’s a non-toxic coil designed to ward off mosquitoes from the home, but when it’s tossed into dumps and standing water, it kills mosquito larvae and keeps the pests from breeding. The ultimate goal is to reduce the 400 million annual cases of dengue in India.
Hip-Hop Public Health: Lil’ Sugar Master of Disguise
Agency: Area 23, an IPG Health Company
This campaign aimed to teach kids and parents about the sneaky ways sugar shows up in everyday foods. Hip-hop and rap stars including Chuck D of Public Enemy, Doug E. Fresh and Daryl McDAniels of Run-DMC helped to create music videos for the campaign, and an app gamified education on the harmful ingredients. Ultimately the goal was to help reduce diabetes in the Black community.
Vice Media: Unfiltered History
Agency: Dentsu Webchutney/Dentsu Creative India
Vice World News and Dentsu Webchutney were behind this guerilla tour of the British Museum, which brings to light all of the disputed artifacts in its collection. Virtual visitors use Instagram Augmented Reality filters to reveal the provenance of the pieces and the countries from which they were questionably “acquired.”
AnNahar: The Elections Edition
Agency: Impact BBDO Dubai
This “non-existent” newspaper earned the top Print and Publishing prize at the festival. Lebanese publication AnNahar stopped presses on putting out its daily paper for a day so that it could donate its paper and ink to polling stations—an idea meant to shine a light on the Lebanese government’s refusal to hold elections, one of its main excuses being a shortage of paper and ink for ballots.
Adidas: Liquid Billboard
Agency: Havas Middle East
Adidas invited women to swim in a billboard at one of Dubai's most popular beaches, in this outdoor stunt that promoted the brand's new inclusive swimwear collection for women. Live footage from inside the billboard was streamed on a digital screen at the Dubai Mall ice rink. Jury President Eugene Cheong, chief creative officer at DDB Asia called the work “a classic traffic stopper. A spectacle in the genre” that also brought excitement to the sportswear brand, which in recent years has been outpaced by brands such as Nike.
Residente: This Is Not America Ft. Ibeyi
Production Company: Doomsday Entertainment
This provocative music video from Puerto Rican artist Residente is a takedown of American imperialism, featuring controversial images of culture-washing and brutality against Indigenous people. The work was submitted by Sony Music Latin American and Doomsday Entertainment and directed by Gregory Ohrel. Entertainment Lions for Music Jury President and BBH U.S. CEO Amani Duncan noted the work captured the emotional extremes of today’s political climate.
Agency: R/GA London
This app and training guide from Nike and R/GA London helps women to optimize their training while on their menstrual cycle. It was devloped in collaboration with Dr. Stacy Sims, an expert on female athlete physiology. Jury President Marcel Marcondes, Anheuser-Busch InBev global CMO, noted that judges wanted the top winner to show “how brands can leverage sports to actually celebrate the human differences and the nuances that make everyone special—all of that with brand authenticity, true commercial impact and with a program that is designed for the long run, not just a stunt.”
Swedish Food Federation: Eat a Swede
Agency: McCann Stockholm
This shocking branded content campaign encouraged people to go cannibalistic and “Eat a Swede.” A faux-documentary depicts fictional scientist Dr. Erik Karlsson encouraging onlookers to sample lab-grown meat, including a sample from actor Alexander Skarsgård. It was all a clever way to encourage viewers to instead eat “like” a Swede and adopt the country’s eco-friendly production model in the face of other methods more harmful to the planet.
Sheba: Hope Reef
Agency: AMV BBDO
In 2021, Mars Petcare cat food brand Sheba announced it was backing the “world’s largest coral restoration program,” which aimed to restore more than 185,000 square meters of coral reefs around the world by 2029. The effort debuted with the unveiling of the “Hope Reef,” a body of coral off the coast of Indonesia spelling out the word “Hope,” viewable all the way from space through Google Earth. Digital Craft Jury President Nils Leonard, co-founder of Uncommon, noted the campaign showed how something as seemingly “small” as typography “can also be the most powerful,” while Media Jury President and Global CEO of IPG Mediabrands Daryl Lee said the campaign showed true “creativity in media” rather than media that merely “supported creative ideas.”
UNESCO/Blue Shield Denmark: Backup Ukraine
Agency: Virtue Worldwide
“Backup Ukraine” is a mobile tool that allows those in Ukraine to digitally capture in high-resolution 3D imagery the country’s monuments and artifacts that are under threat of destruction in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine War. The jury believed this idea helped send a message to the industry that “we have all the tools to act really fast and solve problems for real,” according to Jury President Luciana Haguiara, executive creative director at Media.Monks Brazil.
Penny: The Wish
The heartbreaking holiday film was created out of Serviceplan Munich and tells the story of a woman and her son discussing what he should get her for Christmas this year—but her wishes aren’t what you’d expect. Jury President Patrick Milling-Smith, co-founder of Smuggler, noted that “every single aspect of the filmmaking was so beautifully observed. There was such detail, it grabbed you and took you on an emotional journey. I defy anybody not to be moved by [it].”
Penguin Random House: Portuguese (Re)constitution
Agency: FCB Lisbon
This book celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the end of the fascist regime in Portugal by tapping nearly a dozen illustrators to take a blue pencil (a symbol of censorship) to the Portuguese constitution pre-independence. Their markings ultimately brought to the surface a new narrative of hope in the form of poetry and stunning illustrations. The work stood out for its powerful simplicity, noted Design Lions Jury President Lisa Smith, executive creative director at Jones Knowles Ritchie.
Michelob Ultra: Contract for Change
Agency: FCB New York
Michelob Ultra’s “Contract for Change” is an initiative designed to inspire U.S. farmers to go organic. The campaign had originally earned nine Lions during the 2020/2021 festival, including the Grand Prix in PR. It invited all U.S. farmers to go organic with the promise to support them financially in the three years necessary to make that transition. Once they have made the change, Michelob Ultra promised it would become the farmers’ first customer, purchasing crops to produce its organic light lager, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold. Jury President Raja Rajamannar noted that the campaign went above and beyond what the jury was looking for. “It’s much more than a campaign; it’s a platform,” he said. “It did good for the company’s results and brand. It did good for the community and the planet.”
Decathlon: The Breakaway
Agency: BBDO Belgium
This campaign from sporting goods brand Decathlon and BBDO Belgium brought together a group of incarcerated individuals as an e-cycling team. Each inmate was given equipment that allowed them to race thousands of riders from the outside world. A final race broadcast on Facebook saw the team competing against judges, prison guards, police officers and even members of the Belgian Department of Justice, leading to an expansion of the program with other inmates around the country.
Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago
Chicken wings joint Wingstop responded to the U.S. national shortage of chicken wings—and its customers’ desperation—by creating a new virtual brand called Thighstop, a purveyor of the more meatier parts of the chicken—thighs—available for delivery or carryout. The marketing included a video starring rapper Rick Ross, the chain’s famous franchisee. The jury praised the Grand Prix-winning idea for turning a business pain point into a huge brand opportunity.
Dole Pineapple teamed up with vegan leather startup brand Ananas Anam to help it scale production of Piñatex, a leather substitute made from fiber from pineapple leaves that otherwise would have gone to waste. The product is now being used in the products of more than 1,000 brands such as Nike and H&M. It also helped to bolster earnings for local pineapple farmers and led to $100 million in additional revenue for Dole outside of its own pineapple products.
Suncorp: One House to Save Many
Agency: Leo Burnett Australia
Australian insurance brand Suncorp and Leo Burnett Sydney were behind this effort centered on a weather-resilient home designed to withstand the devastation of climate change. The idea bested Google’s “Real Tone,” with Jury President Cleve Gibbon, chief technology officer at Wunderman Thompson USA, noting that the judges were looking to uphold ideas that needed amplification, "scaling to the public consciousness,” over ideas that brands should already have been doing in the first place.
Google: Real Tone
Agency (Campaign): Gut Miami, T Brand Studio, Wieden+Kennedy, Essence (Media)
Google developed “Real Tone” technology for its Pixel phone to accurately capture a more diverse range of skin tones. Company engineers worked with a number of Black photography and directing talents to develop the technology, which was promoted earlier this year in a Super Bowl spot from Gut, launch work from Wieden+Kennedy, and also in a native advertising campaign with The New York Times’ T Studio and Essence. Jury President Hugo Veiga, global chief creative officer at AKQA, noted that “practically everyone [in the jury] raised their arms for this idea.”
WeCapital: Data Tienda
Agency: DDB Mexico
Double Grand Prix went to this data-driven campaign that helped to bring financial backing to women in Mexico, 83% of whom are shut out from obtaining loans for their businesses because they lack credit history. The effort from DDB Mexico developed a way to give them a credit history via WhatsApp and the seals of approval from local shopkeepers they have patronized over the years.
Coinbase: QR Code Super Bowl ad
Agency: Accenture Song
Crypto exchange platform Coinbase’s lo-fi ad that stole the show at the Super Bowl, created out of Accenture Song, nabbed the Direct top prize. The idea, which stood out from all of the Big Game big productions, generated more than 20 million hits in a minute to the campaign landing page and also led to more than 445 million Coinbase signups.
Sherwin-Williams: Speaking in Color
Agency: Wunderman Thompson
The inaugural Creative B2B Grand Prix went to paint brand Sherwin-Williams, for an innovative A.I.-powered tool that allowed architects to create customized color palettes just by using their voice to describe a mood, memory or feeling or adjustments in tone, shades and more. The jury noted it’s an idea that would also translate well to consumer targets.
Channel 4: Super. Human.
U.K. broadcaster Channel 4’s “Super.Human” campaign promoting its coverage of the 2021 Paralympics depicted the multi-faceted struggles and joys of Paralympians’ road to athletic greatness. It showed athletes with all their flaws and everyday frustrations, correcting the idyllic yet distorted depiction of Paralympians—what some might describe as “inspiration porn”— of the brand’s previous Grand Prix-winning ads “We’re the Superhumans” and “Meet the Superhumans.” The film was created by Channel 4’s in-house agency 4Creative and directed by acclaimed cinematographer Bradford Young out of Serial Pictures and Somesuch.
Apple: Escape from the Office
Apple earned a Grand Prix for the third episode of its ongoing “Underdogs” campaign, “Escape from the Office,” which saw a scrappy crew of entrepreneurial office workers come up with an exciting new product, partake in the “Great Resignation” and break from the shackles of their tyrannical boss. All the while, various Apple tools are put on full display, captured in-camera without any visual effects trickery. The spot was created in-house at Apple and directed by Smuggler’s Mark Molloy.
Whisper: The Missing Chapter
Agency: Leo Burnett Mumbai
Procter & Gamble’s Whisper sanitary protection brand and Leo Burnett Mumbai were behind this stealth idea to bring education about menstruation to girls around the country. In India, 23 million girls drop out of school because of embarrassment over or lack of knowledge over having their period, so the campaign created a “lost chapter” from school textbooks dedicated to arming them with that knowledge. The chapter was promoted in different forms of advertising and ultimately, officially made its way into school curriculum.
This year’s top campaign created for a charity went to The Humane Society International’s deceptively cute film about a bunny named Ralph who introduces viewers to the horrors of animal testing. Director and writer Spencer Susser was behind the idea, with multiple big celebrity names voicing the characters, including Taika Waititi as Ralph the rabbit, Ricky Gervais and Olivia Munn.
EA Sports: Long Live the Prince
Agency: Engine Creative
This integrated campaign “resurrected” a promising young soccer hopeful as a star with his own playable video game character in EA Sports' popular FIFA game, sports sponsorships and more—all with the aim to prevent at-risk youth become entrenched in a cycle of violence. Jury President Rob Reily, global chief creative officer at WPP, called it “one of the most disruptive ideas I’ve ever seen.”
Contributing: Brian Bonilla, Parker Herren, Alexandra Jardine, Jack Neff, Garett Sloane