What is the ultimate creative media hack? According to the jury of the Cannes Lions Media Grand Prix, it’s creating media you can see from outer space. The jury awarded the Grand Prix to “Hope Reef," from Mars Petcare’s Sheba, creating the first piece of outdoor media visible from Google Earth. It’s the second win so far at Cannes Lions for the Sheba work by AMV BBDO, which picked up the Industry Craft Grand Prix earlier in the week.
Sheba's 'Hope Reef' wins second Cannes Lions award with Grand Prix for Media
What it is
Last year Mars Petcare cat food brand Sheba announced its backing of what it dubbed the “world’s largest coral restoration program,” which set out to restore more than 185,000 square meters of coral reefs around the world by 2029. It created 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. The campaign was created out of AMV BBDO.
Why it won
The jury was keen to award work that showed “creativity in media,” according to Jury President and Global CEO of IPG Mediabrands Daryl Lee, rather than only “media that supported creative ideas.”
Lee described Hope Reef as “living media with a powerful message, connected to technology that enhances the experience.” “To add Google Earth to a living billboard we thought was genius,” he said.
The campaign, he said, was an early favorite with the jury—almost so strong that it seemed too good to be true. It went back to interrogate the entry further. “We tried to find holes just because we could see it was so strong,” he said. “Other entries were more tech-forward but this was the best of all worlds.”
Controversy, or clear winner?
The category awarded a large amount of Gold Lions, nine in total, three of which went to non-profit campaigns. These are not eligible for the Grand Prix in media, however, and Lee noted that ChatPat, a campaign by FCB India for SOS Children’s Villages of India, would have been a contender had it not been pro bono. Virtue Worldwide’s “Backup Ukraine,” which has won a Digital Craft Grand Prix so far this week, was also awarded a Gold Lion.
Lee said the jury saw a lot of brands, as well as charities, submit purpose-related work. These included the Grand Prix, and campaigns like Bride Armour by AB InBev’s Carling Black Label and Ogilvy South Africa, which focused on gender violence. That won a Gold Lion but was also a strong contender, Lee said, although the jury were united in the final decision.
Other themes emerging from the jury room were the resurgence of audio, said Lee, as well as the "creativity of the media hack" in a world with a proliferation of media.
And he noted that one thing he saw was that “all the strong US entries all focused around gun violence" and were "less joyous" than entries from other markets. He said he hoped that “brands could help lead the way to more optimism” in next year’s entries.