The Russia-Ukraine war took center stage at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes yesterday with the appearance of both Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian chess champ and exile Garry Kasparov imploring the industry to keep Ukraine in focus. The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity did just that on its second night, when it awarded Digital Craft Grand Prix to “Backup Ukraine,” a digital campaign from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Blue Shield Denmark, designed to help preserve the country’s cultural artifacts in the midst of war.
Cannes Lions Digital Craft Grand Prix goes to a tool to protect Ukraine culture
Digital Craft Grand Prix Winner
UNESCO/Blue Shield Denmark: Backup Ukraine
Agency: Virtue Worldwide
What it is
The digital and mobile campaign, created out of Virtue Worldwide, is essentially a tool that allows those in Ukraine to digitally capture in high-resolution 3D imagery, monuments and artifacts, large and small, that are under threat of destruction in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine War.
Virtue Worldwide is the creative agency of Vice Media, which yesterday also nabbed the top prize in Radio and Audio for its “Unfiltered History Tour” campaign, out of Dentsu Creative Bagalaru. That campaign also earned a Gold Lion in Digital Craft.
Why it won
According to Digital Craft Jury President Luciana Haguiara, executive creative director at Media.Monks Brazil, “We chose this piece because it’s a message we can send to the industry that we have all the tools to act really fast and solve problems for real. This was amazing because they did it in almost real time, they are using a tech few production companies have and are putting it in the hands of people to scan in 3D any place and any monument.” The idea preserves culture, “the identity of a people, and it can be destroyed—that’s why we loved this piece so much.”
Controversy or clear winner?
There was one other contender for the top prize: Gold Lion-winner “McEnroe vs. McEnroe.” The branded content campaign from Michelob Ultra and FCB New York employed various sophisticated technologies to pit tennis legend John McEnroe against multiple younger versions of himself from key moments throughout his career. The event was broadcast on various ESPN channels.
“This was an awesome entertainment piece that had a combination of five different technologies,” said Haguiara. “It’s an amazing, super Gold, but at the end [with the Grand Prix], we want to send a message to the world that we can change things.”
Haguiara noted that going into the deliberations, the jury’s goal “was to look for amazing, practical work that can improve people’s lives in the real world.”
Multiple trends emerged in the submissions, including projects that redefined what entertainment can be, such as Michelob Ultra. Diversity and inclusion was a strong theme as well, and the final Gold Lion in Digital Craft went to Google’s “Black-Owned Friday” campaign from BBH USA that allowed consumers to shop from Black businesses via a music video starring T-Pain and Normani.