It’s a parlor game as old as the Cannes International Festival of Creativity itself—guessing which campaigns will nab the gold at the industry’s highest-profile and most important creative showcase.
So we decided to ... just do it.
Ad Age surveyed top creatives for their predictions on which of the winningest campaigns will snag Lions in this year’s contest. This year, our “jury” has singled out a number of front-runners at Cannes, but many of the choices have a similar theme: As Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, chief creative officer of FCB Canada, says, the betting is on “brands that are willing to be brave, to create controversy and to take a stand.” And no one took a bigger stand than Nike and Wieden & Kennedy with “Dream Crazy,” which tops the list of this year’s picks. Below is a lightly edited transcript of what our Cassandras had to say about the ad and their other front-runners.
Crimi-Lamanna: It’s undeniable that Nike’s “Dream Crazy” will win big this year, even capturing an elusive Grand Prix. I’m going to go as far as to predict that they’ll win it in the Social & Influencer category, as well as being a serious contender for a Titanium Lion.
Walid Kanaan, chief creative officer, TBWA/RAAD: It may not be the best piece of art in the history of our industry, but it surely is one of the most audacious marketing stunts and will definitely leave a mark in the history book of advertising. It’s a benchmark for generations to come.
Chacho Puebla, chief creative officer, Lola MullenLowe Madrid: If we don’t give the “Just Do It” Kaepernick campaign the Grand Prix, something is wrong with our idea of what advertising should be. It’s so powerful that don’t we even ask ourselves ‘What should we be awarding? The tweet? The outdoor? The TV spot?’ I award the thinking—the courage and the vision that having a point of view can generate sales.
Eka Ruola, CEO and executive creative director, Hasan & Partners Group: Nike knew there would be a backlash—the USA been so divided—but they knew their customers and chose their side. The fact that “Dream Crazy” led to a spike in sales, an uptick in its share price and greater global brand recognition, all around the 30th anniversary of “Just Do It,” means it will be remembered as the campaign of this decade. The bar has been raised again.
Chaka Sobhani, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett London: Big, epic, ballsy storytelling that showed the brand taking a massive risk which paid off both creatively and commercially.
Vivian Yong, executive creative director, Wieden & Kennedy Shanghai: While this ad is part of the Wieden & Kennedy network and saying it here feels a little proud and showy, I would love to see [the Grand Prix] awarded to the Nike “Dream Crazy” campaign. It was the most disruptive commercial campaign of the year. Nike has always been about giving a voice to athletes, and this campaign showed just how powerful that can be.