"It was such a brave idea." That's how Bartle Bogle Hegarty founder John Hegarty described the #OptOutside campaign from outdoor retailer REI, which won the Grand Prix in the Titanium category at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival on Saturday. "You should not be able to see where the advertising stops and the brand starts." The Venables Bell & Partners campaign, a favorite at the festival that already won the promo and activation Grand Prix, also snagged a Gold Lion in the Integrated category Saturday.
The Integrated Grand Prix, though, went to the campaign for Netflix's "House of Cards," which was created by Mr. Hegarty's own BBH, so he recused himself from talking about the effort at the press conference, turning over the mic to his fellow judges.
WHAT THEY ARE: REI last year took the shocking step of closing its stores on Black Friday, all but a holiday for shopping in the United States, and encouraged people to go outside instead of chase deals. REI paid employees, moreover, to take the day off and go outdoors. According to the case study, social media impressions rose 7,000%, hundreds of national parks opened for free, and 1.4 million people opted to stay outside rather than go shopping on retail's biggest day.
The "House of Cards" campaign cleverly played off the current American election but instead ran the show's fictional frontman, Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood, for president. The effort made great use of the country's division over and fascination with candidate Donald Trump by, according to the case study, "hijacking the debate." The shop ran a commercial floating Underwood the candidate during one of the most-watched presidential debates and let the hasthtag and tagline "FU 2016" fly. The case study said the result was 6.6 billion impressions to date.