Volvo Trucks' "Live Test Series" campaign by Forsman & Bodenfors was named the Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix winner at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity today.
WHAT IT IS: A multipart video series intended to "show how various technical features in our trucks are tested in a spectacular and entertaining way," per the Live Tests section on Volvo Trucks' YouTube channel. The final video in the series famously features Jean-Claude Van Damme executing "the most epic of splits" (in his words, via voiceover) while riding two Volvo Trucks driving smoothly in reverse. "Epic Split" has become shorthand for the entire campaign, which took home Grand Prix in Cyber and Film last year.
WHY IT WON (THIS YEAR): Creative Effectiveness Lions honor work "that has produced a measurable and proven impact on a client's business -- creativity that affects consumer behaviour, brand equity, sales, and where identifiable, profit," according to the official category description. Previously shortlisted or awarded campaigns from the past three years were eligible.
"Fundamentally, we believe in the power of art and commerce," said Wendy Clark at a Cannes Lions press conference. Ms. Clark, president of sparkling brands & strategic marketing at Coca-Cola North America, served as the Creative Effectiveness jury president. "We wanted to find work that could celebrate art and commerce effectively. What we saw in this work is an otherwise functional story told artfully." The jury, she added, also saw "huge results -- quantitative and qualitative results for this brand. And those on a sustained basis."
IN THE JURY ROOM: "We had three client-side marketers on the jury along with some of the best strategists and agency leaders in the world," said Ms. Clark. "There was no one in the room who wished they didn't do that work. We were all jealous of that work and we were all jealous of the results."
THE COMPETITION: "The Bear and the Hare" by Adam & Eve/DDB for U.K. department store chain John Lewis and "This Is Wholesome" by Droga5 for Mondelez brand Honey Maid were awarded Gold Lions. In a response to a question posed by Ad Age about whether "Live Test Series" gained an edge over the two Gold Lion winners because of its global social impact, Ms. Clark said, "I would say it was definitely a factor.... The other two were more country-based, and that was a factor. But the overriding factor, the decision, was really that the quality of both the creativity and the effectiveness were the highest intersection we could find of the two."
LIONS AWARDED: The Creative Effectiveness category drew 160 entries; the jury brought that number down to 80 in the pre-judging phase, then shortlisted 27 campaigns. In the end, in addition to the Grand Prix and two Gold Lions mentioned above, four Silver Lions and 10 Bronze Lions were awarded.