Carrefour's 'Black Supermarket' wins Brand Experience & Activation Grand Prix at Cannes

Marcel effort resulted in the EU changing its regulations on organic agriculture

Published On
Jun 21, 2019

Editor's Pick

The Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Creative Effectiveness has been awarded to French supermarket Carrefour for its “Black Supermarket” project, which forced the European Union into legislative change on biodiversity.

The project, by Publicis-owned agency Marcel, involved setting up “black market” sections of Carrefour supermarkets that offered species of fruit and vegetables grown from farmers’ seeds that were not legally allowed to be sold because of EU Law.

The campaign, which also included print, posters and TV, highlighted the absurdity of the EU’s Official Catalogue of Authorized Species, which held that that 97 percent of seed varieties, including those grown by two million farmers, were actually illegal.

Carrefour signed a five-year commitment with farmers as part of the campaign, and a result the EU ratified new regulations on organic agriculture in May of this year, reauthorizing the sale of farmers’ seeds.

The campaign beat high-profile work such as Saatchi & Saatchi’s “It’s a Tide Ad” campaign for Procter & Gamble, which won a Gold Lion. But jury president John Seifert, Worldwide Chief Executive at Ogilvy, Global said awarding the Carrefour campaign the Grand Prix was a “no brainer.”

"This case stood up with every single juror and at every phase of the judging it just continued to stand out. It’s one of the most-compelling cases we read, and our verdict could not be more unanimous.”

The fact that Carrefour’s campaign effected legislative change was a significant factor, said juror Suzanne Powers, global chief strategy officer of McCann Worldgroup. “This was a case with a five-year impact.”

This year the jury only awarded 12 Lions for Creative Effectiveness, fewer than in previous years, said Seifert. “We did question whether were we being too tough, but the category justified the bar being set really high.”

Of overall trends, he said, judging showed that “ideas that break through and build true engagement are the holy grail these days. Purpose and point-of-view are now almost table stakes, and a deep cultural connection to the brand the audience and their lives is a standard by which all brands must operate.”





Jun 21, 2019

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