A campaign from Lebanon’s AnNahar newspaper has won the Print & Publishing Grand Prix at Cannes Lions. The "Election Edition" by Impact BBDO from Dubai was a non-existent newspaper, something that Jury President Natalie Lam, chief creative officer at Publicis Groupe APAC and EMEA, described as "quite meta" for the Print & Publishing category.
The newspaper highlighted the Lebanese government’s refusal to hold elections. One of the government’s excuses was a shortage of ink and paper for ballots, so for the first time in its 88-year history, AnNahar for one day stopped its print edition and donated its ink and paper to polling stations. It put up empty news racks to highlight the action, and the non-existent newspaper went viral.
Why it won
According to Lam, the jury felt that “this was the one piece of work that really stood out and cut through the clutter. The fact that a publication decides not to publish anything made a really strong statement.”
“Besides the power of the idea, we also keep on thinking 'How do we make this category exciting for the newer generation?'” she added. “We can reward great ideas but then we can reward something that shows an innovative out-of-the-box solution for old-school media.”
Controversy or clear winner?
In terms of debate, Lam said, it was a tight race between Dove's "Reverse Selfies" by Ogilvy London and Election Edition. “Dove has set such a high bar in its mission that it’s very different to outdo itself year after year. Comparing the two was a bit tough as we’re comparing apples and oranges. While one is being very consistent with a brand mission, and it’s a very strong piece of work, the other is completely unexpected and really shed a new light of how to be innovative with one of the oldest media in our industry.”
Pepsi and Alma DDB’s “Better With Pepsi” was a strong contender in both the Print and Outdoor categories, picking up three Gold Lions in Print and Publishing and three in Outdoor. The daring campaign challenged the dominance of Coca-Cola at major burger chains with work that showed various fast feeders’ wrappers strategically crumpled—with the help of an origami artist—to form the Pepsi logo.
Lam described the work as “cheeky, fun and well done.” But in terms of what won, she said the jury had “a lot of debate" on what makes a Grand Prix winner. “We asked, 'Did it hit you in the gut?' and with Pepsi it was not quite hitting you in the gut in the same way as our Grand Prix winner.”
Other contenders included Ikea's "Trash Collection" campaign, Heinz's "Draw Ketchup" and Burger King's "Confused" campaign featuring photography of plants looking like meat.
Overall, Lam said the winning work shows that "if you have a great thought it doesn’t matter if the medium has been there for thousands of years."
"Print a lot of times is being reduced to 'key visual' in campaigns," she observed. "But it can communicate everything when it’s used the right way. You do not need TikTok dances and a whole metaverse build to get the message across."