Scroll to top


Cannes Lions 2016: the good, the bold and the inspiring

Cannes, June 28th, 2016

Cannes-CreativityEvery year in June, the world of media, communications and creativity, tune all its antennas towards the south of France to find out who will take home the prestigious Cannes Lions awards. This year, the eight-day event had 13,000 total attendees with a record number of creative entries: over 40,000 for 21 categories – which reportedly generated $22.7million in entry fees.

The 63rd Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, had a truly international flavour with entries from over 70 countries making the shortlists. And for those unable to walk the red carpet in person, there was a chance to experience the moment-to-moment excitement through a live-streamed via Youtube – a first in Cannes Lions history.

From a total of 3,458 entries in Promo & Activation, 107 Lions were awarded. The Grand Prix was claimed by “OptOutside” for outdoor retail company, REI, by Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco. Opt Outside was a campaign that REI, one of the largest retailers in the US started last year on Black Friday. Black Friday, which falls one day after Thanks Giving, has become one of the largest shopping days in the US and this tradition has spread around the world as a day for discounts and compulsive shopping sprees. REI stated that ‘Thanks Giving was a time to be with families and friend,’ and consequently gave employees a paid day off to spend it with their loved ones. The story spread in social media like wild fire, with an increase of 7,000% in mentions, and the news feature on all major broadcast channels. It received 2.7 billion media impressions in the first 24 hours. The refreshing example was followed by 170 organisations.

Cannes Jury President, Rob Reilly, Global Creative Chairman of McCann Worldgroup, called ‘OptOutside’ the bravest idea of the decade. “It’s about a brand living its authentic truth. A brand that places more value in its customers than short term profit and operates with conviction,” he said. “It didn’t impact culture, but exploded it.”

Print & Publishing received 3,777 entries and awarded 80 Lions. The Grand Prix went to “McWhopper” for Burger King, by Y&R NZ. Jury President, Joji Jacob, Group Executive Creative Director of DDB Group, said they chose the work because it had the ability to start the conversation and be the linchpin of a master campaign.

The Burger King campaign proposed to create a sandwich with elements from themselves and its arch-competitor, McDonalds, waving its white flag for peace day awareness. The big yellow M unfortunately didn’t like the proposal, but the idea of this campaign was embraced around the world with people creating their own ‘peace sandwiches mixing their favourite ingredients from different brands. The results: 8.9 billion media impressions, US$138 million earned media, 25% increase on Burger King purchase consideration and importantly, 40% increase on peace awareness.

From a total of 3,097 entries, 75 Direct Lions were awarded and “The Swedish Number” for the Swedish Tourist Association, by INGO Stockholm, claimed the Grand Prix. This idea transcended tourism, becoming a demonstration of the country’s 250-year commitment to freedom of speech. “It’s refreshing to see a campaign that unites 9.5 million global brand ambassadors through the most direct form of communication: a one-to-one phone call,” said Mark Tutssel, Direct Lions Jury President.

The awards for the Innovation, Mobile, Media, Creative Data and Cyber Lions honoured the convergence of technology, data and creativity, celebrating the future-focused ideas that drive business growth.

Founder and CEO of VICE, Shane Smith, received the Media Person of the Year award, which recognises a leading personality from the worldwide media industry. Smith transformed Vice into a global multimedia youth brand and recently launched cable TV channel Viceland, alongside Spike Jonze.

Finally, winners of the Glass: The Lion for Change, devised in partnership with Lean In.Org and launched last year, were also announced. The award recognises work that positively impacts ingrained gender inequality, imbalance or injustice, and this year the Grand Prix was claimed by “6 Pack Band” for Hindustan Unilever, from Mindshare, Mumbai. Jury President, Madeline di Nonno, described the work as global, inclusive and impactful. “Gender equality is not only a women’s issue. It includes all aspects of marginalisation, discrimination and unconscious bias faced by all genders.”

Entry fees from Glass will be distributed to causes aligned with the goals of the award, including: UN Women, No Ceilings, Men Engage, Gender and Development Network, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Women for Women, Pro Mujer, Equality Now Inc. and Global Fund for Women. With the assistance of a unique giving platform created by in/PACT, Festival attendees will each be able to allocate €100 of proceeds (€25, up to four times) throughout the remainder of the Festival to their cause of choice, via the Cannes Lions App. “This year, we are honoured and excited to amplify our efforts, enabling delegates to play an active role,” said Kevin Eyres, CEO of in/PACT.

This year’s Cannes Lions Festival demonstrated that the public is voting with their feet to support the daring, the original and the worthy causes.

By Geny Caloisi.