July 28, 2019

Art Directors, Strategic Planners, Copywriters – you name it! People working in the creative industry all across the globe hone their skills, create their masterpieces and work all day for this one particular event. The highly anticipated event of the year. The one that never seems to lose its charm. The congregation of creative minds from all parts of the globe – the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Ever since its inception in 1954, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has been bringing the creative communications industry together every year at its distinctive event in Cannes to network, learn and witness the spectacular power of creativity.

This year the event has witnessed its highest ever participation in its history. Over 100 brands were set to speak on the stage – an increase from 57 in 2017 and 85 in 2018.



Apart from all the dynamic brands snatching awards in multiple categories due to their brilliance, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity had even more to offer to the participants. Here is an insider’s look into some of the various keynotes that were presented by the industry veterans.

Looking into Where Entertainment is Headed

World-famous American actor Jeff Goldblum, known for his roles in Jurassic Park as well as Thor: Ragnarok, took us into a deep dive of Entertainment’s future. He pointed out the fact that there might be countless challenges that the Entertainment industry will be facing; particularly due to issues stemming from user’s affordability. However, he seems to end the keynote on a positive tone – highlighting the fact that the endless possibilities of the Entertainment industry are much more likely to take over the roadblocks and obstacles.

Getting Old and Dealing with Creative Blocks

“I think the more you show people how you are filled with youthful vigor, the higher are the chances of appreciation – not just from the elders but from the younger generation as well. It kind of gives youngsters a reason to believe in, a little sigh of relief in understanding the fact that getting old is…fun!”, said Maye Musk in her keynote speech. Elon Musk’s mother went on to preach the audience that getting old is merely a bodily phenomenon and has little to do with creativity.

The Disappearance of Creativity among the Admen

Forrester’s Principal analyst Jay Pattisall expressed his concerns about the admen of today. “We’re so obsessed being customer-centric marketers that can solve every little customer needs and wants with the ease of convenience and technology, that we’ve forgotten a very important ingredient – creativity. We’ve overfunded technology and underfunded creativity”

Apple Inc. Wins Cannes Lions’ 2019 Creative Marketer of the Year

Walking into the footsteps of legendary brands like Google, Unilever, Coca Cola, etc., this year’s Cannes Lions’ Creative Marketer of the Year award has been won by the late innovation maverick Steve Job’s beloved Apple Inc.

The jury has stated that the reason behind Apple Inc. winning the award is because the company “has created a culture that drives marketing strategies ensuring its customers are true ambassadors for the Apple brands”.

Apple’s VP of Marketing Communications stated, “We are humbled to receive this prestigious award. Apple has always believed that creative, passionate people can change the world for the better. We make tools that are designed for those people.” 



The Emergence of New Platforms

Mature and newly emerging social media channels have already started to play their active roles in shaping the digital landscape. Gaming platform Twitch has already amassed more than 15 million unique daily visitors; spending an average of 95 minutes – while actively engaging with others. Tiktok has already taken over the world by storm by its funky features and ease of usability. It’s going to be an exciting journey ahead – looking into how various brands will be integrating their stories with these platforms in a pursuit to delight their audiences.

Portraying ‘Purpose’ as a Theme

Global communications firm Edelmen has released a special report during the festival named “In Brands we trust?” which accumulated data in pointing out that people’s ‘trust’ on a brand has a significant impact on affecting his/her purchase decisions. Hence, messing around with a consumer’s trust or deceiving them in some way might prove to be detrimental for a brand’s long-term growth. The keywords ‘trust’ and ‘purpose’, as well as words revolving around similar themes, also result in turning a brand into a lovemark. The New York Times’ “The Truth is Worth It” is surely a perfect example.

Making Brand Experiences Accessible

Marketers and innovators have been on a constant purpose to make the entire brand experience accessible for the everyday customer, i.e. they strive to create a holistic process for the brand so that the customer not only uses its services/products but rather become part of the brand’s story. IKEA has garnered a lot of praise over the years for their comfortable furniture. Now they have gone beyond the norm and decided to create furniture for disabled people. By partnering up with 2 NGOs and creating a hackathon, the brand was able to identify the key issues that disabled people face while using their products. They put their product engineers to work and pretty soon, came up with a portfolio of furniture that seemed to be comfortable for anyone – under the platform named ThisAbles. 




Creative Strategy – Volvo (by Forsman & Bodenfors)

Revolving around the data that women are 71% more likely to be involved in a car crash and have 17% more chance to die when compared to their male counterparts, renowned automotive company Volvo has launched “The E.V.A. Initiative”. With E.V.A. being the acronym for “Equal Vehicles for All” – Volvo has ventured out on a pursuit to make cars safe for all. The company’s Accident Research Team has compiled real-world data dating back from as long as 1970 to analyse the pre and post scenarios of a car collision. Involving both male and female dummies during car testings, they have unearthed insights that allow their cars to be safe for both the male and female passengers. And the most noble part of this creative campaign is that they have unveiled their entire research for the mass; allowing people to look into how Volvo is not only creating state-of-the-art automobile solutions but are also playing an active role in making lives safer on the road.


Direct – Burger King (by FCB New York)

If you are a marketing enthusiast, it’s almost not necessary to inform you about the infamous rivalry between McDonald’s and Burger King. The two fast food giants from the US have gone head to head quite a couple of times over the last few years, but this time – it’s the King who has become the undisputed champion; and that too in such a hilarious fashion that it left a million consumers speechless. McDonald’s clearly has the upper hand in terms of outlet numbers as they have almost twice as outlets in the US compared to Burger King. However, Burger King has notoriously used mobile technology to turn the entire phenomenon upside down. They have updated their Burger King app, which includes an order-ahead feature. However, the best part is that you can order a Whopper Sandwich for merely 1 cent only if you’re within 600 feet of a McDonald’s outlet. The campaign literally exploded as customers started ordering Whoppers standing near the vicinities of McDonald’s outlets; often asking the irritated McDonald’s attendant for the nearest Burger King outlet’s location. Named as “The Whopper Detour” – the campaign has managed to sum up incredible numbers for the brand – with the Burger King app being the most downloaded app in only 48 hours; jumping all the way to the top from 686. Burger King’s internal data has confirmed that mobile sales have tripled during the campaign and is 40 times bigger than that of any other Burger King’s digital campaigns. Most importantly, the sheer essence of mischief embedded at the core of the campaign while people heartily laughed away; while of course, gulping down their Whoppers.


Design – Google

Technology giant Google snatched the award for the best design project thanks to their latest initiative – “Creatability”. It is a set of experiments made in collaboration with other teams of innovators that allow physically challenged people to play around with creative tools. With the help of machine learning and AI, these individuals can now draw, paint, create their own music, etc. The entire portal is filled with experiments that seem impossible at first, but has been brought to reality with the help of human-centred designs. So feel free to amaze yourself as you get to witness the ‘unthinkables’ – playing a keyboard with your face, making music just by moving your body or even expressing music visually! To make the platform even more accessible, Google has shared the open-source code and has thus allowed other talented programmers their own experiments as well.


Entertainment for Sport – Nike (by Wieden + Kennedy Portland)

This particular category has been newly introduced into the vast plethora of all other award categories and no other brand deserves the inaugural award more than Nike does for their ‘Dream Crazy’ campaign. The entire thing begins with Nike designing a campaign for their 30th anniversary. All things were perfect until the moment they associated the brand with Colin Kaepernick, an NFL athlete who refused to stand up during the American National Anthem as a sign of protest towards the country’s widely growing police brutality. Within a few days’ notice, people started to completely go against the brand; even showing extreme dissatisfaction by burning their own Nike apparels. But on the flipside, their reach and exposure grew like wildfire. The massive buzz on social media resulted in Nike in achieving $43 million worth in media exposure; whereas a Super Bowl ad spot in 2018 was worth $5.2 million. Thus, staying true to their brand enabled Nike to get the first-ever Grand Prix in the new category.


PR – The Female Company (by Scholz and Friends)

The Female Company, known for their female hygiene brands, has won a Grand Prix in PR for its latest campaign “The Tampon Book: A Book Against Tax Discrimination”. In order to portray the unfairness of tampons being labeled as ‘luxury goods’ and thus being taxed at 19% by German tax officials, the company came up with a line of books with tampons hidden between the pages in a secret compartment. While the idea already won hearts of many, the pages contained drawings, articles related to menstruation – thus serving as tokens of inspiration for all women out there. 


Print & Publishing – An Nahar (by Impact BBDO Dubai)

A blank edition of the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar earned the Grand Prix in Print and Publishing at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. In the campaign, the newspaper published a completely blank edition—a response to the political gridlock that left Lebanon without a working government for several months. The thinking behind the campaign was that if the politicians aren’t working, why should anyone else?

After the blank edition’s release, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief encouraged citizens to use it to write their own headlines and send messages to politicians, over social media. Ultimately, “The Blank Edition” went on to become the best-selling edition of the newspaper, earned global coverage in 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the BBC and achieved 5 million dollars worth of earned media.



GREY Advertising Bangladesh Limited has bagged three Lions at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The agency won all the three awards for their project UCB AgroBanking Powered by Shwapno.

The awards were: Silver Lion in Brand Experience & Activation category, Silver Lion in Sustainable Development Goals category, and Bronze Lion in Mobile category.

This is indeed a remarkable event in the history of Bangladeshi advertisement industry. This is the second time any Bangladeshi campaign has won an award at the Cannes Lions. The first-ever award for a Bangladeshi campaign was for ‘Zero Electricity Air Cooler’ campaign in the year 2016, which was also executed by GREY Advertising Bangladesh. The project had won Gold Lion in the Product Design (Solution) category.

The winning campaign of this year, UCB AgroBanking is the world’s first initiative to transform fresh fruits and vegetables—into bank accounts. AgroBanking allows farmers to open micro-savings accounts in exchange for their produce.

UCB partnered with the largest grocery chain in Bangladesh, Shwapno, to purchase such goods at fair prices. Through its massive farmer and distribution network, Shwapno can deliver the fresh fruits and vegetables to stores across Bangladesh, finally giving farmers the opportunity to join the formal economy, reduce inequality and help them grow their business.

According to GREY, in just one month since its execution, 750 new accounts were opened, 58 tons of produce were collected, 40+ media impressions were generated and 115 villages asked to join AgroBanking.

That was pretty much what this year’s biggest festival of creativity had to offer. From global brands coming to showcase their extraordinary prowess in storytelling to the world’s most talented marketers sharing their thoughts regarding the industry – the entire experience left the participants wanting for more. And this immense desire, this unquenchable thirst will never be fulfilled. Because, it is this uneasiness that makes the creative jump out from their beds at night, jot down ideas on notebooks and then go on to create amazing masterpieces. Ideas, Stories, and Creativity – all by the amazing French panorama. An event where creative rebels yearn to come back year after year. For ideas are evergreen; and so are the creative souls that harbor them. 


By Farhat Chowdhury

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