The world’s biggest celebration of creativity in communication happens every year at The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity held in Cannes, France. It is the most popular and prestigious festival and has become a prominent global meeting place for advertisers, brand marketers, advertising and communication professionals. Over 9,000 delegates from 90 different countries attend seven days of workshops, exhibitions, screenings, master classes and high-profile seminars by industry leaders. Every year there are over 28,000 entries showcased from all over the world and the winners receive the famous Lion trophy presented at award ceremonies throughout the week.
Last week, four agencies won two Grand Prix each: Creative Artists Agency for Chipotle; R/GA for Nike; and Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Digitas, who teamed up on American Express. The other winning campaigns focused on themes like the environment, tourism, politics, technology, packaged goods and the world’s most unlikely mosquito repellent.
Here are the 14 Ad campaigns judged to be the best:
# 1. 2012 Titanium Lions Grand Prix and 2012 Cyber Lions Grand Prix (1)
Agency: R/GA, New York — Client: Nike
Yet another triumph of product development for R/GA and Nike, the FuelBand accelerometer, worn on the wrist, tracks and translates one’s activity—whether walking up stairs or skateboarding—into “Nike Fuel” points as a way to motivate fitness.
#2. 2012 Film Lions Grand Prix and 2012 Branded Content & Entertainment Lions Grand Prix
Agency: Creative Artists Agency, Los Angeles — Client: Chipotle
This stirring stop-motion environmental spot told the story of a farmer who builds his small operation into a giant industrial machine, then has a crisis of conscience. Its breathtaking visuals were transcended only by the gorgeous cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” by Willie Nelson.
#3. 2012 Promo & Activations Lions Grand Prix and 2012 Direct Lions Grand Prix
Agencies: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, Colo., and Digitas, New York — Client:American Express
In 2010, AmEx introduced Small Business Saturday, an effort to devote the day after Black Friday to driving sales at smaller companies. CP+B and Digitas won two Grand Prix awards for adding new tools and initiatives.
#4. 2012 Film Craft Lions Grand Prix
Agency: BETC, Paris — Client: Canal+
A bear starred as a hotshot Hollywood director—a bit of a diva, a complete control freak but an enormous talent nonetheless—in this hilarious ad for the French cable network. Turns out it was the daydream of a taxidermied bear rug who’d spent many hours lying on the living room floor watching Canal+.
#5. 2012 Press Lions Grand Prix
Agencies: Fabrica, Treviso, Italy, and 72andSunny, Amsterdam — Client: Benetton
The provocative “Unhate” campaign showed world leaders kissing on the lips. Three ads were honored: Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu, and Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy.
#6. 2012 Outdoor Lions Grand Prix (1)
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Shanghai — Client: Coca-Cola
Jonathan Mak Long, the 20-year-old Hong Kong design student whose logo tribute to Steve Jobs went viral last year, added a Cannes Grand Prix to his résumé for an Ogilvy-commissioned poster that turned Coke’s iconic white stripe into two hands holding a bottle.
#7. 2012 Outdoor Lions Grand Prix (2)
Agency: Jung von Matt, Hamburg — Client: Mercedes-Benz
The German agency won for “The Invisible Drive,” which used an animated LED cloak of invisibility to make a Mercedes-Benz seem to disappear into white clouds and blue sky, promoting the automaker’s zeroemissions fuel cell technology.
#8. 2012 Mobile Lions Grand Prix
Agencies: Grow Interactive, Norfolk, Va., and Johannes Leonardo, New York — Client: Google
This smartphone app let netizens send Coca-Colas to strangers around the globe via special vending machines, in a nod to the classic “Hilltop” ad (“I’d like to buy the world a Coke”). Now, people could.
#9. 2012 Cyber Lions Grand Prix (2)
Agency: Volontaire, Stockholm — Client: Swedish Institute/Visit Sweden
Sweden turned over its official Twitter account to everyday people in this campaign. Outcry after guest tweeter Sonja Abrahamsson went rogue with offensive posts doubled followers while attracting worldwide attention.
#10. 2012 Design Lions Grand Prix
Agency: Serviceplan, Munich — Client: Austria Solar
This Austrian solar company’s annual report was itself solar-powered, with text and graphics that could be seen only in sunlight—a seamless merging of form and function in a creative take on a typically boring document.
#11. 2012 Media Lions Grand Prix
Agency: Manning Gottlieb OMD, London — Client: Google
This endearingly quirky London billboard campaign for Google Voice Search, produced with creative agency BBH, featured more than 150 site specific ads with phonetic spellings of nearby landmarks ranging from Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square.
#12. 2012 PR Lions Grand Prix
Agency: JWT, Puerto Rico — Client: Banco Popular
With half the local population on welfare, JWT hired legendary salsa band El Gran Combo to re-record its hit celebrating laziness, “I Do Nothing,” recast as a tribute to hard work. The revamp shot to the top of the charts.
#13. 2012 Creative Effectiveness Lions Grand Prix
Agency: BBH, London — Client: Axe
After a round of product flops, the men’s personal care brand hit the mark with its body spray deodorant Axe Excite. BBH’s “Angels Will Fall” series lifted sales with its calamitous yet crazy-sexy heavenly girlfriend campaign.
#14. 2012 Radio Lions Grand Prix
Agency: Talent, São Paolo, Brazil — Client: Go Outside magazine
This delightfully devious campaign turned local FM radio broadcasts into mosquito repellent with a 15 kHZ frequency played alongside music from 6 to 8 p.m. Inaudible to humans, the sound scares off mosquitos by resembling a dragonfly buzz.