Cannes Lions Release Official 2021 Wrap-Up, With All The Big Ideas From This Year’s Competition

Cannes Lions Release Official 2021 Wrap-Up, With All The Big Ideas From This Year’s Competition
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Cannes Lions has officially release its wrap-up of this year’s competition, in partnership with Braze.

This year’s competition saw the awarding of 982 Lions across 53 countries, as well as the release of the State of Creativity study.

Across the Cannes Lions Live programe, eight themes were front and centre: The Value of Creativity, A Fad or the Future?, Will Brands Save the World?, It’s a Journey Not A Destination, How COVID-19 Has Changed Everything, Are You Stalking Me, Build Back Better and The Vanilla Content Issue.

Matt McRoberts, SVP Alliances at Braze, reflected that, “as the average consumer grappled with the effects of COVID-19, there was far less patience for advertisements and brand experiences that lacked concrete relevance and value. That shift toward relevance was profound, something we’ve seen echoed in the exceptional, forward-looking creative work that’s been on display at Cannes Lions Live.”

“Storied brands collapsed because they waited too long to embrace digital transformation, while new brands rose to prominence. What separated companies that successfully leapt the abyss and those who hurtled into it? Data. It wasn’t enough to launch an app or start sending messages to reach consumers stuck at home; you needed the data agility to personalise messages as customers experienced them. As a result, the brands that survived and thrived were the ones who planned for digital transformation or transitioned at lightning speed when COVID-19 hit.”

On the ‘Value of Creativity’ theme, Brad Hiranga, chief brand officer for General Mills, North America said that “COVID-19 accelerated our mindset towards something that we always knew: brands need to be useful, and they have to solve problems. We created a rallying cry last year about how our brands need to solve problems and deliver joy.”

Winning work that particularly reflected this idea was Dove’s ‘Courage is Beautiful’ campaign by Ogilvy London and Nike’s ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ campaign by Wieden+Kennedy Portland, which the jury felt “resonated in a time of immense difficulty.”

In ‘A Fad or the Future’, the way new technologies advanced over the pandemic was explored.

Lizzie Nolan, EVP of Havas and a juror for the Media Lions said, “gaming is no longer nerds in basements, it’s a broad church of people playing bingo on their phones all the way to e-sports.”

And while there may have been a slow uptake on QR codes initially, two winners were celebrated for their ingenious use of the tech.

Media Grand Prix winner ‘Boards of Change’  from FCB Chicago and the City of Chicago used QR codes for voter registration and HSBC and PHD UK’s Gold Lion-winning work, ‘No Fixed Address’ used QR codes on bus stop ads to prompt donations.

Looking at the theme ‘Will Brands Save the World?’, it was revealed that the PR Lions saw a 37 per cent increase in submissions for the Corporate Purpose and Social Responsibility category.

In the Direct Lions, Corporate and Social Responsibility submissions were up 140 per cent. In the Social and Influencer Lions, 35 per cent of the winning work focused on brand activism.

Cannes Lions reflected that “going forward, brands should be more generous, both with their wallets and platforms.”

‘Are You Stalking Me?’ looked a data and the ongoing conversations about personalisation.

The topic was perhaps best summed up by global chief creative officer for McCann Health Matt Eastwood, who said: “I will allow you to personalise my journey, but you have to give me something in exchange.”

Discussion centered on a core question: ‘are brands taking users’ data to offer a beautifully tailored customer experience? Or are they digital stalkers?’

Examples of successfully using data included Canal+’s Silver Lion winning work which tracked delay data at airports and then offered passengers free content based on thei waiting time. For example, passengers with two hours to burn could watched The Incredibles 2 for free on their phones. Canal+ saw a 180 per cent increase in subscriptions.

Discussion of the other themes, as well as more insight into the Lion winning work, can be found in the official wrap-up.

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Cannes Lions Live 2021 Cannes Lions Wrap-Up

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