Despite going virtual for the second year running and suffering a significant drop in entries across 90 countries, The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity announced its winners recently. Last year’s event was cancelled so even though the entry numbers were down, the awards process itself was huge, encompassing two years of creative work. As a consequence, there were many awards – arguably too many – across no less than 30 categories. Exacerbating the problem is how vast the marketing industry has become given the proliferation of ways in which brands can now reach their audiences. The more channels, the more awards – and it doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon.

Distilling it down to a top five is not just tricky –but somewhat unfair to the great body of creative work. But here’s what caught our eye:

1.  Dove honours the front line

There were quite a few entries pursuing a pandemic theme, but Dove’s submission, created by Ogilvy London and Ogilvy Toronto was a standout for its exploration of ‘Real Beauty’. The campaign featured the bruised, weathered faces of frontline healthcare workers with harsh lighting and stark photography picking out the mask lines and exhausted expressions perfectly. What made the campaign particularly outstanding was its media placement- with posters situated near hospitals so frontline workers would see them on their way to work. Truly inspiring.

2.  Libresse/Bodyform capture what it is to be woman.

A stunning piece of work that captures what it is to be a woman. #wombpainstories is the latest brilliant installation from the powerful client/agency team of Libresse and AMV BBDO – previous winners of the Glass Lion Grand Prix in 2018 and the Titanium Grand Prix (the festival’s highest award) in 2019. This entry explores the pain, pleasure and life force celebration of women’s wombs in a wonderful pastiche of animation and authentic, often heart-breaking footage. First and foremost, it communicates how women feel on multiple levels, but it also serves to help them express their own personal experiences making it easier for doctors to diagnose health conditions with greater efficiency. That it scooped another Titanium Grand Prix is of little surprise.

View more of the campaign here.

3.  The best Climate Change ad is a spoof.

Climate change is the subject that has been understandably taken a back seat over the last year or so, but it hasn’t gone anywhere and it was great left field thinking to see Salla – Finland’s coldest town – take matters into their own hands and put in a spoof bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics. Salla’s launch video beautifully picks out the irony of their message that climate change will deliver the summer games to them very soon. “In 12 years, the ice will be gone and this will be a perfect lake.” Ultimately, the paperwork to submit the bid wasn’t lodged by the city “we don’t want to be the best place to host the summer games,” but their point has been made perfectly – and their fried mascot ‘Kesa’ the reindeer is inspired.

View the campaign here.

5  Steal our staff steals the limelight.

No company wants their staff stolen, but toiletries brand Beco puts that message out there to showcase the amazing work they’re doing building a workforce comprised of 80% visually impaired, disabled or disadvantaged. Their #StealOurStaff campaign, created by TBWA London, highlights the disability employment gap out there and challenges the hiring practices of other businesses. A powerful message delivered with a killer hashtag and the kind of subtle humour that only the English seem to be able to carry off.

View the Beco campaign here.

5.  Heinekin shifts its media spend to those in need.

A little brilliant outdoor execution in the mix herewith Heinekin’s ‘Shutters’ campaign that scooped Cannes Outdoor Grand Prix. Created by Public is Italy, the campaign rethought their outdoor approach to help more than 5,000 bars around the world survive the pandemic. Instead of investing in outdoor advertising – around 10% of their global media budget –they redirected the spend to the facades, doors, windows and shutters of bars across the world, converting them into a unique media platform. Almost 8 million Euro went into the pockets of the bars Heinekin backed – a great example of creative thinking in concept, media execution and sustainability.

More of the Heineken campaign can be found here.

As protectors and amplifiers of great creative, we could spend all day looking at great ads. Our Brand Management platform heroes creative and makes sure that wherever in the world it’s rolled out as part of local, national or global campaigns, that it always represents the integrity of the original concept.

If you’re as big a fan of creative as we are, checkout the full body of fantastic work at The Official Cannes Lions Live Wrap-up.

To discover more about how Sesimi Brand Management software can support your marketing strategy.