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Big Winners and Key Themes from the 2021 Cannes Lions Festival

Each year, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity honors the top campaigns in marketing and advertising for the year. At W5, we love seeing brands flex their creative muscles and connect with audiences through whimsical and insightful marketing concepts. The best campaigns evoke emotion and pique customer curiosity- these ads do both masterfully. By highlighting the most impactful creative campaigns, Cannes Lions spotlights key trends and takeaways about the future of advertising.

Fandom Reigns Supreme

Gamers are used to seeing advertisements in their favorite video games, but brands at Cannes made one thing perfectly clear; more immersive marketing is the future. When brands collaborate with existing fandoms, powerful partnerships are created. Brands are collaborating with existing fandoms to promote their products. Just ask Burger King and 2K Sports.

Burger King created a virtual experience in the massive online basketball video game by challenging players to make shots from points on the field marked by popular menu items from the game. To sweeten the deal, players could win actual meals from Burger King for scoring well. With other interactive virtual campaigns like this one and Fortnite’s Travis Scott concert, this type of immersive advertising here to stay.

Sustainability Matters

With global temperatures on the rise and the general public becoming more cognizant of sustainability measures, brands are taking notice as well. Fast fashion brand H&M teamed up with models, celebrities, and fans to create their H&M Conscious campaign. Highlighting recyclable clothing efforts, the campaign invites shoppers to recycle their clothes through various touchpoints, including in H&M stores.

By bringing their stylish and unique voice, H&M is going above and beyond with a clothes recycling initiative. Their statement reads, “Drop your bag of unwanted clothing in the recycling box at your local store. All textiles are welcome – any brand, any condition – even odd socks, worn-out T-shirts and old sheets. The textiles are then sent to the nearest recycling plant, where they’re sorted by hand. For every bag of textiles you drop off, you’ll receive a discount card for 15% off your next in-store purchase.

Comedy Brings Us Together

Every bag of Cheetos comes with a special feature… orange fingers. Cheetos partnered with Goodby Silverstein and Partners to create this award-winning ad featuring MC Hammer’s iconic “U Can’t Touch This” as a Cheetos fan avoids lending a helping hand because his fingers are covered in cheese-flavored dust.

The ad, featuring a few humorous appearances by MC Hammer, won the Creative Strategy Grand Prix at this year’s awards, masterfully demonstrating how humor, celebrity cameos, and key observations about the customer experience (even if it involves orange fingers) make for a memorable ad campaign.

Purpose-Driven Concepts Connect

The Womb Stories campaign, launched by feminine hygiene companies Libresse and Bodyform, won 4 Grand Prix awards at this year’s ceremony. It’s not surprising to see why, considering how beautifully and powerfully it executes its concept.

SPOILER WARNING: This ad might make you cry.

Created by AMV BBDO, the ad spotlights the myriads of options in women’s healthcare represented by an eclectic mix of different art styles representing the different ways women navigate period cramps, menopause, the miracle of birth, and so much more.

Togetherness During COVID

2020 was a difficult year for us all- but was even harder on people disabilities. In fact, disabled people are 50% less likely to have a job and over 1 million disables people struggle to find work in the UK. The numbers are even higher in the states.

Beco is a British wellness company and social enterprise that employs a workforce of 80% visually-impaired, disabled, or disadvantaged. In their Grand Prix winning campaign, Beco invites other companies to hire disabled or impaired people by putting their CVs onto the soap, increasing the visibility tenfold. With the tagline “We made the invisible hard to miss” and a 1500% increase in their web traffic, Beco is onto something big.

Want to check out other Cannes Lions winners? Check out the full list here.

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