Yes we Cannes: Good sports

Our latest look at Canadian work that could stand out at Cannes highlights two campaigns for the athlete in all of us.

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The deadline for submissions to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is fast approaching. To mark the occasion, we turned to some of the industry’s top brass to give us an idea of which Canadian campaigns might make an impact in Cannes this year and who should leave a little extra room in their luggage to get that Lion back home.

Campaign: #WetheNorth

Brand: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (Toronto Raptors)

Agency: Sid Lee

To highlight the team’s first entry into the playoffs since 2008, the #WetheNorth campaign, launched in April 2014, drew attention from celebrities and media on the international stage and could get noticed by the Cannes PR jury.

“As a long suffering Toronto sports fan with not much to cheer about, I have to highlight the Toronto Raptors’ #WetheNorth campaign,” says Bruce Neve, CEO of Starcom MediaVest. “It was galvanizing and emotional. It made you want to stand up and yell, it was in your face and urban in non-traditionally Canadian way. It had draw for millennials, and it felt ‘of the moment’ and had a pace and velocity that grew and grew.”

“This campaign takes the concept of ‘pride’ for a city and a sporting team to a whole new level,” adds Martine Levy, managing director of DDB PR. “Anthemic – these three words [We the North] are almost constitutional. The creative is laser-like in focus and the campaign roll-out has been meticulous. Good use of ambassadors, social media and PR.”

Campaign: Kings & Queens of the Court

Brand: TSN

Agency: Leo Burnett

To promote its coverage of the U.S. Open tournament, TSN and Leo Burnett took to local courts to create massive tennis ball murals. “Outdoor is a such a tough medium,” says Brian Sheppard, EVP and ECD at Saatch & Saatchi. “It has to grab the audience in a millisecond so, as my friend Brian Harrod used to say, it needs to be a ‘visual shout.’ Well, these executions for TSN by Leo Burnett practically scream. They are such a smart use of an existing structure, and by using 15,000 tennis balls to create really striking imagery, they created a new medium.”

“It’s a perfect example of how powerful an ambient execution can be, and it’s completely right for the target and the event,” Sheppard adds. “It also doesn’t hurt that the agency executed it beautifully. It should do very well in the judging room at Cannes this June.”