Cannes 2018: Canada bags nine Lions across Craft categories

Cossette and FCB/Six continue their winning streaks, as Ogilvy Toronto and Sherpas Cinema earn their first Lions of the Festival.

The North Face

As celebrations begin this evening at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Canadian creatives will be toasting to more Lion wins.

Across the Industry Craft, Digital Craft and Film Craft categories, Cossette, Ogilvy Toronto, Sherpas Cinema and FCB/Six brought home nine Lions between them, adding to the country’s total haul of 19 trophies as of Wednesday evening.

The country did not win awards for the Brand Experience & Activation, Entertainment, Entertainment Lions for Music and Creative E-commerce categories, which were also handed out this evening.

Industry Craft

For Industry Craft, a first-time category celebrating creative artistry and skill, Cossette was honoured with four Bronze Lions for its “On Your Left,” “On Your Right,” “Just Missed Us” and “Next Exit” outdoor executions featuring McDonald’s iconic golden arches, as part of their “Follow the Arches” campaign.

It was the second consecutive trophy-earning gala for the agency. On Tuesday, Cossette earned the top prize in Outdoor for the same work, ending more than a decade-long Grand Prix dry spell for Canada.

Ogilvy Toronto also has reason to celebrate the evening’s show, having collected two Bronze Lions for client Baby Dove: one for “Witching Hour” and another for “Dream Feeder,” both part of the “Beautifully Real Moms” campaign that centred on photos of real, sometimes difficult moments of motherhood.

Yang Yeo, Industry Craft jury president and creative kaiju at Hakuhodo, said during a press briefing that he finds it encouraging to see big brands leading the charge in creative craft.

“It’s so easy for them to do the same-old, proven stuff,” he said, “but they continue to push the creative boundaries, and that’s really good to see.”

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Following the press conference, several category jurors agreed that when it comes to craft, sometimes less is more.

The McDonald’s work stood out for its simplicity and effectiveness, said Oskar Lübeck, executive creative director at Sweden’s Bold.

“This is a physical experience, but a lot of wayfinding that we use now is digital,” added Abbie Walsh, group director at Fjord in the U.K. “There’s something really nice about where we can connect a digital behaviour to a physical one.”

Kenyan juror Osborne Macharia, from K63 Studio, commended Ogilvy’s work for Baby Dove, calling the work “raw” and “honest.” In the end, he said, it was the creative’s authenticity that helped it clinch a Bronze.

However, Lübeck said the jurors discussed a scene that was overly focused on the mother’s face, which may have taken away from its overall power and impact. In the end, the judges agreed it would get the Bronze.

Bagging the Grand Prix was Ogilvy Chicago’s “Ali” for SC Johnson, a long-form ad for Kiwi Shoe Care that revisits moments in the boxing legend’s life through anecdotes about his boots, “the greatest shoes in the history of the world.”

Jury president Yeo said that while the ad contains no visual of Muhammad Ali — a pair of his boots are represented instead — the reader can almost “feel” his presence. “That is the power of beautiful copywriting,” he said. “That is the power of craft.”

“I can’t remember the last time that me and my fellow jury were touched by words, by a long copy ad,” he added. “This piece actually moved a lot of us.”

Film Craft

Canada twice reached the podium in Film Craft, with Ogilvy Toronto taking its third Bronze of the night for Unilever’s “Look How Far We’ve Come.”

Created for the Dove brand, the spots juxtapose children’s early self-esteem issues with the success they have found later in life, celebrating the fact that the brand has been working on improving women’s self-esteem for 10 years. Ogilvy worked with production house Reactiv and sound production studio Vapor RMW on the campaign, which won in the Best Original Music sub-category.

The agency was joined by production house Sherpas Cinema, whose “Imagination: Tom Wallisch” for The North Face impressed the judges enough for a Silver Lion.

Juror Diane Jackson, from DDB Chicago, said she and her colleagues liked that the ad wasn’t “over-produced,” which is sometimes the case in slick, very polished sports-related creative. While its skiing stunts were “quite remarkable,” she said it was the film’s “grittiness” that earned it the award.

Film Craft jury president Diane McArter told strategy that the jury “connected with the realism” of the spot, adding that, “the complexity was not your take-away. It became invisible. We were transported into that little boy’s world, and his imagination.”

While the spot fell short of the Gold, McArter said she thought the work was “perfect in what it was. We appreciate what was achieved.”

Taking Grand Prix in the category was Spain’s Blur Producciones for “#NotATarget,” created for the International Committee of the Red Cross. The commercial portrays a father rushing his daughter to a hospital in one of the world’s conflict zones. The daughter has been critically wounded, but the father remains hopeful until they arrive at the hospital — only to discover it has been destroyed by one of the actors in the conflict. #NotATarget is a stark message against targeting health care workers during armed conflicts.

Jackson said she had viewed the spot early in the pre-judging process — a laborious task for a category of more than 2,400 entries, including several long-form films — and that it continued to “haunt” her.

“That’s the power of a true meaningful connection, in that long after you’ve seen it, it creeps into your subconscious and you can’t let it go,” she said.

In choosing all its winners, McArter added that the jury looked for pieces that had a great story but also a “deeper meaning,” work that “connected with our humanity.”

Some of the common themes that emerged from the collection of work included struggle, transformation and redemption, and family, she said.

Digital Craft

FCB/Six is on a winning streak. After winning four Lions in Mobile and Design yesterday, the agency bagged a Silver Lion in Digital Craft, Canada’s only award in the category.

Bringing LGBT issues around the world to light through a digital platform, the agency’s “Destination Pride” for PFLAG Canada received another seven nominations across the Direct and Creative Data categories this morning.

“This is a category that’s really challenging and interesting in the fact that digital craft has evolved so much over the last few years,” said Jean Lin, global CEO of Isobar and president of the Digital Craft jury, during the morning’s press briefing. “Basically, everything can be related to the digital craft now.”

While that rendered the judging more challenging, she said the jury focused on rewarding “technological artistry that connects to the soul of a great story” and work that could inspire players in the space to be more brace in their approach. Eventually, it landed on William Patrick Corgan’s “Aeronaut VR,” a VR experience featuring the Smashing Pumpkins artist and shot in volumetric video, by Isobar New York for the Grand Prix.

Reading from a jury statement, Lin said the piece represents the totality of the digital craft.

“Technology is enabling the idea [of the work], is intuitive and almost invisible,” she said.