Top Cannes Contenders: OOH

Strategy is counting down the campaigns most likely to win big at the Palais at this year's festival.
lg2 balls

As we count down the days to the Cannes Lions submission deadline (March 28)strategy is rounding out the most likely contenders for each category, tapping the top folks in the industry to help us narrow down the list. This week, we’re taking a gander in the Radio category. Check back regularly until the deadline to see which campaigns have the best shot in Cannes.

Out of home 

Campaign: Magic Bus Shelter
Brand: Quebec City Magic Festival
Agency: Lg2

Chosen by: Anthony Chelvanathan, group CD, Leo Burnett

To promote the Quebec City Magic Festival, Lg2 created a bus shelter with kinetic motion sensors that were activated when people raised their arms – creating the illusion that they could actually levitate the balls enclosed in the bus shelter.

It’s always hard to engage people with any form of advertising – especially when it’s on a small budget. But to do it so effectively and in such a clever and innovative way is pretty impressive to me. In my mind, this bus shelter does many things well – firstly, it instantly connects with people of all ages and across all demographics. Secondly, it keeps people engaged with the message for far longer than most advertising. Thirdly, it stays true to its original purpose – which is reminding people about the upcoming Magic Festival. And finally, it keeps people occupied while they wait for a bus. And we all know how boring that is. I think it’s the kind of advertising that deserves an award or two.

Campaign: Thief, Shooter, Robber
Brand: Crime Stoppers
Agency: DDB

Chosen by Chris Staples, partner and national CD, Rethink

Technology has had a big impact on outdoor advertising with a never-ending stream of innovations like projection mapping, video screens and assorted interactive bells and whistles.  But sometimes a good old-fashioned two-dimensional poster has the power to stop you in your tracks.

The latest work for Crime Stoppers by DDB Vancouver actually gives a nod to new technologies, even though it’s strictly old-school in execution. Images of robbers are shown literally imprisoned within text message bubbles on phone screens.  The line “Your text can help catch a criminal” gives people a simple new way to squeal on crooks.

Crime Stoppers suddenly seems very this-century.

It’s just the latest in a long line of great outdoor for this client by this agency stretching back nearly 20 years. My only quibble is on street-level execution. Normal billboards don’t exist in Vancouver— 90% are tri-boards with dozens of annoying vertical black lines across every image.  That makes the headlines on these boards virtually unreadable from a car. As transit posters, though, they’re pure gold. 

Campaign: The Beer Fridge
Brand: Molson Canadian
Agency: Rethink

Chosen by: Brooke Leland, VP connection planning, Jungle Media

Oh my dear old friend out of home. You thought you were going to have it soooooo easy in this new digital age. You were just hanging out all quiet at the side of the road thinking “Suckers. I’m just going to sit here doling out some GRPs and laying down some heavy frequency. But that’s it man, I’ve been here for hundreds of years, doing my thing and I’m going to just… keep… coasting.”

You were SO wrong, out of home. Now we expect more of you than EVER. You can’t just sit there passively anymore. You have to do something and get people to do things to you and then you need to get those people to film themselves doing it and get at least two million hits on YouTube, become part of a huge TV campaign and make the shareable news. It’s tough out there, out of home…it’s tough. But you can do it. You can be better!

This summer Molson Canadian and Rethink were better. They really went out of home when they placed glossy red beer-laden fridges across Europe. In order to open these cornucopia of brew, a Canadian was required to scan their passport.

The outdoor beer fridge execution itself garnered a smattering of impressions. But it’s what Rethink did after the fact that truly powered the campaign. The footage of the fridge openings was released in video format and has received more than two millions YouTube views to date, making it the second most viral video in Canada in 2013. This campaign is a perfect example of spectacle and insight. Out of home needs both of these elements now to generate that great storytelling spark. Molson and Rethink lit it up by releasing the humble beer fridge from its dark, wood-panelled rec room. They placed an out of home campaign on another continent in order to make the mark in Canada and should make us proud at Cannes.

Contender: Moments of Warmth
Brand: Duracell
Agency: Cossette

Chosen by: strategy magazine staff

When we first put out the call for out of home Cannes contenders, we didn’t bank on one particular campaign blowing up the creativity blogs the week before we posted this piece. However, that’s just what happened with Duracell and Cossette’s “Moments of Warmth” campaign, which turned people into a connected battery.

In our ridiculously cold winter, the pair set up shop in a bus shelter, offering heat to waiting passengers. However, in order to activate the heat, people had to hold hands to create a bridge between both sides of the shelter. It’s bang on the “real time OOH marketing” trend we picked up on last week.

Are we missing a strong out of home contender? Weigh in below. 

Check out the contenders in the InnovationCreative EffectivenessFilm CraftPromo & ActivationPR, Mobile and Film categories.