Yes we Cannes: Experience this

Our latest peek at Canadian work that's Lions-worthy highlights four campaigns that are all about experience.

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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: Checking Off the Bucket List

Brand: Canon

Agency: MediaCom Beyond Advertising

For its branded content play, camera-maker Canon helped real people check off items on their personal bucket lists – from doing Navy SEAL training to visiting Japan.

The web series, which launched last winter, ran on the Cottage Life website, along with editorial articles and photography tips related to the videos. After positive response, the series also ran eight times as a half hour show on the Cottage Life TV channel.

Along with a display campaign to support the web series, it was also promoted through Canon and Cottage Life‘s social channels and on Travel & Escape’s TV channel.

“Brands whose products actually capture content are best poised to produce authentic branded entertainment,” says Anthony Hello, business lead at Bensimon Byrne, noting that the work could win in the branded content category at Cannes.

“Canon succeeds by first creating a legitimate usage occasion for their cameras (properly capturing a once-in-a-lifetime adventure), then following their customers on a bucket list trip, and compellingly telling the story in appropriate media,” he says. “In a world of camera phone vacation captures, Canon demonstrates here how better ‘wall-worthy’ photos keep the memory alive longer and more vibrantly.”

“I love that they didn’t just share an existing consumer story, but that they created a new one attributable to them and completely relevant to their Boomer target,” he adds.

Campaign: #TimsDark Experiment

Brand: Tim Hortons

Agency: JWT

“We’re all a little sick of stunts aren’t we?” says Cory Eisentraut, group creative director at Cundari. “Flash mobs, pop-up stores and vending machine giveaways have all been done to death across every market and category. So maybe that’s why I love what JWT and Tim Hortons did to launch the iconic brand’s new dark roast coffee.”

What they did was invite customers into a pitch black store, with the resulting video being used for a TV spot and social campaign, which could lead to picking up a Promo & Activation Lion.

Charles Etienne Morier, VP of digital media at Touché, agrees with Eisentraut, noting that the stunt showed the product’s attributes, and was a way for consumers to easily understand the new brew, generating good results for the brand.

“Yes, it was a stunt – a very good one actually,” Eisentraut says. “But it was also much more than that. By creating a completely blacked-out Tim’s location, they invented a taste-test unlike any other. And after every news outlet in the country began to cover the campaign, what started as a product launch actually became a huge brand builder and an enormous earned media win. My hunch is the juries in Promo and Direct will end up loving this campaign as much as our country did.”

Campaign: Peak Brew

Brand: Kokanee

Agency: Grip Limited

To help keep Kokanee top of mind for consumers as a true mountain beer, the brand and agency Grip Limited went to new heights to brew a limited edition beer, a move that Bensimon Byrne’s Hello says could earn it a branded content Lion.

“Like the Canon Bucket List example, here we have a perfect commingling of brand, product and content,” Hello says. “For a beer rooted in mountain origins, how perfect an idea to first source mountain snow for the brew but then capture the experience for a pay-off content series. The videos are visually stunning and clearly cater to the brand’s core audience who aspire to the mountain adventure lifestyle.”

Campaign: #FutureSelf

Brand: Orange

Agencies: Jam3 and Publicis Paris

While not necessarily considered a Canadian campaign, Toronto’s Jam3 did play a role in bringing people’s older selves to life.

For its 20th birthday, telecom company Orange worked Publicis Paris and Jam3 to create a tool on its website that would age a user 20 years using facial recognition software. The user could then interact with their future self.

For Josh Stein, ECD at Tribal Worldwide Toronto, the work stands out because of Jam3. “It’s about innovation and the ability to bring an idea to life is the best way possible,” he says, noting the work could pick up a Cyber Lion for innovative use of technology.

“The thinking and application of complex technologies like motion capture, 3D rendering and a bunch of other stuff that people like me have to pretend we know about, must have been insane. But the end user experience is so simple and flawless. Here’s to an awesome digital production company in Toronto, who have gone global by doing amazing work. Good stuff.”