Cannes 2017: Film wins push Canada to all-time best Lions haul

Cossette, Lg2, Saatchi and Edelman collect prizes at the festival's closing show.


Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 8.22.12 AM

Six Lions in Film on the closing day in Cannes pushed Canada to an all-time best showing at the festival, topping 2015′s record with a total of 44 Lions.

Cossette picked up another Silver Lion for its “VS” campaign with SickKids, with “Undeniable” winning in the Charities & Non-Profit subcategory. It was the eighth Lion for the organization this year, after winning Golds and Silvers in Health & Wellness and Bronze Lions in Film Craft.

Film juror Luc Du Sault, partner, VP and CD at Lg2, told strategy that while the jury decided early that “Undeniable” would medal, it was likely headed for a Bronze until he made a case for its unique approach to the Charities & Non-Profit category.

“In this category, it’s always about tears, it’s always about sadness,” he said. “[‘VS.’ is] a category changer. People didn’t see it this way.”

Du Sault wasn’t able to advocate for his own agency’s work, though, leaving the room when Lg2’s Bronze-winning films for Farnham Ale & Lager (in the Alcoholic Drinks subcategory) and La Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (in Corporate Social Responsibility) came up.

The Farnham work continues the brand’s “A Bit Bitter” platform with a jilted bride.

The SAAQ campaign against texting and driving takes the perspective of a distracted driver. The spot shows a man chuckling to himself in the background of horrible accident scenes. At the end, he gives the same laugh while checking a text message on his phone while driving, as a child crosses the street.

The other winning Canadian work had its own advocates on the jury, he said. Saatchi & Saatchi’s two Bronze winning spots for The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity – “Gay Sports – Fencing” and “Gay Sports – Swimming,” which use mock Olympic play-by-play announcers to make a point about labeling and diversity – were “no-brainers” for the judges, Du Sault said.

And Edelman’s “In the Head of a Hacker” for HP Canada, which won Bronze in the Long Non-Fiction Film (over 10 minutes) subcategory, was closest to a Gold, Du Sault said, before the jury bumped up other work in its place.

However, he had the chance to tell the jurors a bit more about the real-life story of “Mafia Boy,” the subject of HP’s branded content, a Montreal hacker who brought down websites including eBay, CNN and Amazon as a 15-year-old in 2000.

The longer pieces should be viewed as entertainment, Du Sault said, with the brand taking a step back.

“You have to be generous in this context. Of course there’s a link, but it’s not a commercial,” he said, and Edelman’s short documentary pulled off that balance.

The resurgence of film

Jury president Pete Favat, CCO at Deutsch North America, said that after taking a backseat in recent years as other media gained influence, film is undergoing a “resurgence” as the preferred emotional medium, with big brands returning to it (Gold winners included Heineken, Old Spice and Nike).

In a year where La La Land contributed to a number of entries that used dance, Favat said, the jury unanimously chose Channel 4’s “We’re the Superhumans” film for the Rio Paralympics as the Grand Prix.

At the press conference Saturday morning, Favat called the piece “extremely provocative” and a “superb” example of a solution to a brief.

“I think it pushes humanity forward. I think that’s what we most focused on when we chose this,” he said.

Film – Silver

SickKids Foundation, “SickKids VS – Undeniable & Momstrong,” Cossette; Skin & Bones; The Mill New York; The Vanity; SNDWRX (on “Undeniable”)
Charities & Non-profit (“Undeniable” & “Momstrong”)

Film – Bronze

The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, “Gay Sports Fencing & Swimming,” Saatchi & Saatchi Canada
Charities and Non-profit (“Fencing”)
Charities and Non-profit (“Swimming”)

Farnham Ale & Lager, “Beers,” Lg2 Quebec; Nova Film Quebec
Alcoholic Drinks

HP Canada, “In the Head of a Hacker,” Edelman; Untitled Films
Long Non-Fiction Film (over 10 minutes)

SAAQ (La Societe de l’Assurance Automobile du Quebec), “Don’t Give a Damn,” Lg2 Quebec; Les Enfants Montreal; Touche! Montreal
Corporate Social Responsibility

Top Canadian Cannes winners

Canadian work won a record number of Lions this year, with 44, edging out the 43 the country brought home in 2015. Last year’s total was 17.

10 (1 Gold, 5 Silver, 4 Bronze)
Canadian Down Syndrome Society
“Down Syndrome Answers”
FCB Toronto; Reprise Media Toronto

8 (2 Gold, 3 Silver, 3 Bronze)
SickKids Foundation
Cossette Toronto; A52 Santa Monica; Skin & Bones Toronto; The Mill New York; The Vanity Toronto; SNDWRX

4 (2 Gold, 2 Bronze)
IKEA Canada
“Cook This Page”
Leo Burnett Toronto, Grayson Matthews Toronto; Papertec; Printed by Somerset; Trade Graphics By Design

4 (1 Silver, 3 Bronze)
Fuel Transport
Sid Lee Toronto