Who won at the 2018 National Advertising Challenge?

A look at the ideas that earned some creative teams a trip to Cannes.

The National Advertising Challenge (NAC) announced the winning teams for this year’s competition at a gala held Thursday night.

Every year, the NAC enlists its sponsors to come up with briefs across different categories that creative teams have free range to tackle in whatever way they believe is best. The work was judged by a panel of ten top creatives from the Canadian ad industry.

Gold winners in each category receive a trip to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Winners of the student competition receive a three-month, paid internship at a Canadian ad agency.

The winners can be found below, along with a description of the highest-awarded ideas in each category and the brief they were answering. Full descriptions of each entry can be found on the NAC website.


The Client: Roots
The Brief: Generate awareness and excitement for the opening of four new Roots locations in the U.S. and drive traffic to the retailer’s website.

Gold: Luke Woodard and Morgan Starr, Camp Jefferson
The idea: As Roots is an immigrant to the U.S. itself, the brand would help those new to the country establish themselves during a tense political climate by creating a series of star-spangled banners that incorporate the flags of other countries. The design would then be used in ads, flown as OOH activations and incorporated into a clothing line, the sales from which would help fund workshops held in Roots stores to help immigrants take language classes, employment support and legal advice.


Silver: Teresa Tam and Jay Fleming, John St.
Bronze: Alicia Outschoorn and Alex Scott, Union


The Client: Nissan
The Brief: Help the automaker launch the new KICKS crossover utility vehicle and steal market share from models in the compact sedan category.

Gold: Sean Ngo and Sam Heichert, Sid Lee
The idea: The KICKS targets female drivers, and it’s often said that women help drive cultural change. This out-of-home ad illustrates that idea with the vehicle leaving tire tracks with a woman’s name emblazoned in them – something that can be made a reality through a promotion that will give women buyers a customized set of tires when they buy a new KICKS.


Silver: Amanda Spagnuolo and Lucas Palleschi, Union
Bronze: Fernando Hernandex, Leo Burnett

Big Ideas

The Client: Degree (Unilever)
The Brief: Drive awareness for the deodorant’s brand proposition, based around movement and being active.

Gold: Jake Bundock and Rachel Abrams, Cossette
The idea: Studies have shown how harmful it can be to stay seated for too long, so creating “The Most Uncomfortable Chair in the World” will encourage people to stay active by making it physically unpleasant to sit down.


Silver: Rena Green and Eric Carriere, Grey
Bronze: JP De Leon and Michael Pal, Leo Burnett

Wild Card

The Client: Rogers
The Brief: Create awareness for the Ted Rogers Scholarship Fund, which supports young leaders making a difference in their communities, and create a stronger connection between the program and the Rogers brand.

Gold: Ariel Riske and Emma Wathan, Lg2
The idea: Capitalizing on a shared name and values of bringing people together to share ideas, Rogers would partner with TED to host a series of talks featuring the students receiving the scholarship every year.


Silver: Anand Iyer and Domenique Raso, BBDO Toronto


The Client: WE
The Brief: Promote the organization’s new clean water campaign and WE Walk for Water fundraising event.

Gold: Anand Iyer and Domenique Raso, BBDO Toronto
The idea: By partnering with city water suppliers, residents will be given a more efficient showerhead, which can save a household up to 11,000 litres of water a year. Once the meter has gauged that they have saved $25 worth of water, the money will be donated to WE, directly from their bill.


Silver: Melissa Medwyk and Andrew McKenzie, Taxi
Bronze: Whitney Tam and Haley Koehn, Sid Lee


The Client: Garnier Fructis (L’Oreal)
The Brief: Fructis re-launched in 2017 to better position itself among millennials and Gen Z, but is still over-indexing among older demographics.

Gold: Justin Turco and Jill Mack, McCann Canada
The idea: By embedding a waterproof mic into shampoo bottles, customers will be able to live-stream as they sing in the shower on Spotify Radio and get their 15 minutes of fame.


Bronze: Steven Tiao and Kevin Hoessler, Leo Burnett
Bronze: Justin Turco and Jill Mack, McCann Canada


The Client: Best Buy Canada
The Brief: Increase awareness and generate new subscribers for the Geek Squad Home Membership Program, which gives customers advice and assistance in setting up their new tech purchases.

Silver: Mike Jones and Jonathan King, Doug & Partners
The idea: During the pre-show at Cineplex movie theatres, the commercials will suddenly stop due to a “projector malfunction.” Geek Squad members will then enter the theatre to fix the problem, and when the show resumes, an ad will appear promoting the Home Membership Program.


Bronze: Jesse Wilks and Gerardo Agbuya, John St.
Bronze: Abeer Verma and Mike Lo Nam, Grey Toronto


The client: EQ Bank
The brief: Increase awareness for the digital-only bank and its new way of thinking about banking among clients currently doing business with “the big five.”

Bronze: JP De Leon and Michael Pal, Leo Burnett
The idea: EQ Bank offers a 2.3% interest rate, compared to the 1.8% rate the big five banks offer. A takeover of business and financial news videos on YouTube would slow down the default play speed to 0.5 – showing the bank’s financially savvy target how big of a difference that 0.5% makes.



The Client: Nescafe
The Brief: Move coffee beyond product and connect the act of drinking coffee to life experiences, therefore creating brand loyalty in a category that is often swayed by price.

Silver (Tie): Ryan Fox and Claire DeMarco, Union
The idea: A WiFi-enabled “smart mug” will be able to tell when your cup has been filled. Every time that happens, a cup of coffee will be donated to Covenant House, with a digital display letting customers know exactly how many cups have been donated.


Silver (Tie): Jeffrey Turford, House Media Group, and Eric Stinnissen, Tangent Animation
The idea: The classic thermos is reimagined with two cups instead of one, allowing customers to share coffee with a co-worker or friend.


Student Competition

The Client: Capital One

Gold: Nika Johnson and Shem Joslyn
The idea: The credit card company would help customers reduce debt and have good credit by introducing the Smart Card, which not only tracks spending, but has a light embedded to give a visual cue for when that spending exceeds a set amount.


Silver: Hussein Rumaithi and Angelica Carreno
Bronze: Zachary Kumaczow and Allison Boyd