Cannes 2019: A Bronze in Music for The&Partnership

There was only one Canadian win in the three Entertainment categories, but jury insights show where the bar has been set.

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 2.02.23 PM

The&Partnership found itself to be the lone Canadian among the 14 Lions awarded in the Entertainment Lion for Music on Tuesday.

The agency took a Bronze, along with partners Ent! Music Marketing and Cossette Media, for “No More,” an original song by Canadian hip hop artist SonReal that was created as part of Telus’ ongoing “#EndBullying” CSR platform.

Jury president Paulette Long, a music consultant and board director for The Music Publishers Association, called out “No More” as being among several Lion-winning campaigns that were “about the people and for the people,” showing how music is a medium that can make a difference as part of a call to action.

Two Grand Prix were awarded in Entertainment Lions for Music: one to Doomsday Entertainment for Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” music video, and the other to AKQA Sao Paulo for its campaign promoting Bluesman, an album from Brazilian hip hop artist Baco Exu Do Blues.

There have been two Grand Prix in Entertainment for Music before, though one typically goes to a marketing-centric campaign and the other to recognize creative achievement in a music video. But this year, the dual Grand Prix was awarded because the jury was “split right down the middle” and the fact that each entry provided two different perspectives on issues of systemic racism.

“This Is America” took a more Westernized, artful approach to representing the ways racism can be seen in American society and culture, while “Bluesman” used the album release to draw more direct attention to the struggles faced by Black Brazilians, who face a range of different inequalities (like lower earnings and higher incarceration rates) despite making up the majority of the population.

No Canadian work converted their shortlist spots in the Entertainment Lions into one of the 27 trophies awarded. The Grand Prix in the category went to UM for “5B,” a documentary about the first hospital ward for HIV and AIDS patients in San Francisco, commissioned by Johnson & Johnson.

Jury president Scott Donaton, global chief creative and content officer at Digitas, said the Grand Prix winner, as well as the whole body of awarded work, showed that entertainment marketing had become an established part of the toolbox, instead of something brands simply dip their toe in, noting that it was well-suited for “brave” work and taking a stand in order to connect with consumers over shared values (a recurring theme at this year’s Lions). But he added that he would have liked to have seen more work that made use of emerging technology, like AR and VR, to tell stories in new ways.

None of the 10 Canadian entries in the new Entertainment Lions for Sport made the shortlist. Jury president Steve Stoute, founder and CEO of Translation Enterprises, said the jury was keenly aware during its deliberations that it would be setting the standard for what would be awarded in the category going forward.

“Beyond just being of a high standard, there was a true emphasis on the relationship between the brand and the marketing initiatives,” he said. “In an effort to win awards, a lot of times, [sports-related] work is sponsored, but there’s no true connection between the brand, the purpose and the actual effort. We were making sure the strategic underpinnings, as well as the creative, and the brand, stayed tight.”

The Grand Prix in the category went to “Dream Crazy” by Nike. The campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick (which also took the Grand Prix in Outdoor on Monday) was praised by Stoute for “embodying” the same boldness it asked of viewers through the choice of which athlete it chose as its spokesperson (while overall sentiment for the campaign was positive, the ad triggered significant backlash against Nike among those who disagreed with Kaepernick choosing to protest by kneeling during the national anthem).