Cannes Lions releases first shortlists for 2021

BBDO Toronto, FCB Toronto and Ogilvy Toronto all find themselves in the running for the highly competitive Titanium Lion.

Cannes Lions has released its first set of shortlists for 2021, covering three of its most competitive categories.

And while Canadian agencies didn’t make the shortlist for the Innovation or Glass Lions, three have a shot in the Titanium Lions, which recognize “game-changing creativity” that breaks new ground with bold ideas.

BBDO Toronto landed on the shortlist for “Parkscapes,” a campaign for the Regent Park School of Music that enlisted students to create an album full of samples. Every time one of those samples is used – like one was for Taylor Swift’s “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” – any royalties, licensing fees or residuals generated is sent back to the school, creating an ongoing form of funds for as long as the songs are played or streamed.

FCB Toronto earned a shortlist mention for the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s “Project Understood” campaign. Collaborating with Google, the campaign aimed to recruit people to help train the AI that powers voice technology and address one of its major shortcomings: it has difficulty recognizing the speech patterns of people with Down syndrome.

Also on the shortlist is Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” campaign. While entered by Ogilvy’s London office, it collaborated with Ogilvy Toronto to create the  campaign, along with a host of local production partners. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agencies helped Dove extend its “Real Beauty” campaign to frontline workers, with close-up shots of faces covered in sweat and marked by PPE, casting them as signs of courage.

The winners of the Innovation Lions will be announced during a virtual ceremony on the morning of June 24, with Titanium and Glass winners announced the following day.

Titanium Lions

BBDO Toronto
Regent Park School of Music, “Parkscapes”

FCB Toronto
Canadian Down Syndrome Society, Google AI, “Project Understood”

Ogilvy Toronto
Dove, “Courage is Beautiful” (with Ogilvy London)