Promo activations celebrated at Cannes Lions

Published on 28 June 2017

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Cannes Lions Awards

Thousands of people from nearly 100 countries working in creative communications, entertainment, design and tech descended on the South of France in June for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Since 1954 it has been the place to find out where the industry is heading and a celebration of advertising creativity.

The Lion is recognised as the award to win. From film and digital to promos and PR, the Lions honour the best creative work of the year across branded communications. Here are our favourite experiential and promo activations that took home this year’s top prizes…

Fearless Girl statue

Fearless Girl for State Street Global Advisors won a staggering four Grand Prix awards in the Titanium, Glass, Outdoor and PR categories. Created by McCann New York, Fearless Girl is the bronze statue of a girl that stands defiantly across from the iconic Wall Street Charging Bull.

The Titanium award is for work that is disruptive and irreverent, and that fits Fearless Girl, said jury President Tham Khai Meng, co-chairman and worldwide chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather. “We also wanted to award what the world loves.” He added that Fearless Girl goes beyond an ad and will be a permanent icon. “It’s about time we stand up for women, and not just women. It’s fighting against fear. Especially in a world riven with fear.”

Fearless Girl promo activation

Boost Your Voice promo activation

The Boost Your Voice campaign by 180 L.A. for Boost Mobile aimed to help minority communities get their voices heard during the U.S. presidential election by using the mobile provider’s shops as polling booths. Boost says that the idea is the first time a brand has offered up its private retail outlets as election polling booths. On top of that, on election day Boost’s employees volunteered to man the voting sites.

Boost Your Voice picked up the top prize in the Integrated and Promo/Activation category. “We felt the new integration is about transcending intermedia and really integrating into culture and society,” said Jury President Tham Khai Meng.

The promo activation was also selected as the winner in the Promo & Activation category because “it’s not only about promoting a store; it’s about promoting human values and promoting that you can change your future if you decide to vote,” said jury president Stéphane Xiberras, president and chief creative officer of BETC.

As a unique and effective example of promotional activation, the campaign also won Campaign of the Year in AdAge’s Creativity awards earlier this year.

Whopper ad spot

Back in April, the fast food chain created a TV advert that served as a hack for Google Home. The ad featured the phrase “OK, Google, what is the Whopper burger,” which triggered any Google Home device within earshot to start reading aloud from the Whopper Wikipedia page. The hack essentially ended up turning the 15-second advert into a 30-second advert — without the additional ad spend. The promo activation was both invasive and effective at the same time, with one jury member calling it “the best abuse of technology.” The campaign, developed by agency David Miami, won the Grand Prix award in the Direct category, as well as a gold and a silver.

For more details about these and other winners, check out the Cannes Lions website here.