Notable Out-of-Home Work from the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

by James Heller

Wrapify wasn’t in Cannes this week for the annual global advertising awards festival, but we’ve been paying attention to what’s been competing, short-listed and winning in the Outdoor category.

The Grand Prix winner in Outdoor was certainly unconventional, and the fact it was environmentally friendly and cause-related probably helped. The campaign was Heineken beer in New Zealand, and sought to show how the brewery is helping the environment by transforming its leftover beer into biofuel.

Heineken partnered with Kiwi gas provider Gull to create the biofuel product, which was then sold at 60 gas stations across New Zealand. If you bought the beer brand at participating stations, you got a discount on gas.

The OOH element was that the gas stations actually became billboards to advertise the product. It seems a rather remote connection for such a major award, but jury president Ricardo John told AdAge that "There are no boundaries in this category anymore,” and the campaign effectively gave people a good excuse to drink more beer, because “if you drink more beer you can save the world,"

The complete list of Outdoor Lions (because a “Lion” is what they call the award, like an “Oscar”) can be found here. Checking out the official winners and short-list page, a couple things jump out at us:

  • It’s a shame you can’t enlarge any of the examples of the winning work, because many of them are too small to read or discern what was award-worthy about the work to begin with.
  • Much of the winning work is billboard or poster related, which doesn’t seem like a very level playing field when put up against the Heineken/Gull biofuel multipurpose integrated campaign. It seems like there should be a special category for something like that, and actually there is — the Heineken/Gull campaign was also entered in the Promo & Activation category, where it didn’t win.
  • One of the biggest complaints about the Cannes Lions is that a lot of the work isn’t even “real,” in that it barely ran or didn’t run at all. This year, Bayer pulled a two-fer when their Bronze-Award winning billboard was discovered to be both sexist and phony — an ad their own agency paid to run solely so it could be entered in Awards shows.

This final point is, to our view, the problem with advertising to begin with: It’s not about helping your client sell more stuff, it’s about garnering awards to soothe your ego because you’re not a real film director, novelist or artist.

That’s not Wrapify’s way. We’ve come up with a creative idea whose purpose is to help build brand awareness in a creative way while empowering individual drivers in the sharing economy. We don’t need awards to make our partners feel like winners — we just want to hear it from them directly 🙂

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