I’m sure you’ve read enough by now about the Gold and Grand Prix winners, so I’m going to put those aside for this post and instead call out some of the silver and bronze winners that I believe deserve some recognition. Big global brands are also being put to one side here in favour of calling out those you may not have heard of, but that have nailed some of the core principles of a great content and publishing strategy.

Reactive publishing

In the social + influencer lions a Bronze was awarded to ‘That look from Popeye’s’ – the reaction to the Beyonce x adidas Ivy Park collection that saw the US fast-food chain shooting and selling its staff uniforms.

This was reactive publishing at its best. While we had a similar response in the UK from Sainsbury’s, what I enjoyed about Popeye’s was how much it committed by creating a website and putting a limited number on sale to get the news out there. Very limited, I imagine, as the site is no longer active, but it certainly helped get the headlines.

Made for the platform

I pretty much can’t have a conversation about the best TikTok campaigns without mentioning this one. The beauty brand e.l.f needed to grow its awareness amongst Gen Z and create recall for what the acronym stood for – #EyesLipsFace. This was back in 2019 which of course feels like a decade ago, especially in TikTok terms, but it was the first campaign that really embraced what makes the platform unique by commissioning a bespoke track.

#EyesLipsFace has become the blueprint for a successful TikTok brand campaign, and perhaps if these winners had been picked back in 2019 it would have scored higher than a Bronze for setting the agenda.

Problem solving

Filled by Palsy is a campaign from APCL – the Portuguese Association of Cerebral Palsy. Built on the insight that Portuguese people are not taking the opportunity to donate 0.5% of their tax return to an NGO because they don’t know how, a team of Palsy accountants were trained to help with the process. This campaign picked up a silver in Creative Strategy because it so clearly solves a problem with a great insight at its heart. 

Authentic influencers

We talk all the time about the importance of authenticity. The Good Morning World campaign from Tourism New Zealand really sums this up. Ok, so it might seem unrealistic that all kiwis are starting their days zorbing or jumping out of a plane, but there is something very charming about hearing from the people of New Zealand about what’s on offer in their country. There is a tendency when looking at a tourism brief like this to first think ‘who has the audience to influence the people in our market’ so it’s refreshing to see this one thinking differently and earning a silver lion in the process.

The beauty of Cannes is that you discover the campaigns you didn’t know about – not because they didn’t make an impact, but often because you aren’t the target audience or the right market. This year was very different – a double-bill and a masterclass in running a virtual event, but that discovery was just as prominent as ever.