Having just emerged from days of being locked in a room on the PR Jury at the 66th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, we have announced the winners. Over the next few days there will be many pieces written on the trends from Cannes, questions around why this or that agency is winning an award in this or that category, and existential ponderings around ‘what it means for the industry?’.

While interesting, I thought it would be fun to give some insights around why the pieces were awarded from the perspective of a juror and the days spent discussing them in the jury room…

So, the Grand Prix winner is…

The Tampon Book: A book against tax discrimination.

Why was it chosen?

The campaign sets out the issues around taxation; one that positions a tampon unfairly as a luxury good, and items like truffles and caviar as not. It sets out to make change, and to make the world ‘just a little bit fairer’.

At its heart it is a public affairs campaign, but with creativity at its core. The campaign was chosen because of the bravery of both the client and the agency in choosing this route and because it represents a modern take on campaigning. Campaigning that combines creativity with the craft of public relations; for us it was a perfectly formed and executed public relations campaign.

The Cannes Lions is an opportunity to reset and show clients what we can do as an industry; the ability to blend public affairs with creativity so seamlessly and impactfully was magnetic to the jury. A worthy winner for the International Festival of Creativity.

There were six campaigns that followed closely behind that were all awarded Gold Lions, these were a couple of my favorites:


Wind Never Felt Better from Budweiser.


Imagine the conversation… well, we want to power all of our manufacturing plants with sustainable energy… and we want to build our own wind turbines to do it… we want to power the Super-bowl with green energy… and while we are at it, let’s change the packaging…

This campaign shows real corporate leadership and involved following through on a decision that impacts all aspects of the business. We loved it for its boldness and rigor… the blending of corporate, CSR and consumer communications into a single campaign. Truly a business to human campaign.


Harmless Guns.


You have a problem coming. The things you make are being used for something they were not intended for and as a leader in the category, your reputation and business will come under attack. That is what faced a French 3D Printer manufacturer as the conversation turned to guns being 3D printed.

Super smart, the company and agency took a proactive approach to managing their reputation but ‘hacking’ the very programs that were used to create the guns…

The other Gold Winners were:

Second Chances; Getting the California Police Department to hand out second chances… who would have thought…



The People Seat; The worlds ultimate influencer, Sir David Attenborough at his best, speaking on behalf of each and every one of us.



Big Mac 50th Anniversary; building a beautiful insight and idea around the Big Mac Index and turning into six per cent global growth in Big Mac sales.


And, finally, Perussian Prices; making a supermarket the hero of the Football World Cup (at least in the eyes of the Peruvian fans!)

And I guess I can’t write a piece without some trends so …

– Authenticity is key.

– Definitely no “cause” appropriation.

– It’s ok to be entertaining.

– Humor does cut through.

– Impact counts.

And the final thing to consider; to win you don’t have to make the jury cry… Cannes Lions is here to highlight the very best in creativity and the impact it can make in the world, whether that means selling more burg(e)rs or helping change the law.

Simon Shaw

Chief Creative Strategy + Innovation Officer

2019 Cannes Lions PR Judge.