Ted Lim
Jun 29, 2016

Cannes 2016: If the strategy is wrong, the creative cannot be right

Titanium & Integrated Lions juror Ted Lim picks apart the Grand Prix victors and explains why they were worthy winners.

Cannes 2016: If the strategy is wrong, the creative cannot be right

Of the 26 Grand Prix awards handed out at the Cannes Lions 2016, Asia got two. Dentsu Inc won the Design Grand Prix for Panasonic 'Life Is Electric'. Mindshare Mumbai picked up the Glass Grand Prix for Hindustan Unilever '6 Pack Band'.

I was on the Titanium and Integrated Lions jury chaired by Sir John Hegarty and we had the opportunity to look at some of the best work that was also entered in other categories.

We awarded the Titanium Grand Prix to REI's '#OptOutside' for its brave strategy.

REI, the outdoor supplies retailing chain closed all 143 of their stores on Black Friday, America's biggest shopping holiday and urged people to join them outdoors instead. This contrarian thinking created widespread discussion on social media and was covered by major news networks and publications, drawing attention to REI and away from shopping. Over 150 businesses followed REI’s lead and hundreds of parks opened their gates for free. #OptOutside earned 6.7 billion media impressions, 1.2 billion social impressions and inspired 1.4 million people to spend Black Friday outside.

The Integrated Grand Prix went to Netflix's 'House of Cards – FU2016', one of the bigger ideas this year that was perfectly rolled out on air, on ground and online. 

It hijacked the US presidential elections and became the top trending topic on Twitter and Facebook during the Republican debate. People could say “FU” to any issue facing America at FU2016.com. The campaign received extensive coverage on major news networks and received 6.6 billion media impressions. It captured the imagination of the public and proved that fiction can be more powerful than fact.

DB Export's 'Brewtroleum' won the Outdoor Grand Prix with an extraordinary proposition to New Zealand men to save the world by drinking beer.  

DB Breweries, the beer company created the biofuel Brewtroleum from the yeast and grain left over from making beer. The more DB Export New Zealand consumed, the more Brewtroleum got made. 3.3 million beers were purchased; 300,000 litres of Brewtroleum produced and sold at 60 filling stations across New Zealand. Sales of DB Export increased by 10% in a declining market, making it the country’s fastest growing beer brand.

All three campaigns employed a brave, unconventional strategy (if the strategy is wrong, the creative cannot be right). '#OptOutside' and 'FU2016' hijacked major national events to draw attention to themselves. 'Brewtroleum' got a beer company to make and sell fuel in order to sell more beer (try selling this idea to your beer client).

All three campaigns went beyond the advertising conventions of creative expression and execution. 

All three campaigns started conversations on social media, caught the attention of major news networks and captured the public’s imagination. All 3 posted positive results (try the Print and Design categories if you don’t have any). All 3 were packaged well and told well. 

Ted Lim is chief creative officer for Dentsu Asia-Pacific


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