Japan and China are well-represented, with each country appearing three times in the shortlist, which in 2015 contains a broader range of innovative initiatives including ad-tech platforms and models (see curated shortlist below).
Last year, only five APAC entries made the shortlist, with two from Japan and none from China.
This year, the three China entries comprise of almost a tenth of the shortlist. Baidu's submission is the only stand-alone technological solution not in association with a brand or campaign, unlike DDB (for Volkswagen) and Cheil (for Friends Of Nature).
People have long been fascinated with innovation that comes out from Japan. But China is a newer market that people have a great deal of genuine interest in. Apart from the sheer scale of China, that recent interest has been stoked by the emergence of the market's creativity as well as technological innovations.
The reality of China is that it is on a learning curve, Terry Savage, chairman of Lions Festivals, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. Looking back to history when China won one bronze Lion in 2007, to now when China's economic mandate is about "internal consumerism", the opportunity presents itself for China to be more creative to meet this mandate, Savage said.
"From the visits I make to China, the market is increasingly showing an awareness of the value and need of creativity, and I think that would continue," he said.
Chinese technology companies such as Baidu (which is shortlisted for its smart chopsticks) have not been historically associated with Cannes Lions, but last month, the same work won gold at the 42nd One Show awards in New York.
"We are going to see them [Chinese tech companies] start to emerge on a wider scale and I suspect people will be surprised at their ability to do things well and fast," said Savage.
Here is a list of the Asia-Pacific entries shortlisted for Cannes Innovation (full shortlist available here):
|Category A01: Innovative Technology (including Stand-alone, Technological Solutions not in Association with a Brand or Creative Campaign)|
|FENCING VISUALIZED||SPORTS BIZ CO., LTD.||FENCING VISUALIZED||DENTSU INC. Tokyo||JAPAN|
|EYE PLAY THE PIANO||THE UNIVERSITY OF TSUKUBA’S SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOLS||A UNIVERSAL PIANO SYSTEM CALLED “EYE PLAY THE PIANO,” WHICH ENABLES A USER TO PLAY PIANO WITHOUT USING HIS HANDS OR ARMS, BUT ONLY WITH HIS EYES||HAKUHODO KETTLE Tokyo||JAPAN|
|BAIDU KUAISOU||SMART CHOPSTICKS||BAIDU ONLINE NETWORK TECHNOLOGY (BEIJING) Beijing||CHINA|
|PEPPER||SOFTBANK MOBILE CORP. / SOFTBANK ROBOTICS CORP. / ALDEBARAN ROBOTICS||COMMUNICATION PARTNER ROBOT||DENTSU INC. Tokyo||JAPAN|
|Category A02: Creative Innovation (including Business Solutions in Association with a Brand or Creative Campaign)|
|CLEVER BUOY||OPTUS||THE WORLD'S FIRST SHARK DETECTION BUOY||M&C SAATCHI Sydney||AUSTRALIA|
|THE FACE OF LITTER||HONG KONG CLEANUP||HONG KONG CLEANUP||OGILVY & MATHER GROUP HONG KONG||HONG KONG|
|KINETIC ENERGY SHOE||GREEN CROSS||THE SHOE THAT GENERATES POWER WITH EVERY STEP||DDB GROUP VIETNAM Ho Chi Minh City||VIETNAM|
|PENNY THE PIRATE||LUXOTTICA||STORYBOOK AND APP WITH INTEGRATED CHILDRENS EYE SCREENING||SAATCHI & SAATCHI Sydney||AUSTRALIA|
|CLEAN AIR IN A BOX||VOLKSWAGEN GROUP CHINA||CLEAN AIR IN A BOX||DDB CHINA GROUP Shanghai||CHINA|
|LIFE SAVING DOT||TALWAR BINDI||LIFE SAVING DOT||GREY GROUP Singapore||SINGAPORE|
|REDUCE SPEED DIAL||VOLKSWAGEN||REDUCE SPEED DIAL||COLENSO BBDO Auckland||NEW ZEALAND|
|REBIRTH AFTER READING||FRIENDS OF NATURE||FADING INK||CHEIL Beijing||CHINA|
The shortlisted entrants will present live in front of an audience of delegates and a 10-person jury, which will interrogate the makers about their work before further discussion and voting for metal. Winners will be announced at the concluding awards ceremony on Friday, 26 June.
For the rest of us, let's make do with a few online presentations:
CLEAN AIR IN A BOX:
REBIRTH AFTER READING:
BAIDU SMART CHOPSTICKS:
A stronger trend toward solutions for global issues has been observed by judges this year. This energised altruism is something which Nick Law, jury president and global CCO of R/GA, attributes to the growing role of creativity as an agent of change.
“A creative culture with the courage to imagine a better future will reshape an industry and the world," he said in a press release. "These Lions are a measure of our industry’s appetite for innovation, and our collective ambition to effect change, not just react to it.”