The Most Amazing things I saw in Cannes

SMG CEO and two-time Media judge Lauren Richards shares her final impressions from Cannes.

I have continued to see some really amazing things because, after all, it is Cannes, so it’s impossible not to.

Upon reflection of what I saw judging the Media category, I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of the most amazing entries had one important element in common: they connect and engage with their audience on a deep level as they offfer an interactive connection to their communication. The listener/viewer/reader is pulled right into the marketing initiative because they are encouraged and, ideally, inspired to get involved. I am going to provide examples of this with Outdoor, Newspaper, Digital, Events/Stunts and in the product category of Fast Moving Consumer Goods.

The South African Zimbabwean newspaper ‘Trillion Dollar Campaign’, already reported on, was very involving for the audience, encouraging them to take away a part of the outdoor campaign by helping oneself to a piece of the useless paper currency or by being given the currency by way of a flyer.

The amazing Gold Newspaper winner from Brazil for Nissan was very interactive. An initiative was launched with O Estado de Sao Paulo, one of Brazil’s largest newspapers, by way of launching with a blank page on their Sunday edition. Subscribers were encouraged to upload their favourite pictures of their family, pets, vacations, whatever they fancied, and the paper delivered their personalized edition the next Sunday – with their own pictures and personal stories on the front cover!


The T-Mobile ‘Dance’ case from the UK was so captivating because it completely involved a random audience and illustrated how they can want to share your messaging. The start of this magical communication piece began when a single train commuter started dancing. Moments later hundreds more joined in, including members of the general public. The public took out their phones and shared what they’d seen with calls, texts, photos and videos. The Sun newspaper described it as an ‘epidemic of joy.’ The dance became a TV commercial 36 hours later. It was simultaneously launched on T-Mobile’s YouTube channel and spontaneously shared around the world. It was so loved it became new digital outdoor, radio, print and poster and retail POP.

The Gold winning Cyber cases were also all about the audience getting involved with the advertising. The fantastic ‘Whopper Sacrifice’ case where a new Facebook app was created was another perfect example of this observation. Crispin created an immediate movement – delete a friend, given that most users have so many ‘friends’ that aren’t actually friends and trade them in for a Whopper! It was such a sensation, 80,000 people joined the crusade in 10 days, sacrificing over 200,000 friends before Facebook took issue due to the sheer number that were deleting friends. And most importantly, a client and an advertiser found a brilliant way to engage in the challenge of penetrating the social media environment.

Kit Kat

The Grand Prix from Japan for Kit Kat was very consumer-involving as well. Kit Kat sounds like the Japanese phrase Kitto Katso, meaning ‘surely win.’ The agency approached the newly privatized post office to co-develop the first-ever consumer product. The post office and the product itself became the ambient media. They created a Kit Kat congratulations product that parents and relatives could send to Japanese students in their very stressful time of exam preparation. Overnight, 20,000 new retail locations offering Kit Kat materialized. PR coverage exceeded $10 million. In addition to the students, Nestle and the post office ‘surely won’ by engaging their consumer on a new and differentiated level.