Canada strikes out in Media at Cannes

Our country comes up short once again in the Media, Mobile and Outdoor categories, while agencies from Brazil, Peru and Australia take the top prizes.
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By Val Maloney and Emily Wexler

We hope Canada can break this pattern soon. Our country once again came up short at the Lions awards ceremony in the Media, Mobile and Outdoor categories.

When asked why Canadian work fell short in the Media category, jury president and IPG Mediabrands global CEO Matt Seiler said a few of the projects had been seen before in similar iterations by other brands, and had been executed in ways that used more touchpoints and got wider distribution.


None of the eight shortlists for Canada in the Media category turned into Lions, with all of the previously awarded campaigns shut out of the festival.

The Grand Prix in the category went to McCann Lima and its “Happy ID” project for Coca-Cola in Peru. Aimed at digging into the insight that people in Peru never smile for their government ID cards, despite no rules that tell them to keep a straight face, the agency placed smile-activated photo booths for people to use for their government identification. If people smiled for the photos, the machine would dispense a free Coca-Cola.  Seiler said the campaign was great because it showed how media can be everywhere in today’s society, even government ID cards.

Seiler said the jury voted for the first time this year using individual tablets, aiming to avoid the rumours about media agency holding group collusion that have plagued the category. He added the jury was voting based on three main criteria: insights, execution and results.

Media Network of the year, which is awarded to the group that has the most points from Lions wins went to Starcom MediaVest. Second place went to PHD and third to OMD.


Canada didn’t win any Lions for the two nominated projects; the “Kringl” app by Zulu Alpha Kilo for Make-A-Wish Foundation and Ubisoft’s “Watch Dogs Live” campaign, with Publicis Montreal behind creative and PR, and ZenithOptimedia handling media.

The Grand Prix in the category went to FCB Brasil for its “Protection Ad” campaign for Nivea. Combining print and mobile, the project aimed to help parents at the beach to keep track of their wandering kids. The campaign started with a print ad that featured a reusable tear-out bracelet with a location tracker in it for a child to wear. That bracelet was activated through an app from Nivea that would send an alert to parents when the child wearing the piece went out of range.

Mobile jury president Jaime Robinson, executive CD at Pereira & O’Dell, said the winning project was the perfect meeting of media, brand message and audience. She added that it made the smartphone “smarter” by enhancing the capabilities of otherwise “dumb” physical objects.


It was the same story for Outdoor, with none of the six Canadian nominees making the cut.

The Grand Prix went to Australian bank ANZ, which turned ATMs into “GAYTMs” as part of its support of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Agency Whybin\TBWA Group Melbourne decked out ATMs in jewels and colours, and the machines even printed rainbow-coloured receipts. It made headlines around the world and resulted in over 62 million impressions, and while ATM receipt rolls usually last a week, the first rainbow GAYTM roll lasted only an hour.