The biggest creative names in marketing, media, and technology convened in France this week to attend the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, a weeklong event in its 62nd year.
92 countries submitted a record 40,133 awards entries this year into dozens of creative categories including PR, experiential, digital, innovation, outdoor and creative effectiveness.
There were 1962 entries just for PR alone (though many of these great pieces of creative work wouldn’t be seen as ‘PR campaigns’ if measured by the parameters of most other PR gong shows but that’s a whole other story)
We sifted through the full nominations list to bring you 60 of our favourite campaigns.
In an attempt to get gamers to quit smoking, Swedish organisation A Non Smoking Generation created an advice “clinic” to target the youth directly inside the gaming environment of Minecraft.
An innovative way to target kids without deploying the predictable shock tactics.
Airbnb: Sydney Mardi Gras
Airbnb gace one lucky gay couple the chance to not just see the parade but to be in the parade.
The brand created a special home ‘float’ for the Sydney Mardi Gras for the competition winners to live in complete with balcony, picket fence and beer on tap.
Air France: Luxury taken to new heights
Air France unveiled the all new La Premiere Suite – the epitome of luxury air travel.
For the Singapore launch the airline transformed a pod on the Singapore Flyer – the largest observation wheel in Asia into the Le Premiere Suite giving the public and media a chance to experience the style and comfort of travel 165 metres above the city skyline.
American Greetings: The World’s Toughest Job
American Greetings card store successfully piggybacked the mothers day news agenda stateside by placing fake adverts for ‘the worlds toughest job’ online and in newspapers.
They then held video conference interviews with candidates capturing their amazed reactions when they realised the job they had applied for was one they already excelled at ‘being a mother.’
Retweets from Gwyneth Paltrow, Chelsea Clinton provided brand endorsement they could only dream of.
ASB: The Best Ball Boys In The World
With some of the world’s best tennis players coming to Auckland, New Zealand, sponsor ASB fun unleashed some adorable pups – ‘the world’s best ball boys’.
Banco De Chile: The Group of Death
In the 2014 World Cup Chile ended up in the ‘group of death’ alongside the World Champions and runners up from 2010.
To help lift the nation’s spirits, Banco de Chile, the official sponsors in Chile, embarked on a mission to lift the nation’s spirits.
They did this via the only group of Chilean people who had ever defied death – gathering the 33 miners who got trapped underground at San Jose to reconvene at the very same spot for a stirring and emotional motivational speech.
Banplus: The Unforgettable Account
In Venezuela the numbers of patients with Alzheimers disease increases every year. But donations don’t. One of the reasons is that the people who most want to contribute don’t remember how to.
Step in Banpuls (a bank in Venezuela) who created the world’s first unforgettable bank account to help the donation process along.
The bank had to defy its own tech systems in order to encode a number consisting only of zeros.
In just a few weeks the unforgettable account helped raise more money than any campaign in the history of the foundation.
Bartendr – World’s First Bar For Pregnant Women
Bartrendr a social app that lets you compare bars wanted to launch in the most crowded media metropolis in the world – New York City.
Instead of promoting the app they promoted the launch of an fake bar called GESTATIONS – New York’s first bar for pregnant women.
The shock strategy worked promoting 100,000+ app downloads and millions of media impressions.
BBC Worldwide: #BigStig
Disclaimer: We read 1900 award entries to pull this list together so we are allowed to include 4 of our own entries OK!
Taylor Herring helped BBC Worldwide launch new channel BBC Brit with a spectacular road trip across Europe.
Black Label Bacon: The Hog That Runs On Hog
The American renegade spirit. It does what is wants. It loves bikes. And bacon.
Black Label Bacon crafted the world’s first motorbike fuelled by bacon grease, took a road trip across America and made a documentary about it.
The best part? Even, the bike’s fumes smell like bacon.
Burger King: The Proud Whopper
Burger King made a bold proclamation in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community with the launch of a specially packaged burger.
The “Be Your Way” project was created in San Francisco, where a limited edition “Proud Whopper” burger was added to the menu to coincide with the city’s annual Pride festival.
Customers who ordered the “Proud Whopper” found that the burger was the same as a classic Whooper, but came wrapped in a rainbow-colored wrapper with the inscription, “We are all the same inside.”
Crocs: Mid-Air Shoe Store
Shoemaker Crocs showed off their new lightweight sneakers with a drone store.
Shoppers were able to select a pair of shoes on an tablet screen and attempt – with the help of a magnet – to grab hold of a pair and carry them back to a waiting basket.
Dominos – Vibes – A night to feel the music
Dominos Pizza created ‘Vibes’ – a fully integrated concert for the deaf as part of their new tagline: ‘oh yes we did’.
Special wooden floors were built to enhance vibrations, calibrated speakers at floor level, balloons and beach balls transmitted vibrations alongside special bracelets and a wall projecting live feeds. Russell Harvard interpreted the live performances as the bands played.
For 70% of attendees it was their first ever concert experience and their delight was shared across social platforms. The idea will soon be rolled out across the world.
Dolmio: Pepper Hacker
In order to promote conversation during family mealtimes pasta sauce brand Dolmio invented a pepper grinder that blocks wifi while you use it.
The Dolmio Pepper Hacker was launched in Australia, where research has found that the average household owns around twelve communication devices. It is becoming more difficult to connect with family members during mealtimes due to the distraction of technology.
Dubai Police: Supercop Cars
Dubai’s police force were kitted out with a fleet of 190mph super cars to fight car crime and boost Dubai’s brand image along the way.
Exit-Deutschland: Nazis Against Nazis
Neo-Nazis gathered in a small German town found themselves the target of an anti-fascist prank this week when they inadvertently raised €10,000 for an anti-extremist organisation.
Without the marchers’ knowledge, local residents and businesses sponsored the 250 participants of the march. For every metre they walked, €10 went to a programme called EXIT Deutschland, which helps people escape extremist groups.
Farm Pride Foods: Free-range billboard
Farm Pride launched an outdoor campaign that demonstrates how exactly free range their eggs are.
The campaign used real LIVE footage from one of Farm Pride’s free range farms in Central Victoria and displayed the video feed (with nothing to hide) on Melbourne’s biggest digital poster site.
Florida International University: Miss Hivaria
Florida University wanted to raise awareness of HIV amongst its students.
Knowing that the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant was taking place on campus they created a fake Mis Universe Contestant – Miss HIVARIA.
The fake contestant was the voice of the people of Hivaria, a fictitious country that represented the world’s HIV population.
The model featured widely in media interviews leading to an increase of 352% in HIV testing amongst students.
Fox Poland: Do Something Good Before you Become A Zombie
Fox Poland launched their latest season of Walking Dead by teaming up with the organ donation foundation to redesign their membership cards – after all if you become a zombie then you won’t be needing your organs!
The quirky campaign resulted in 5000 new organ donor sign ups and a national news story tied to the series launch which smashed all expected targets.
Ikea: Experience The Power Of A Book Book
The home store launch their new catalogue by piggybacking media interest in the iPhone6 launch.
They also opened a B&B in store in partnership with Airbnb.
Johannesburg Salvation Army: How a Meaningless Dress became Meaningful
The South African brand of the Salvation Army hijacked the worldwide meme around #TheDress by staging a quick turnaround marketing campaign that refocused a frivolous debate in to a powerful discussion on domestic violence.
The real issue of being beaten ‘black and blue’ came to the fore in the campaign which was released just days before International Women’s Day.
Kagaome: Wearable Tomato
A Japanese vegetable juice company designed a ‘wearable robot’ that dispenses tomatoes for marathon runners to eat while on the go.
The barmy invention promotes the nutritional and fatigue beating qualities of the shiny red fruit.
KLM AIRLINES and AIRBNB
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the world’s first airline to partner with Airbnb offering Airbnb accommodation with every destination on the airline’s website.
The partnership was launched by creating a luxury loft style apartment on a retired passenger jet.
The lucky guests got to run free in 4,000-square foot space decked out with a master bedroom, seven bathrooms, a private cinema, two fully-equipped kitchens and even a play area for children.
Lego: Reborn Statues
When two statues of artists were stolen from Hungary’s Avenue of Artists and there was no money for their replacement, so Lego replaced the two busts with exact replicas, built out of Lego bricks.
McDonalds: Serving Hipsters since 2014
“What happens when you serve McDonald’s food to some experts and pretend it’s a new organic meal?” ask pranksters Sacha and Cedrique.
To answer this question they went to a organic food fair in Houten, Netherlands, armed with disguised McNuggets and Big Macs.
Mollie Biggane Melanoma Foundation: Free Killer Tan
Mollies fund boosted awareness of the dangers of melanoma on a tiny budget by creating a fake indoor tanning salon which offered customers a free ‘killer tan.’
Once inside the unsuspecting tanners discovered they were actually at their own funeral as the tanning bed transformed into a casket.
MSC Cruises: Shiphorn Choir
The cruise line MSC wanted to grab people’s attention during the world’s biggest port festival in Hamburg.
The horns aboard the ship were tweaked to play The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army with spectacular effect.
Oscar Mayer: Wake Up And Smell The Bacon
A meat company digitised America’s best loved smell – the scent of sizzling bacon by creating the worlds first branded alarm clock infused with a bacon scent delivery.
PAF.COM: Experiment Alone
Gambling brand PAF focus on games that require participants to play together.
They created an online TV series ‘Experiment Alone’ to prove that its ‘more fun when we play together.’
The core question – what would it feel like to experience something alone that you normally share with others?
The ultimate test featured Bob Dylan in concert and playing to his single biggest fan in an otherwise empty auditorium.
Paddy Power: Hawking Talking
Taylor Herring engaged the mathematical genius and theoretical physicist to lead a month long study delving into the science of England’s World Cup performances and the best (scientific) way to take a penalty.
Queensland Health: If You Smoke Your Future’s Not Pretty
A pop-up makeup booth travelled Queensland’s coast giving regular women a ‘make under’ to demonstrate the real effects of smoking on physical appearance.
Former Miss Universe Australia Rachael Finch joined in the campaign by uploading a photo of herself ‘made-under’ to Instagram.
Quiksilver in Japan designed the True Wetsuit, a wetsuit that looks like an actual suit.
The True Wetsuit is made from neoprene and a stretchy “dryflight” fabric. There’s even a tie.
Red Cross Antwerp: A Disastrous Press Conference
The Belgian public were starting to take the Red Cross for granted so the company staged a unique press conference that would remind the nation of its importance.
The journalists would encounter a massive car pile up accident en route which had been specially built as the backdrop to the media event where the media were explicitly confronted with the importance of the work the Red Cross does.
Reebok Stockholm: Be More Human
In February, Sweden’s capital Stockholm underwent a major escalator meltdown across its entire subway system that lasted for weeks.
In the spirit of the brand’s new tagline ‘be more human’, Reebok engaged a local cross fit team equipped with nothing more than a sponsored t-shirt to help carry people, pets and luggage up the stairs.
The initiative cost less than £2k and reached 40% of the Swedish population
The Samsung SlideLiner gave Australian Rugby fans a chance to win a money-can’t-buy seat between the grandstand and the pitch during the 2014 Castrol Edge Rugby Championship.
The couch on rails was built to travel along the sidelines at speeds of up 20kph.
Samsung: S5 Pulse Challenge
Samsung Switzerland launched their S5 – the world’s first phone with a built in heart rate sensor by creating the ultimate challenge – keep your heart rate under 100bpm to win the phone!
Contestants were subsequently thrown into myriad scary situations in an attempt to stay cool and walk off with a S5.
Sky Atlantic: Fortitude
Sky Atlantic asked Taylor Herring create an intriguing spectacle to drive excitement and intrigue around their hotly anticipated arctic crime drama ‘Fortitude’.
States United To Prevent Gun Violence: The Gun Shop
States United To Prevent Gun Violence opens a “gun store” in NYC as a hidden camera social experiment to debunk safety myths.
Smart Car: The MONSTER-Smart
Witty campaign to launch the new smart car in Germany where the company tapped into fears that the new smart car would get bigger by releasing teaser videos and images that suggested the new version would in fact dwarf most 4 x 4’s and be the ‘biggest city car’ ever produced.
Cue lots of online chatter, headlines and engagement before Smart let everyone in on the, joke…
Smart: The Dancing Traffic Light
An interactive installation in Lisbon aimed to encourage pedestrians to wait until it’s safe to cross the road by making the traffic lights “dance” using motion capture technology.
Social Tees: Puppy Love On Tinder
Social Tees Animal Rescue hoped that some of the 10 million users browsing through Tinder daily looking for love will love fall in love with their dogs’ profiles instead and bring one home for adoption.
Sony: Underwater Store
To launch their latest underwater phone the Japanese electronics giant opened the Xperia Aquatech Store, the world’s first underwater store, at The World Islands off the coast of the Dubai.
SSU: Never Forget To Vote
Sweden’s Social Democratic Youth Organisation engaged an unlikely brand ambassador to remind younger voters to use their vote in the EP elections.
Rainer Hoess, the grandchild of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess fronted the asset rich campaign which included a film, a digital protest march and interviews.
The 48 year old found out the truth at school, when he was just 12 years old. He couldn’t understand why the school’s gardener, a Holocaust survivor, didn’t seem to like him, and a teacher told him the truth.
Today, Hoess, who sports a Star of David round his neck, is committed to fighting right-wing extremism.
SOS Children’s Villages Sweden: Guilt Trip Sunday
SOS Children’s Villages is a Swedish charity dedicated to helping worldwide children in need.
Their Mother’s Day campaign bought many of the key issues a little closer to home by engaging eight celebrity mums and their kids and staging pictures which imagined the celebrity children as they could have looked had they been born somewhere else, with no mother and without a chance.
Sport Clube Do Recife: Security Moms
Brazilian club Sport Club do Recife attempted to end supporter violence at the club’s home games in the most innovative way – by employing 50 mothers of football hooligans to act as stewards.
The mothers were trained by the club and patrolled the pitch in high-visibility vests bearing the words Seguranca Mae – Security mums.
Sportsbet: Three Little Bets with One Very Big Return
Australia is the world’s biggest betting nation and a hugely competitive environment for betting brands.
Sportsbet stole a march on the competition by engaging national cricket hero Sharne Warne to be the subject of three very silly bets – to take 50 paintball shots, to fight a professional kick boxer and to face his fear of spiders.
The result? A series of irresistible pictures and videos that were covered by every major TV channel in Australia.
Last year the company floated a 46m high Christ the Redeemer statue over Melbourne to promote their World Cup betting book.
Taxi Stockholm: Taxi Therapist
Cab drivers often have to listen to peoples issues and problems so Taxi Stcokholm jumped on this insight to position themselves as a brand that really cares about its customers.
Enter the Taxi Therapists – a new service which could be booked online where a qualified therapist sits with you for the duration of your journey!
The Book of Everyone: Three Pregnant Dads
How could a tiny American personalised gift company compete against the giants of the gift world in the run up to Mothers Day?
The 3 founders became the story when they decided to each wear 15kg pregnancy bellies day and night for a month in the run up to mothers day to honour motherhood.
The world followed as they blogged their stories at 3pregnantdads.com
Twingo Stiletto: The first High Heels made for driving
Renault was launching the latest TWINGO and decided to target a female audience, previewing the car at fashion events.
They created news around the launch by engaging top designer Luis Onofre to design and create the first stiletto especially designed to be comfortable and safe for driving.
TV’s “dishiest drama actor” gets a chocolate makeover for Easter – created by Taylor Herring to celebrate launch of TV channel Drama on uktvplay.co.uk
UNICEF: Toys in Mourning
In Paraguay, 4 newborns die every day from preventable causes.
Unicef teamed up with Asuncion toy stores to highlight the issue by staging toyshop window takeovers for one day only featuring ‘toys in mourning.’
The toys were dressed in black with the message ‘A baby changes your life; a death also. Join #zeropreventabledeaths
The campaign helped infant deaths decline by over 50%.
Possibly our favourite campaign of all we’ve listed here….
Chiquita bananas are an established brand in Japan but only rated 4th in terms of market share.
Cue a campaign that used bananas as a canvas for a series of amazing artworks which helped the brand notch up 1.2 million YouTube views and jump to third position.
Vauxhall: Pick Yourself Up
Artist Alex Chinneck teamed up with Vauxhall Motors for their project ‘Pick yourself up and pull yourself together’ which saw the new Corsa suspended 15 feet in the air while still attached to the road at London’s Southbank Centre.
Wendy’s New York: Boyz II Men Made Love to Your Tweets
Customers were so distraught when Wendy’s took their limited time only Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger off the menu that they took to Facebook and Twitter to beg for its return.
Wendy’s took their love torn testimonials and tuned them into a love song and video worthy of airplay, performed by R&B legends Boys II Men.
The sandwich is now permanently on the menu…
WWF Russia – Wild Tattoo
The WWF wanted to highlight the core issues facing wildlife to a younger audience.
They achieved this by engaging the best tattoo artists from around the world to create a series of unique animal designs featuring species that were on the verge of extinction.
A website was created where people could book a tattoo, make a donation or sign up for more information.