Brand your CONTENT at Cannes and entertain!

Brand your CONTENT at Cannes and entertain!

The task of creating or naturally integrating original content for a brand that is entertaining and engaging for the audience was not an easy task to accomplish. No Grand Prix handed out this year.

The application requirements for Branded Content and Entertainment category were to create creative content that leveraged a single media channel, such as web video or broadcast, or that used multiple platforms to deliver content to audiences across various channels, including: radio, magazine, books, gaming, music, video, mobile, social, blogs, experiential events, and more.

Many had to deal with the gala’s bitter lesson; this category marked a fruitless end to the Cannes International Festival of Creativity: as there was no Grand Prix winner announced. The situation is not that tragic though, the jury gave out 16 Gold Lions to shortlists. David Lubars, president of the branded content and entertainment jury and BBDO chief creative officer, said Saturday that the jury ultimately decided not to award the Grand Prix because there was no single piece of category-defining work that people will be thinking about in the years to come. Many of the entrants just slapped a logo onto something without any larger narrative or natural partnership – said David. As the competition is over, everyone can decide on its own if the judges were too strict, or no one could actually fulfill the ‘mission’.

Patricia Weiss, Chairman and founder of BCMA South America who had been among jurors for the Branded Content and Entertainment category last year, stated that she appreciated winning works of 2014 for depicting great stories that helped humanize brands. Creating ‘lovebrands’ demands a lot of work and creativity, however the effort pays off as it paves a path right to the hearts of people. The audience is likely to cheer for meaningful stories. The new “touch point” for brand strategy is not about media, multi-platforms, or product-oriented stories. It is about creating compelling, human stories that connect people with brands, for marketing besides boosting sales involves another important factor: human connection.

There were plenty of socially stimulating projects that had managed to raise awareness of masses, thus most of them were awarded with a Gold Lion. Let’s check them!

Who does not remember the The Ice Bucket Challenge campaign that had been spreading with mind-blowing speed on Facebook and Twitter. The project was entered and carried out by The Als Association founded by three ALS patients living in the US. The result of their initiative is: 17 million films, 440 million people engaged in 159 countries, 10 billion video views. And last, but certainly not least, over 220 million dollars raised for the Als Association making it the largest medical fundraising campaign in history. The Hiv+ Issue of Vangardist Magazine by Saatchi & Saatchi Switzerland had been a thoughtful idea described earlier in one of our articles. The Gun Shop of States United To Prevent Gun Violence by Grey New York tried to raise attention to the fact that owning a gun increases the risk of homicide, suicide and unintentional death.

A highly creative concept of DDB Spain, Holograms for Freedom was worked out with No Somos Delito (We Are Not Crime) to present hologram-protesters to act against the new "citizen security" law in the country, which places limits on freedom of expression, and specifically freedom of protest.

The Marathon Walker of Water For Africa by Ogilvy Paris introduced a Gambian woman walking through the Paris Marathon showing that women in Africa have to walk a marathon-distance every day to obtain clean water, as there are no wells in the region. Another noble, awareness-raising video, 805 Million Names was created by Forsman & Bodenfors for United Nations World Food Programme where Zlatan Ibrahimović used his celebrity status as a platform to bring attention to world hunger. He tattooed starving children’s names on his body to expose the case through his chest to the public after hitting a goal on a match between Paris Saint-German and Caen at Parc des Princes.

A very creative and funny fund-raising idea was brought forward by Grabarz & Partner, Ggh Lowe through their Nazis Against Nazis, Germany’s Most Involuntary Charity Walk campaign. Ready-to-march Neo-Nazis of a small German town found themselves the target of an anti-fascist prank and inadvertently raised €10,000 for an anti-extremist organization. Without the marchers’ knowledge, local residents and businesses sponsored the 250 participants of the march. For every meter they walked, €10 went to a programme that helps people escape extremist groups.

The cuteness-overload category Gold winner is Monty’s Christmas produced by adam&eveDDB for John Lewis Partnership featuring Monty, the penguin, who conquered thousands of adults’ and children’s hearts around Christmas. Thanks to 32 million views on YouTube and Facebook, Monty toys were sold out in three days. The toys were to support WWF, resulting in penguin adoptions rise by 600 %. Monty’s rivals in charm were Media Markt’s rabbits. The Fluffy Contest or Easter’s Rabbit Race managed to reach 250 million people via net and raised Media Markt’s Facebook engagement by 259 % while also brought 18,2 % customer growth. Not bad of a rabbit team!

L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius by McCann Paris felt somewhat out of the context, as it simply displayed an app for trying on cosmetics. No good cause, no awareness-raising ideas, just juicy, pinky lips. Well, if approximated from a purely economic standpoint, the result was incredibly impressive; 10 million app downloads, 25 million looks tried on using 65 million products.

There had been numerous inspiring works submitted that didn’t receive Gold Lions, albeit worthy to be mentioned. Soundcloud’s The Berlin Wall Of Sound by Grey Germany marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with an incredibly effective sound mix, awarded with Silver. Don’t Die For Me of Vida Mujer’s NGO by Circus Grey was a true goosebump-creator concept that took a new approach to shedding light on violence against women - had to settle for a Bronze. Intel and Dell had entrusted Robert Stromberg and Pereira & O'dell with creation of spectacular series; What Lives Inside – not going further than a Bronze either.

The below rankings show that creating an earth-shattering content is still a very difficult task for most agencies. The category had been introduced only two years ago, hence no wonder it needs some time to find its icons. To the question how do jurors even define this category now? David Lubars offered the following answer: "The thing about this category to me is that it's not even a category anymore - it transcends. It's just how the world is now."