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Who won big at Cannes? Deconstructing the Grand Prix winners

by | Jul 5, 2023

Cannes 2023 is in the bag, and the trend-spotters’ radar is tweaking with all sorts of post-show theories about what’s shaping up in medialand to be the next big thing.

Canada’s Globe Media Group picked up on the re-emergence of fun campaigns that stray far from the cause marketing path, while Edelman honed in on PR/earned media being back on trend.

Were you there? What did you think the judges and the various guests put under the spotlight this time? I’m always keen to hear what people take away from Cannes – I’ve been a judge in the PR category and a mentor for the Young Lions as well as running a stage least year! What was your take?

One of my favourite things to do every year, of course, is to take a look at the Grand Prix winners. These are the gongs for outstanding creative work in everything from film and outdoor to pharma and data. The crème de la crème of creativity.

In this post and the next, we’ll be looking at some of the winners from Cannes Lions 2023 – 34 Grand Prix were awarded across 31 categories, starting this time with two of our favourite categories PR and innovation…

Cannes 2023 – PR Grand Prix Winner

The Self-Love Bouquet, from DoorDash (Gut agency)

Valentine’s day guarantees an overdose of marketing activity from a million relevant (and 10 million less relevant) brands, so if you’re going to stand out, you need to be bold.

DoorDash, the American food and grocery delivery service, did exactly that with a campaign that raised eyebrows (in a kind of blushing, self-aware way) all over America.

The idea: 42% of DoorDash users are single. So why not give them a happy Valentine’s day with the delivery of a bouquet of roses… that also contained a vibrator? Entitled the Self-Love Bouquet, it contained 11 red roses and one Rose sex toy, “the most popular women’s sex toy of the last 5 years.”

The delivery: Tackling a “taboo” head on, the LA office of the Gut ad agency chiselled the Self-Love Bouquet idea to perfection – and won global media attention. Bouquets reportedly sold out in multiple US cities.

The result: 794 million total earned impressions, and, they chuckle, thousands of orgasms (and counting). The Cannes judges, meanwhile, loved it for being relevant and for initiating conversation.

It has all the ingredients of a classic (earned) PR campaign:

  • A fresh take on a ‘calendar day’- the media want to write about key diary dates so there’s a relevant ín’
  • Tapping into self-love on a day when most brands celebrate couples 
  • A slightly spicy/taboo topic for the media to get into
  • Engaging visuals
  • Playful and frivolous at a time when cost of living etc is what’s associated with food delivery

Take a look at the Self-Love Bouquet case film

The PR Gold Lions winners

Home, for Nike, by Wieden + Kennedy, London

Fighting to Remember, for Zikaron Baslon, by McCann Tel Aviv

The Postponed Day, for LALCEC, by Grey Argentina, Buenos Aires

Apologize The Rainbow, for Skittles, by DDB, Chicago

Where to Settle, for Mastercard, by McCann Poland, Warsaw

Runner 321, for Adidas, by FCB Toronto

Cannes 2023 – Innovation Grand Prix winner

Mouthpad, from Augmental (Wunderman Thompson)

The Innovation gongs at Cannes are typically given out to agencies that have been involved with mindblowing new products; they are as much for the product itself as the creatives who bring these inventions to the world’s attention.

But full credit to Wunderman Thompson for their work with tech company Augmental. The acclaimed global agency managed to bring Augmental’s new device to an audience of… wait for it… 1.3 billion people. 

The idea: Every year, between 250,000 and 500,000 people worldwide suffer from spinal cord injury, which often leads to greatly impaired motor skills. The challenge for tech company Augmental was to create a tongue-enabled controller that fits into the mouth, allowing for easier use of tech.

The delivery: Mouthpad leans on the tongue’s incredible dexterity to allow users to play video games, hang out online and interact with a variety of connected devices. Wunderman Thompson’s clout and finesse in delivering the story ensured coverage everywhere from Tech Crunch to CNN.

The result: 200k organic impressions in the first week, rising to a total of 1.3 billion media impressions. Plus, of course, heightened awareness of spinal cord injury.

Next time on the blog: the Creative Business Transformation and Creative Strategy winners.

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