Cannes Predictions: The 13 Ads Bound For Glory At Adland's Biggest Show

Culled from the Leo Burnett predictions list, the front-runners for Cannes Lions wins.

The International Festival of Advertising Creativity, aka Cannes, gets underway next week in the south of France, marking the end of awards season in advertising land and a time of creative stock-taking.

The festival has grown into something beyond an award show, with most major brands and media and tech companies using the event as a meeting place and marketing opportunity, and with a content track featuring names from Bill Clinton to Debby Harry, but the creative end product is still the ultimate reason for the event’s continued relevance.

Agency Leo Burnett has made it a tradition each year to release a predictions reel—a list of the serious contenders for top awards at the show.

The work on the list has become less easy to categorize, the award shows have added more categories. This year, Cannes will recognize mobile as an award category for the first time. The other categories include: Film, Film Craft, Cyber (otherwise known as digital/interactive), Titanium and Integrated, Press, Out of Home, PR, Design, Promotion and Activation, Direct, Media, Radio and Effectiveness.

Here, our picks for the most likely of top prize winners—the industry’s best work from last year and early this year.

Chipotle "Back To The Start"
The fast food chain had one of the big brand content stories of last year with this beautifully animated, two-minute film created out of CAA. The tear-jerking spot, directed by Nexus Films’ Johnny Kelly and scored by Willie Nelson’s version of Coldplay’s "The Scientist" is part of the brand’s larger Cultivate A Better World platform centered around a message of sustainable farming. It’s so lovely you almost forget the little piggies end up in the same place in the end (our bellies). The ad cut a wide swath at earlier award shows and is a lock for a big prize in the new-ish brand content category.

The Guardian "Three Little Pigs"
This spot from BBH London for The Guardian and its "open journalism" approach reimagines a childhood tale for a multi-platform, multi-device, social media world. Created out of BBH London, the spot was the first major TV effort from the media outlet in over 25 years.

Canal+ "The Bear"
The French broadcaster Canal+ has a long history of emphasizing the power of the cinema by making big, cinematic spots and had won earlier acclaim for the 2009 spot, "The Closet." "Bear" reunited agency BETC Paris and "Closet" director Matthijs van Heijningen, who recently shot the remake of John Carpenter’s The Thing) for the story of an ursine film fan.

DirecTV "Cable Effects" Campaign
Admit it. While you may not have liked these ads at first, you now look forward to each new mini-film depicting the downward spiral that all begins with a bad cable experience. Grey New York has done a great job of turning a simple idea into a campaign that sticks, with the help of comedy maestro, director Tom Kuntz.

Carling Black Label "Be The Coach"
A likely winner in the newly launched Mobile category, this campaign from Ogilvy South Africa allowed soccer fans to choose players—and even orchestrate game-time substitutions—for their beloved Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates via mobile device.

K-Swiss "MFCEO"
Agency 72andSunny rocked the sports shoe world in 2010 when it brought on Eastbound and Down’s Kenny Powers as a K-Swiss spokesman, creating some weird, wonderful cross-promotional beast that actually worked to sell shoes. Last year the agency brought back Powers, this time as CEO. MFCEO.

Intel "Museum of Me"
Featured in our recent rundown of best Facebook campaigns, this mildly creepy and wholly compelling campaign made a museum of the personal details you’ve shared via social media.

Take This Lollipop
This self-initiated project from Jason Zada, a director at production company Tool of North America uses a sweaty psycho and Facebook Connect to place horrifying and entertaining emphasis on your privacy concerns vis a vis social media.

Google Chrome "Dear Sophie"
Following in the footsteps of "Parisian Love," "Dear Sophie" was one of the spots that marked Google’s arrival as a creative advertising power. The spot, from Google Creative Lab and BBH New York, provided pure product demo while also delivering an emotional punch.

Benetton "Unhate"
Putting some of the edge back into the historically provocative brand’s advertising, Fabrica, in cooperation with 72andSunny NL, created a campaign featuring images of philosophically mismatched leaders in lip-locks. The eye- and ire-drawing posters were part of a larger multi-platform campaign that also saw the creation of the Unhate Foundation.

American Express Small Business Saturday
Always the social media and content innovator, American Express worked with Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Digitas on a marketing effort that transcended advertising and represented a bigger business-building idea and a real-world happening. The campaign continued Amex’s tradition of marketing via providing support for small businesses by creating a "holiday" devoted to those businesses and providing social media tools for businesses and shoppers.

See more from the Leo Burnett predictions reel here and read a recap of the creative year from Leo Burnett’s creative chief here.

And here, some bonus picks.

TNT "Drama:" Agency Duval Guillaume (the agency behind another stunt-based award contender that featured a theater full of bikers) orchestrated a massive stunt on a small square in Belgium. The video of the event has been viewed over 34 million times.

Kaiser Chiefs Bespoke Album Creation Experience: This Wieden + Kennedy London project allowed fans to create their own customized version of the Chiefs’ album, out of a possible 20 tracks, complete with artwork.

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3 Comments

  • Jon Pope

    Pretty much everything you listed already won either Grand or Gold(s) at the CLIO Awards so it's a pretty safe bet that Cannes will follow suit.

  • Chris Rawlinson

    Thank you for mentioning out Carling Black Label "be the Coach" Campaign. Can you please change Carlsberg to Carling though! (2 very different brands)