Mercado Libre scoops Cannes Lions Media Grand Prix for idea that ‘delivers in the now’

Mercado Libre scoops Cannes Lions Media Grand Prix for idea that ‘delivers in the now’
Cannes Lions 2024

At a Cannes Lions defined by near-constant discussion of AI, data and technology, it was only fitting that the top Media Lion winner was chosen for its ability to “lead technology to reinvent what television looks like”.

Independent media agency Gut São Paulo was awarded the Media Lion Grand Prix for its Black Friday campaign, “Handshake Hunt”, for Brazilian retailer Mercado Libre.

Prerna Mehrotra, Media Lions jury president and chief client officer and CEO, media, at Dentsu Asia-Pacific, wanted to reward ideas that “challenged the status quo” and described her reaction to the Grand Prix as “ohmygod”.

Media Lions jury v2
Mehrotra (left) with Cannes Lions CEO Simon Cook


The campaign took the concept of Mercado Libre’s logo — the handshake — and applied it to TV using inserted, exclusive QR codes.

Gut tracked over 2,000 handshakes across programming on Brazil’s largest TV channel, TV Globo, and paired each one with a QR code.

When scanned, it would bring users to Mercado Libre’s website to access Black Friday sales that were contextually relevant to the show being watched. For example, if a user had been watching a football match and saw two players shake hands, a QR code would pop up that would take consumers to a sale for trainers.

The campaign ran for the 45 days leading up to Black Friday and resulted in Mercado Libre’s best-ever Black Friday performance. It reached 80m people across 7.8bn impressions and drove a 14% increase in app and website sessions compared with the same period a year earlier. Black Friday sales improved 80% on the day itself, with the use of coupons more than tripling (+283%).

Mehrotra said the decision to award Mercado Libre the Grand Prix was ultimately unanimous, despite an “intense discussion” by a diverse jury.

“We wanted to look at an entry that spoke about the future of the media and was using technology and data insights in a very powerful manner,” Mehrotra added. “We need to be able to deliver in the now, as businesses are in distress.”

Mercado Libre beat two key runners-up: SkipTheDishes’ “Inflation Cookbook” and CeraVe’s popular Super Bowl campaign “Michael CeraVe”. The latter won the Grand Prix in the Social/Influencer category.

Mehrotra said she was “glad to see [CeraVe] won in another category” and noted it was part of a trend this year that saw campaigns use a “plus model” strategy of “media plus creativity plus social plus experience to gain consumer attention”.

She described three additional trends among the shortlisted nominees that stood out this year: technology was “invisible” despite being felt; unexpected opportunities enhanced media moments; and brands “reinvented the codes of communication” with media placed at the centre of the idea.

Low UK presence

It was not a strong performance from the UK.

The UK took home three Media Lions, with “If You’re into it, it’s in the V&A” — created by Adam & Eve/DDB, with media handled by PHD — landing a gold and a silver. Adam & Eve/DDB also won a bronze for Pot Noodle “Sorry for Slurping”, which has not been attributed to a media agency.

As well as the coveted Grand Prix, Mercado Libre’s campaign also picked up one silver and two bronzes.

In the 2024 Cannes Lions, a total of 60 prizes were awarded in the Media category, comprising 10 golds, 19 silvers and 30 bronzes in addition to the Grand Prix.

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