The best Media Lion winners were tech-enabled creative ideas

The best Media Lion winners were tech-enabled creative ideas
Cannes Lions 2024 | Opinion

This year’s Media Lions received 1,888 entries, from which 60 Lions were awarded by the jury. Jem Lloyd-Williams, one of the judges, discusses some of the key trends.

This year’s Media Lions gave me a fantastic opportunity to review work from every corner of the world, with more than 300 entries making the shortlist.

All the winners had some element of smart technology, but very few had it front and centre. The standouts had tech in the background, integrated (often by hard work and innovative thinking), which the end user didn’t see but could really feel and benefit from.

There was particularly strong representation from South America and the Grand Prix was awarded to “Handshake Hunt” for Mercado Libre by Gut São Paulo.

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

As Brazilians hit the internet during Black Friday 2023, the retailer launched a clever awareness campaign of its various promotional discounts.

Many of the winners were solving consumer problems with an element of purpose. “The Inflation Cook Book”, a gold winner by Dentsu Creative, is a great example.

Media Lions inflation cookbook v2

An inflation-fighting grocery-shopping tool designed to help Canadians take inflation out of their shop, the agency created an algorithm that monitored weekly price changes, tracking more than 400 ingredients and identifying which items were up or down based on the previous week. Users could personalise their shopping based on location, family size and budget.

While none of the components has never been seen before, put together they really helped Canadians spend less on groceries, with an estimated total saving of $21.8m, while also helping them eat healthily — and all with the brand at the centre. Genuine creative media thinking with great execution. And it’s scalable too.

Other great examples took a flaw and turned it into a media benefit or even a new media channel. We all loved Rethink’s silver-winning “See My Name” campaign for Molson, with media by Wavemaker Toronto.

Media Lions Molson

It recognised that women have a harder time making a name for themselves in sports and it’s not helped when their hair often covers their names on traditional jerseys.

So Molson, sponsor of Canada’s professional women’s hockey league, sponsored the space above the numbers, forcing a jersey redesign that moved the players’ names lower down, allowing them to be seen. By sacrificing brand recognition for player recognition, Molson helped to increase visibility.

The activation itself required only a small budget. The campaign caught fire and media attention, and Molson sales increased 5.8%.

Challenging the status quo

Elsewhere, lots of winners challenged — or circumvented — the status quo in user-friendly ways to open up new media channels.

Gatorade “Match Saver” by Springtime in Argentina, with media by UM Buenos Aires, won a bronze for a peer-to-peer app connecting amateur teams missing a player with those who really wanted to play. Teams could search for a player by selecting the sport, day, time and location of the game.

Through geolocation, they received notifications for games within their specified distance range, and if there was a match, they were connected. By saving a match, the app pinpointed the location and unlocked Gatorade coupons to share with the team.

It was launched with digital content, sports influencers promoting the campaign and an activation with former athletes saving their first matches: a full-funnel mobile experience targeting people who wanted to play.

“The Unnoticeable Whopper”, by Buzzman Paris, was pure inspirational thinking — so simple, so clever, so impactful, with fun thrown into the bargain.

Only two cases had AI as the main execution. We were all pleasantly surprised there were that few.

There was some good charity work too. “The Big Shake Up” by Havas Düsseldorf for Aktion Deutschland Hilft did well: simple, but really hard to execute.

I was personally thankful for such a well-organised process that ensures you have to be fair to all the shortlisted entries and that they all get airtime to be debated and pondered over. Having a really diverse jury helped with that.

I leave Cannes weary but content.

Jem Lloyd Williams squareJem Lloyd-Williams is CEO of Mindshare UK

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