If you exist anywhere in the advertising world, your feed over the last couple of weeks has undoubtedly been inundated with Cannes Lions highlights - ‘Top Ten’ megahits, panel recaps, and ‘hot trends’. From the most awarded campaign to the most awarded agency to the most awarded film - It’s all about the top dogs. You’ve cried at the Red Cross film, chuckled at the Tide commercial, marvelled at the Palau campaign and been mesmerised by FKA twigs.
Instead of talking about all that again, we decided to do a deep dive into the underdog section, scouring the Cannes website* in the unsexy ‘unawarded’ category. Despite the lack of trophies, these folks took a risk and submitted and we think they’re worth a watch for that. In this vast award category, there are many noteworthy, inspiring, conversation-starting films.
So here are a few from around the world we found that are worth a watch. And the awards we think they should have taken home.
1. Best usage of zombies:
Wilkhahn Japan + Tyo Drive Tokyo - The Sitting Dead.
Great sound effects that keep you watching. Amazing makeup and even clever choreography integrating the product. It’s so weird, but so good.
2. Most charming talent:
Secret + Wieden+Kennedy Portland - Secret Brendan
Because who hasn’t aired out their pits with their car’s air condition vents?
3. Slowest Product Reveal:
Dulux + Boys and Girls Dublin - The Invincibles.
A few Irish old folk waxing poetic about the ocean and its mind-cleansing properties - clearly an ad for a deck stain. Dulux took a risk on this, making a brand film that wasn’t about the brand (at all). And I like that.
4. Most effective use of autocorrect:
Portuguese Film Academy + FCB Lisbon - Kitchen
An entirely unexpected ending in a 30 second spot is always welcome, even if it is an entirely creepy ending.
5. Most Unlikely Narrator:
AFL + Clemenger BBDO Melbourne - Don’t Believe in Never
For a film about Deema, it sure features her dad a LOT. But I can picture the editors loving this character so I get it- a gregarious guy who’s great on camera and has strong opinions and memorable lines. Dad took up so much space in the video, and honestly I can’t decide if I love or hate this guy. I certainly won't be forgetting him any time soon.
6. Most expensive ad that didn’t win an award:
Westpac + DDB Sydney - Help When It Matters
The hyper elaborate production design, extensive casting, incredible hair, make-up, and wardrobe, and even the staging of a birth with a baby that actually does look like a newborn.
It was an ambitious ad from every angle, and call me practical but honestly, as a consumer, I don’t necessarily need such epic conversation with my bank. I can appreciate the apparent zeal behind the creative I suppose
7. Best Musical Composition:
Reckitt Benckister + Weiden+Kennedy London - I Love Doing Dishes.
The characters are caricatures. The song is whimsical and the special effects are endearingly obnoxious.
8. Biggest Missed Opportunity:
Western Union + McGarryBowen London - The Race is On.
With the best of intentions (girls empowerment), Western Union gets a bit clumsy with this ad (the girls actually seem pitted against each other in the race).
Girls viewing each other as competition rather than collaborators is an age-old problem. The world certainly doesn’t need more visual examples of it, as striking as they may be.
9. Most Relevant to my own personal life:
Baby Dove + SapientRazorfish New York - Dove Baby
I know, I know. This isn’t about me. Or is it? I have an 8 month old so when I’m not submerging myself in Cannes entries, I’m changing nappies, smashing pumpkin for child consumption and trying to figure out how to wash my hair. So this was refreshing.
10. Most Inspiring/Best Keanu Reeves appearance:
Squarespace + Reset Content Santa Monica - Make It
I was utterly confused the entire time. I still am if we’re being honest. But I’m a sucker for absurdity. And the desert. So Squarespace, hats off to you for this randomness.
*If you’re interested in doing your own scouring, you can access the Cannes website and all the campaigns with a free trial till the end of July.