Cannes Winners 2014 – The Golden Roundup

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Now that we’ve all recovered from our Cannes hangover (or the Cannesgover, as I call it), we can look with less bleary eyes and spinning heads at the award-winning campaigns. Whether it’s leveraging a brand through humour or bringing a serious issue to light, here is a selection of the most creative ads which made a splash with audiences and judges alike.


Sweetie is a ten year old Filipino girl. She also doesn’t exist. “Sweetie” is, in fact, a simulation of a ten year old girl, created by Lemz for Terre des Hommes to track down predators engaging in webcam child sex tourism. Winner of the Grand Prix for Good, along with twelve Golden Lions, the Sweetie campaign has led to over 1,000 arrests all over the world, and has reached over 1 billion people. Just as importantly, Sweetie has fostered conversations around the often overlooked issue of webcam child sex tourism; many governments are now implementing more effective ways to prevent and punish this increasingly prevalent form of child abuse as a direct result of the exposure the campaign received.

The Autocomplete Truth

Search engines can be a tad annoying at times, as their well-meaning algorithms rush to finish your sentences for you. Memac Ogilvy Dubai made this the starting point for The Autocomplete Truth, a campaign for UN Women which showcased the widespread prejudices that are still held against women around the world. For instance, a sentence which begins “Women need to”, would be completed with “be put in their place”, in a text box placed over the image of a woman’s mouth. The Autocomplete Truth won a Titanium Lion, a Gold Lion for PR, and two Gold Lions for Promotion and Activation, and jumpstarted the stalled debate over gender equality across social media, TV and radio.

If Only For A Second

“You know what I miss the most? Being carefree.” So says cancer patient Katy A. Being carefree, she remarks, is the first thing you lose when you are diagnosed. The Mimi Foundation, in partnership with Leo Burnett, decided to invite 20 patients to a studio, where they were given an over-the-top makeover. They were instructed to keep their eyes closed throughout, and to open them in front of a one-way mirror, with a photographer behind, who would capture one pure, carefree moment. The campaign won Silver Lions for Branded Entertainment, Internet Film and Social Video.


Whether you love it or hate it, there is no doubt that you know the tune to Pharrell’s “Happy”, and that is in no small part down to the folks at Iconoclast, who came up with the idea of a 24 hour music video to launch the track. The crowdsourced video concept was simple; show us where you’re happy. People from all over the world submitted their own music videos, a large portion of which Pharrell himself didn’t even see until he sat down with Oprah. The 24 hour music video won the Grand Prix for User Experience, along with five Gold Lions and one Silver.

Travel Yourself Interesting

Seeing more of the world can make even the most boring person interesting. This was the logic behind Ogilvy UK’s “Travel Yourself Interesting” campaign for Expedia, which took a series of exceptionally dull statuses from Twitter, and made them interesting by turning them into short online films in global locations. So comedian Matt Smith, reality star Jessica Wright, athlete Louis Smith and chef Rachel Khoo found their tweets spray-painted across the sides of Parisian taxis, or spelled out across the Hollywood hills, or fed to lions in the form of meaty letters. Each film tapped into the belief that travel is a life-enriching experience, and prompted people to tag their own “boring” tweets with #TYI. The campaign received the prestigious Cannes Lions Creative Effectiveness Award.

If We Made It

Droga5’s “If We Made It” film for Newcastle Brown Ale stars Anna Kendrick in a spoof behind-the-scenes featurette for a Super Bowl beer commercial that was never made. Kendrick plays a cynical, potty-mouthed, money-grabbing version of herself in a monologue which pokes fun at the brand’s inability to actually say the words “Super Bowl”. By piggybacking on a major sporting event and positioning themselves as an underdog without the resources of a big brand, Newcastle Brown Ale reached 1 billion total impressions, received widespread press coverage, and won one Gold and three Silver Lions.

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