Cannes Lions 2021: Day 1


Burger King and Jones Knowles Ritchie presents: How To Be Yourself (but Way Better)

Panel: Lisa Smith, Creative Director, Jones Knowles Ritchie, Sara Hyman, CEO North America, Jones Knowles Ritchie, Paloma Azulay, Global Chief Brand Officer, Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Horton’s, Ellie Doty, CMO, Burger King

Brand refreshes are notoriously difficult, but a brand refresh when you’re one of the world’s most famous food brands is particularly difficult. Margo Howie, SEO Account Director, reports.

For Burger King, a refresh was an opportunity. Their creative agency Jones Knowles Ritchie had the insight that “to improve perceptions, design is a great place to start”.

Visually Burger King was all over the place, starting with a logo that Ellie Doty admitted was “very ‘90s.” Trying to get back to the brand’s identity involved total immersion on decades of brand history – eBay was trawled for vintage memorabilia, old ads were studied like deep sea scrolls and many jingles were hummed over Zoom calls.

Jones Knowles Ritchie came up with four core principles for the new designs: they had to be mouth-watering, playfully irreverent, big and bold, and true. How do you make a mouth-watering design scheme? Look for the “melty cheese” yellow when you’re next at a Burger King.

The biggest decision for the rebranding would turn out to be the simplest. After discovering that the older, name-squished-between-buns Burger King logo still had sky-high levels of awareness among the public, they revisited it.

Released in January 2021, Burger King calls their revived design “the old logo...but with its eyebrows done.” The retro logo symbolised the whole “why” behind the rebrand: to eliminate everything that wasn’t Burger King and keep what was.

Despite the agency’s fears that the change would have negative backlash (“people don’t like change”), it ended up having a positive effect above and beyond most design changes.

The new logo led to 1.1 billion impressions in a week, and users reacted to the juicy-looking new burger with unabashed hunger. Intention to visit and purchase Burger King went up – even in a pandemic. That’s a mouth-watering result.

WARC Effectiveness Show

WARC has been busy of late, landing with a bang at Cannes on the opening day with its Effectiveness Show, reports Phillip Dyte, Global Strategy Director.

In fact, it’s the inaugural Effectiveness Show. The urgency for such a commitment stems from Peter Field’s stark 2019 warning that ‘an orgy of short-termism’ was creating a doomsday scenario for creative effectiveness, with advertising returns declining from 12:1 to 4:1 in the period 2008-2018.

The subsequent pandemic has done little to alleviate this ‘vanishing act’, as survival-mode marketers pushed budgets into performance and eCommerce at the expense of longer-term brand-building.

In any event, the existential fear that marketing communications is irreversibly losing its power has led WARC, as presenter and Head of Content, David Tiltman, put it, to ‘put the spotlight on what is working and why’.

The judging for the category also used WARC’s still-new Creative Effectiveness Ladder alongside more conventional metrics – effectively scoring all entrants twice.

There were six categories and six Grand Prix Winners.

For my favourite, I am torn between McDonald’s Travis Scott Meal (Collaboration & Culture category) and Aldi’s From Shame to Pride (Sustained Growth category), but I think Aldi takes it.

This campaign faced up to its problems; the case study video even references how “your mum shops at Aldi” was a not-uncommon playground insult.

The sequential series of messages and objectives that unfolded from that were therefore logical and deliberate, building on each other and culminating in an ambitious effort to take fair share of the Christmas occasion – previously a no-go territory even among Aldi loyalists.

It’s a great case study in long-term effectiveness, showing how realism does not need to mean pessimism – provided you can turn it into a powerful plan.

Daily Wrap-Up

Eleanor Russell, SEO Performance Content Manager, wrapped up the opening day of this year’s Festival.

It was an exciting first day at the Cannes Lions, and, despite COVID regulations, Cannes Lions host Juan Senor was still keen to present the awards from much-loved points of the city. “As we cannot be here together in Cannes, I will do my best to bring Cannes to you”, he exclaimed.

Charlotte Williams, VP of Content for the festival, provided a quick recap of the first day and selected her top picks from the day’s sessions.

Her first choice was the collaborative campaign, Sick Beats by Woojer and Spotify. They worked with FCB Health Network’s Area 23 to create a unique Spotify-powered vest that helps children with cystic fibrosis clear their lungs while listening to music. It scooped the Pharma Lion Grand Prix.

Anne de Schweinitz, President of the Pharma Lions jury, said of the work: “A stand-out piece that really paves the way for the innovative use of tech in this category. It’s more than a campaign; it’s something that will change lives”.

Williams also highlighted:

  • #StealOurStaff from TBWA\London, which received a Silver Lion in the Health and Wellness category for its combination of inclusion and authentic humour.
  • ‘Motherland Pride’ by Saatchi & Saatchi, winning a Silver Outdoor Lion for its brave and ingenious move to defend LGBTQ+ rights by turning Ukraine’s famous Motherland statue into a symbol of freedom.
  • H&M Looop’ from AKQA, which won a Cannes Design Grand Prix in for its innovative recycling system that reduces the amount of clothing sent to landfill.

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