Cannes Lions 2021: Day 4


Malaria No More and Dentsu Present: History in the Making - End Malaria Now

Panel: Daniël Sytsma, Global Chief Design Officer, Dentsu and Isobar, Láolú Senbanjo, Freelance, Kate Wills, Malaria No More UK

A strong and sophisticated campaign, End Malaria Now, shows how much the power of collaboration, innovation, and purpose can achieve, reports Simona Zykaite, Senior Research Executive in MediaCom’s Global Insight team.

The session explored the different elements that made this an impactful, global campaign. It began by creating the campaign in Africa with a team led by Africans. According to Kate Wills: “Ninety per cent of campaigns on Africa originate in Western markets and therefore often miss resonating with the core audiences.”

As Láolú Senbanjo points out, words can have different connotations in different regions. He explained: “The word tribal is very problematic. It always depends on who’s using it as to what it means because for a lot of us colonised, where we come from in Nigeria, that word is very heavy and has racist connotations.”

For Daniël Sytsma, to develop a campaign that resonated with big audiences, they needed to start with Africa and understand the sentiment. “That is how we can come up with a campaign that feels authentic and African-led.”

Strong and diverse collaboration between people from all walks of life, with different skillsets and mindsets, were also essential. Wills said: “You cannot end the world’s oldest, deadliest disease as one small charity. It’s all about bringing people together and bringing passion, determination and collaboration.”

These partnerships enabled the team to pick the right approach: the use of technology, the ecosystem of celebrities, influencers, and local people, and the right elements of culture that would resonate and engage.

“We knew that young people were living through malaria and didn’t believe we can end it,” says Sytsma. “The biggest takeaway is that the campaign worked, with 70% of young people believing that malaria can be eradicated.”

For Alexandra Pavlova, Innovation Product Lead, MediaCom Moscow and GroupM Digital Solutions Lead, who also attended the session, the key takeaways were:

  • Cultural uniqueness was one of the most emotional elements of the campaign, and it was vital in creating empathy and understanding.
  • Ambassadors and influencers were more effective than official media and journalists in pushing out the message.
  • A truly global campaign should pull in teams from across the world to find the emotional triggers that work for different regions and countries.
  • Merchandise is key to social campaigns as it allows different organisations to get involved and show their support.


The Mobile Lions Debrief

By Sam Learmonth, Global Art Director

Even in this strangest of times - when reliance on digital has been stronger than ever - the number of mobile entries has only risen by 4%.

It is important to remember that Cannes isn’t necessarily a barometer of advertising or society, but what the advertising and media industry chooses to focus on.

Netflix and AKQA won for their Brazilian Stranger Antenna campaign, which combined modern tech with nostalgia - a perfect fit for the ‘80s-set series Stranger Things.

Based on the insight that Brazilians used to wrap steel wool around their TV antennas to aid reception, customers could gain access to special show previews by holding wire wool against their phones. A nice, light fun idea that worked (with steel wool sales up 17% too).

Another featured winner was the Pedestal Project, a campaign for racial justice organisation Color of Change. A VR app allowed users to “fill” the empty pedestals of removed Confederate statues with CGI statues of Civil rights figures. An interesting idea, a great cause and impressive engagement.

Telenor Pakistan made a tangible difference with their Naming the Invisible campaign, which significantly boosted birth registrations. Nearly 60 million people in Pakistan don’t have an official identity, which excludes them socially, economically and politically.

Telenor developed a mobile app that made it much faster and easier to register people and empowered local health workers, teachers and clerics in the hardest-to-reach rural areas to register children in their communities.

The registration time was reduced from 72 hours to ten minutes, and 1.2 million children were registered. It unanimously won the Grand Prix, and it demonstrated the democratising power of mobile.

The Creative eCommerce Lions Debrief

The overarching theme of the Creative eCommerce Lions this year was commerce everywhere, according to Global Data Strategist, Tom Kelly.

Faced with the challenge of digital-only transactions, brands pivoted into untried and untested environments – in some cases for their survival.

However, even amid such extreme business conditions, brands dug deep into their values and expressed them in a way that provided support for both small businesses and the communities that they serve.

It is a category where promotions and conversions prevail as the dominant focus. Still, the entries and winners demonstrated that the expression of these brands could not be decoupled from their function to sell products, representing “a better normal”, as the judges put it.

There was a huge increase in work related to social behaviour and removing friction for communities.

Roadside Market from Mastercard Romania was one such campaign. It was developed to help Romanian farmers go cashless.

It partnered with Waze to support farmers by providing visibility through a customised icon, which drivers could navigate towards to purchase produce.

Winning a Silver Lion was FCB Inferno for its Raising Profiles campaign for The Big Issue, where it recreated the vendor sales model digitally by partnering with LinkedIn.

The Big Issue is a magazine that offers employment opportunities to people in poverty and vendors rely on personal interactions to sell the title. During the first UK lockdown, sales went from 80,000 magazines a week to zero, prompting an overhaul of their distribution model.

LinkedIn was identified as a platform for vendors to recreate their neighbourhoods digitally, based on the majority of their customer base being corporate professionals. This new model improved the interactions to sales from 1 in 50 to 1 in 10 and gave vendors new digital skills.

ABInBev won a Grand Prix for Tienda Cerca, with their in-house agency draftLine in Bogota.

This campaign represented the theme of big enterprises supporting smaller businesses, with eCommerce at the core. With 23% of corner shops closed in Columbia during the pandemic, it was a problem for ABInBev beer brand Bavaria which generates 40% of its total sales volume through this channel.

To overcome this challenge, draftLine built a hyper-local marketplace called Tienda Cerca, enabling customers to order from their local store and purchase through WhatsApp.

The new platform drove 10 million visits in 60 days, which led to a US$1.2MM sales increase and was scaled to nine countries across Latin America.

Daily Wrap-Up

Vanessa Newkirk, Global Head of Platform Activation, Blink Consulting.

Day four moved on to awards for Innovation, Radio & Audio, Mobile, Creative Effectiveness, Brand Experience & Activation, eCommerce, and Business Transformation.

Brave Acts through Creative Business Transformation

A new award category this year, French supermarket chain Carrefour and Marcel Paris’ Act for Good, won the Grand Prix.

Act for Food is about its journey to ecologically sustainable food production, which is good for customers, the environment and the business.

This ongoing transformation is a brave move by Carrefour as it shifts from a price-based model to one of quality for consumers – and in doing so meant the company had taken a financial risk.

The key takeaway from this new category is that transformation is far more than a campaign but a formative shift in business. It has set the bar for future award entrants and winners.

Pivot to digital experiences & acts of good

It’s hard to ignore the impact the pandemic had on all the work, and the Brand Experiences and Activation category was no exception.

In another first, the Czech Republic and its agency Znamkamarda won their first-ever Gold Lion for the Anticorruption Hackathon.

The agency organised a hackathon for coders to build an eCommerce platform for a public company in 48 hours, saving millions of dollars in taxpayer money that otherwise would have been handed to a private company.

We also saw a pivot to digital experiences and rewarding acts of good in the mobile division through the work of Wunderman Thompson Bangkok and Thai Airlines.

The Stay Home Miles Exchange saw the airline turned its mileage programme on its head by rewarding people with miles for staying home.

The Business Impact of Creative Work

The Grand Prix winner Nike’s Crazy Dreams, created by WK Portland and featuring Colin Kaepernick, is already multi-award winning. It uses Nike’s core values in a creative and meaningful way to reconnect with younger audiences.

Shifting Experiences

The past couple of years have been transformative in many ways to business, industry, and cultures. We see this reflected in our experiences and how they are brought to life.

Actress Reese Witherspoon made an appearance at the festival to speak about shifting the narrative of women’s experiences through her production company, Hello Sunshine, and how it’s important to bring different perspectives and authentic experiences to life.

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