Cannes Lions winners down the years: 10 of the most memorable ads

With Cannes Lions 2019 now underway, the debates are in full swing about which ads and campaigns should take home the coveted trophies this year.

To remind you what they’re up against, here we look back over the last five years of Cannes and revisit 10 of the most memorable recent Lions winners.

If you’re out in Cannes this year, don’t forget The Drum has a whole host of exciting events lined up at our legendary pop-up pub, The Drum Arms. You can find out more here.



Proud long-time supporters of Gay Mardi Gras in Australia and New Zealand, ANZ Bank rolled out a brilliant brand activation campaign to mark its emergence as a principal partner of the event in 2014.

In an innovative out-of-home campaign, the bank decorated its ATMs across Australia with color, glitter and images of same-sex couples. Additionally, the machines printed receipts bearing the rainbow flag and sporting supportive messages like ‘Cash out and proud’. Reports found that while a typical ANZ ATM receipt roll on average lasted about one week, the first GAYTM rainbow receipt roll lasted just one hour.

The campaign was a viral success, drawing worldwide attention on social media from the likes of Boy George, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and George Takei.

The creative was the work of ANZ’s agency partner Whybin/ TBWA.

V/Lines- Guilt Trips

Yet another creative from Down Under, this ad campaign encouraged young people who have moved from rural Australia to big cities to return home and visit their parents.

The multimedia campaign provided parents with a free train ticket back home to send to their children, as well as an instruction manual on how best to guilt your children into visiting. This humorous work resulted in a 15% rise in ticket sales and over 160,000 train journeys home.

The creative was realized by partner agency McCann Australia.


Sport England – This Girl Can

Launched in 2015, this campaign by Sport England and funded by the National Lottery focused on celebrating ordinary, everyday women getting their daily workout in.

Set to ‘Get Your Freak On’ by Missy Elliot, the creative features videos of women of all shapes and backgrounds as they dance, run and cycle their way to better fitness. The campaign looks to celebrate women at their strongest and sweatiest, dispelling the perception that women have to maintain a perfect appearance when they exercise. The campaign went viral, receiving much attention across social media, and it was estimated that in 2016 that it encouraged over 2.8mn women to get more active.

Sport England worked with FCB Inferno in creating this campaign.

Always – Like a Girl

Signaling a departure from the standard sanitary towel ads that encourage women to be discreet and polite about their period, this ad campaign focused on pushing women and particularly young girls to be bolder.

The spot sees a group of girls and asks them what to do something ‘like a girl’ means to them, and how it impacts their behavior. While the teen girls changed their actions to be weaker and less talented at something when they were told to do it ‘like a girl’, the youngest completed the activity just as they would do naturally. The spot highlights how gendered behavior is learned and internalized as we grow up, rather than being a natural side effect of being female.

The ad promotes instilling confidence in girls at a young age, so that it will stay with them during their teen years when they are most insecure.

The ad was created by Leo Burnett and was the recipient of a multitude of awards and now has over 60m views on YouTube.


Burger King- McWhopper

To mark International Day of Peace in 2016, the pranksters at Burger King extended an olive branch to long-time rivals McDonald’s by proposing they combine their most famous burgers into a McWhopper.

Burger King took ads in The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune to promote its proposal to McDonald’s, calling for “a ceasefire on these so-called ‘burger wars'” for one day. The brand then proposed that a portion of the money raised from McWhopper purchases would be donated to NGO ‘Peace One day’, raising both awareness of the effort as well as funds for the charity. Unfortunately, McDonald’s turned down the proposal – well, unfortunately for McDonald’s at least. Burger King enjoyed major social support thanks to the proposal.

The creative was developed by Y & R New Zealand.

Swedish Tourist Association – The Swedish Number

In a move to boost tourism in Sweden, the Swedish Tourist Association decided the best way to do this would be to let the country speak for itself – literally.

The Association created a specific number that potential visitors could call and be immediately connected to a Swedish person at random. Callers were encouraged to ask questions about Sweden and receive real recommendations and advice from a real Swede. This campaign marked a transition for the country into more modern, innovative advertising.

The creative was developed in partnership with the agency, Ingo.


State Street Global Advisors- ‘Fearless Girl’

One of the most memorable brand activations from 2017, the bank’s ‘Fearless Girl’ statue was unveiled staring down the iconic Wall Street Charging Bull.

On International Women’s day 2017, New Yorkers on their morning commute were surprised to find the bronze statue facing down the bull. The statue was erected to draw attention to the continued inequality of Wall Street and saw State Street Global Advisors vow to “pressure 3,500 companies worth $30 trillion in market cap to aim for gender parity on their boards”.

The stunt was hugely successful, winning four Grand Prix at Cannes 2017 and garnering massive attention from both the mainstream media and on social. However, State Street Global Advisors did come under scrutiny for its own gender parity record.

The Fearless Girl statue was the brainchild of creatives at McCann.

Boost Mobile – Boost Your Voice

After reports revealed the massive problems voters were faced with at 2012 US elections due to overcrowded polling stations, Boost Mobile decided to leverage its platform to do something about it.

Boost Mobile identified that it had stores in the communities that were most affected by issues of overcrowding and on that day, converted them into polling stations. The brand identified that it is mainly low-income and minimum wage workers that are disproportionately affected by the overcrowding issues. As such, by offering its stores as additional stations, the brand falls on the side of social justice and equality.

The campaign was created by 180 Los Angeles.


LADBible – Trash Isles

In reaction to the concerns that have been raised about plastic pollution levels in our oceans, the LADBible set out on a mission to make a difference.

The brand called on the UN to have a trash patch the size of France off the coast of Hawaii officially recognized as a country in order to force other countries to deal with the plastic problem. Funny but serious, the spot starred the notorious hard man of British TV, Ross Kemp. The appeal drew huge attention on social and even saw the likes of Sir David Attenborough and Dame Judi Dench sign the petition.

The campaign was realized by AMV BBDO and won the design prize at Cannes Lions 2018.

Nike – Nothing Beats a Londoner

Yet another trophy on Nike and Wieden + Kennedy’s shelves, this ad released at the beginning of 2018 was an instant hit with audiences.

It tracks a bunch of young Londoners moving across the city as they describe their sport. The spot also features a host of prominent Londoners, including Mo Farah, AJ Tracey and Harry Kane. Despite its popularity and technical excellence, the ad did divide audiences on the issue of what it is to be a Londoner, and if this was a statement that excluded other British people.


Article by channel:

Read more articles tagged: