Shining a spotlight on creative effectiveness from Cannes Lions winners

We explored how 2022 Cannes Lions winners utilized the top advertising trends for creative effectiveness.
14 July 2022
Creative Effectiveness Cannes analysis
Jennifer Canfield

Senior Vice President, Growth & Strategy, North America

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For the first time since the pandemic uprooted the world, industry leaders gathered for the Cannes Lions 2022 International Festival of Creativity to celebrate the biggest awards in advertising.

With so many challenges facing advertisers today - from a global pandemic and rising consumer expectations to supply chain issues and so much more - marketers need to ensure they stay ahead of the unpredictability they continue to face. To be successful, they must anticipate change and think outside the box when creating their campaigns; applying a creative strategy in advertising that delivers on all fronts.

At Kantar, we recently identified top advertising trends for creative effectiveness that marketers should keep in mind for today’s environment. Now, we are exploring winners from Cannes 2022 to see how the best in advertising are applying these strategies.

A new take on Black Friday shopping

COVID-19 hit everyone hard, especially Black-Owned businesses. Google found a creative solution to help the struggling community, becoming one of 2022’s Cannes winners for their work which utilized two of our key creative & advertising effectiveness trends – celebrity appearances and shoppable advertising.

By partnering with the US Black Chambers, Google took a new spin on Black Friday, reimagining it as ‘Black-Owned Friday’, and drove consumers towards small Black-Owned businesses on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Using an interactive campaign featuring Black celebrities including Grammy-winning rapper T-Pain, singers Normani and Tanerélle, and comedian Desi Banks, Google created a shoppable music video. The ad showcased more than 50 Black-owned businesses and over 100 products, which all linked directly to the vendors websites.

While the use of celebrities and influencers to sell products has been a long-running advertising trend, shoppable content is a relatively new technology. It is quickly becoming a popular way to make the first point of contact an opportunity to drive a frictionless buying experience.

Navigating from TikTok to TV

Consumers have become so accustomed to the style of creative seen on digital platforms, that it is starting to infiltrate elsewhere. Digital ads are quick, creative, and get the message across efficiently. So much so that our Creative Effectiveness Awards noted traditional advertisers have recently drawn inspiration from digital platforms by using similar creative styles. This strategy can be appealing to consumers who may be attached to their digital devices, as well as make for a cohesive brand experience by viewing similar messages across channels.

Applebee’s was able to use this strategy seamlessly in its winning Cannes campaign – a partnership with Walker Hayes, the singer behind the viral ‘Fancy Like’ TikTok trend. By featuring snippets from some of the best “Fancy Like” videos from the social platform, the ad was able to essentially bring TikTok to viewers’ television screens.

This is also another excellent use of the advertising trend of featuring high-profile, relevant celebrities. Today, the use of influential public figures is most successful when it comes across as authentic; a collaboration more organic than this may be hard to come by.

Marketing goes Meta

Another Cannes winner who heavily utilizes the celebrity trend in its advertising is Under Armour. The brand’s winning campaign was born out of the global supply chain crisis. When Under Armour’s star athlete, Steph Curry, was about to break a world record, supply chain issues meant they had no sneaker to market. Enter the first meta sneaker. The brand launched a NFT sneaker, wearable across competing gaming platforms, thus establishing Under Armour’s Curry brand as the premium for the basketball community in the metaverse.


Funny and focused

Apple took home an award for its ‘Detectives’ ad, which featured two proven strategies for creative effectiveness – product demos and humor.

When a product demo feels authentic and natural, it can be a highly impactful way to create empathy, which leads to stronger advertising performance. The ad from Apple was an organic and amusing way to demonstrate how the iPhone 13 Pro gives you “Hollywood in your pocket” by shifting the camera’s focus using Cinematic mode. In the ad, a pair of detectives discuss who is in the camera’s focus and humorously debate over who is the main character vs. supporting cast, while the camera shifts focus back and forth between the two men. A perfect example of a creative product demo in advertising.

Humor for the win

Surprisingly, very few 2022 Cannes award winners used humor in their advertising, however the ones that did were able to create memorable ads by triggering the reward center of our brains.

One of the few Cannes winners that used humor was Twix in its ad called ‘Camping.’ In a dark, yet comical twist of its Left Twix vs. Right Twix campaign, the ad shows a pair of twins camping, as they are ready to eat a Twix. They discuss how it doesn’t matter if you choose left or right because they’re both delicious, while behind them, two bears are having the exact same conversation referring to the men.

Emotions run strong

Toyota won a Lion by using two strategies for advertising effectiveness - engaging in the emotional aspect of storytelling and giving a global brand view. As part of its first ever global marketing campaign called ‘Start Your Impossible.’ Toyota told the inspirational story of two real-life brothers: Brian McKeever, Global Team Toyota Athlete and Canada’s most decorated Winter Paralympian, and Robin McKeever, Olympian and Paralympic guide & coach.

By sharing their story of determination from childhood where they developed a passion for cross-country skiing, to navigating the loss of Brian’s vision due to an untreatable eye condition, Toyota successfully tugged on the heartstrings of viewers throughout this emotional journey – a proven method to build brand equity and drive ROI.

Kantar’s Creative Effectiveness Awards

Despite today’s challenges, Kantar’s Creative Effectiveness Awards prove that agencies and clients are supremely adaptable to a changing world: they continue to apply a creative strategy in advertising and embrace new media formats and channels which are fast evolving.

To learn more about the most effective advertising and view the winners of the 2021 Kantar Creative Effectiveness Awards, watch our webinar on demand now.

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