Cannes Lions 2018

Top 10 digital campaigns of 2014: Jan-Jun

CANNES, FRANCE: European research company Best Marketing International has monitored the Gold and Grand Prix winners of 35 local, regional, and global digital marketing awards from all corners of the World (including Cannes Lions) between January and June 2014. (video)
Here are the cases that have been victorious in a minimum of three different award shows within the first half of 2014.

A few trends we have spotted:
  • Very high quality production: campaigns, such as "Epic Split", "Scarecrow" or "Dove Sketches" have Hollywood-quality production. Nobody shares amateur-quality branded messages anymore;
  • But as the Lowe´s Vine films campaign shows, there are always exceptions to the rule. Great films can be produced with $5,000 budget as well;
  • New buzzword in Cannes Lions 2014 was "One-to-one-to-many". It means that the original interaction is between the brand and one (or small number of) consumers, but the interaction is broadcast to a mass audience via social media. Examples: "Samsung S4", "Sweetie"
  • And last, but not least: great content is more important than ever. Content distribution platforms vary from new and trendy (Vine) to traditional (phone call)

Top 10


Volvo FM Trucks' 'Live Test Series' (Forsman & Bodenfors, Sweden)

Gulltaggen Awards; The Webby Awards; Andy Awards; One Show Awards; New Festivals Advertising Awards; Cannes Lions

Volvo Trucks were launching a new range of vehicles and they needed a campaign to attract some key buyers in the industry. At first, Forsman & Bodenfors turned down the offer as they didn't consider B2B to be their forte. Fortunately, they reconsidered. In order to showcase the great features of Volvo's Trucks, a series of fun high-quality videos were produced. The aim was to attract as much audience as possible to reach the highly scattered landscape of decision makers. The viral series really played on the high entertainment value. The culmination came with a (by now) notorious video showing Van Damme on top of two reversing trucks. The Epic Split can be considered the real highlight of the Live Test Series. "Epic Split" film has 73,5 million YouTube views in June 2014)


Dove's 'Real Beauty Sketches' (Ogilvy & Mather, Brazil)

Effie North America; One Show Awards; The Webby Awards; Fiap Awards; Wave Festival

Dove's Real Beauty Sketches is another viral superstar from 2013. The idea was to drive brand loyalty and engagement through the manifestation of real beauty. An FBI forensic artist was recruited to blindly draw ordinary women based on two descriptions: their own and a stranger's. Afterwards, the women had a chance to take a look at the two sketches. The overall result was expected but nevertheless powerful: the sketch based on the description of a complete stranger was much more 'attractive' and human. The video was released in 46 languages across the world and has since attracted a huge amount of press interest.

This film had 63,5 million views in June 2014.


Samsung/Swisscom's 'All Eyes On The S4' (Heimat Berlin, Germany)

Mobius Awards; Adc Schweiz; Golden Award Of Montreux; New Media Award; Piaf

In 2013, Swisscom and Samsung joined forces to release the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone in Switzerland. They literally drew the attention of consumers by organising a competition in Zurich's main railway station. People were asked to stare at a CLP billboard for 60 consecutive minutes. The participants were bombarded with distractions. Funnily, in the end, it was the simplest provocation that ruined the attempts. The competition was streamed live via special microsite. The viewers could interact with the billboard by sending Tweets and messages to encourage (or discourage) the person on the other side of the screen. Some cold-blooded folks were still able to win a brand new S4.

This film had 4,5 million views in June 2014.


Lowe's 'Vine Fix In Six' (BBDO, New York)

Andy Awards; One Show Awards; Golden Award Of Montreux; Piaf; American Advertising Awards

Lowe´s, a home improvement brand, managed to make a really great use of the 'viral phenomenon'. BBDO created a small series of brief vines. Each vine showcased an incredibly easy home improvement fix. These digestible how-to videos were produced on a very small budget of only $5,000. #lowesfixinsix uses stop-motion animation to give handy DIY lessons - unscrewing a stripped screw, taking off a stubborn sticker, cleaning a dirty cookie sheet. All the videos have a nice edgy design about them. The six-second vines are mostly meant for mobile users. Lowes is another brand to prove that value has a crucial role in marketing and can easily make up for a small budget.


Hindustan Unilever's Kan Khajura Station (Phd India)

Festival Of Media Global Awards; Golden Awards Of Montreux; Ames Awards; Cannes Lions

For brands, the rural population of India is still a very difficult area to reach, as the modern communication hasn't spread its roots to these regions. 70% of India's population is currently living in these areas. Hindustan Unilever has been trying to reach 'Media Dark' Indian consumers for years. The most used entertainment device is radio. Kan Khajura Station is a free mobile radio, which provides regular mobile phone users with 15 minutes of free radio content per week. The consumer has to make a missed call to a certain number and then receive a call back with some entertaining content sponsored by Unilever brands. Kan Khajura station has become the most popular media channel since its launch early this year.


Chipotle's 'The Scarecrow' (Creative Artists Agency; Moonbot Studios, United States)

The Webby Awards; Andy Awards; Cannes Lions

Mexican fast food restaurant chain 'with a conscience', Chipotle released a short animation called the Scarecrow along with its new mobile game app. Chipotle pursuits their vision of authentic advertising by creating content, which doesn't really scream the brand's name behind it. The amazing animation tells a gruesome dark story about genetics bending and food processing. The game is advocating the same issue. Players complete tasks and missions to clear the world from monstrous food processing. Completing different tasks unlocks coupons and bonuses to be used at the restaurants.


Terre Des Hommes' 'Sweetie' (Lemz, The Netherlands)

Spin Awards; Tomorrow Awards; Cannes Lions

This campaign by Terre Des Hommes is an act against webcam child sex tourism, a relatively new but alarming form of sexual abuse. They conducted a throughout research to understand the disgusting business around webcam child abuse in developing countries. To lure in the criminals, the research team was helped by a fictitious, virtual 10-year old called Sweetie. Sweetie appeared in chat rooms and within minutes drew the attention of numerous abusers. Terre Des Hommes gathered a huge database of predators served as a shocking piece of evidence to the public. There are an estimated number of 750,000 abusers lurking in the internet at any given moment. This campaign is a step forward towards reversing the vicious cycle.
Over on billion people have seen The Sweetie campaign, several paedophiles have been arrested (17 in the UK alone).


Budweiser's 'Red Lights' (Anomaly, Canada)

Festival Of Media Global Awards; Cassies; One Show Awards

Bud Red Light - Case Study from MWTT on Vimeo.

Canadians are BIG hockey fans. Beer brands and sports have always been side-by side. This time, Budweiser decided to target the hockey-loving Canadians. They offered fans a really supportive and utile device called Budweiser Red Light, which notifies you about an upcoming game or a score by your favourite hockey team. The light was strongly supported by other marketing activities and understandably so because it comes in with a whopping $159 price tag. However, if you are a real hockey lover - this branded product will surely serve its cause and might even remind you that the only thing missing from your experience is a bottle of cold Budweiser.


Nike's 'The Nike SB App' (R/GA, United States)

Andy Awards; One Show Awards; New York Festivals Advertising Awards

This initiative by Nike has received a lot of coverage this year and is the epitome of 'value first'. Nike Skateboarding offers a new app to gamify the skateboarding experience for the first time. It serves as a skateboarding assistant, by offering and analysing tricks, sharing videos with friends, participating in challenges and creating a personal progress history for the user. The app creates a global social network for skateboard enthusiasts. Nike has yet again, created some truly useful and entertaining content for its fans across the globe.


Century 21' 'Breaking Bad' (Mullen, United States)

Andy Awards; The Webby Awards; One Show Awards

Breaking Bad is a well-known TV series, telling a story of a cancer-diagnosed struggling chemistry teacher who turns to meth selling in order to support his family. The main character's (Walter White) house plays a major role throughout the show's five seasons. Breaking Bad came to an end in September 2013. A clever real estate agency Century 21 grasped the momentum and posted a fake listing of Walter White's house on the internet. Century 21 wrote a detailed description of the house and posted it on various sites just prior to the release of the show's final episode. Certainly, this was just a clever spoof, but it managed to have another laugh at the highly pompous and overpaid Super Bowl ads.

These campaigns and many others will be analysed during The Best of Global Digital Marketing conference in Johannesburg on August 13 and Cape Town on August 14. More info

About the author

Hando Sinisalu and Ann Kruuk of Best Marketing International. Hando Sinisalu is a producer of The Best of Global Digital Marketing and reports for Bizcommunity from Cannes.