Blog: Top three human brand experiences from Cannes Lions 2016

Closer's Liz Richardson discusses three of the promo and activation winners at this year's Cannes Lions.

Cannes Lions 2016 winner: Contours Baby's adult-sized buggy
Cannes Lions 2016 winner: Contours Baby's adult-sized buggy

For more than 60 years, marketers and advertisers have looked to the Cannes Lions awards as the benchmark for industry excellence. Each year, more than 40,000 submissions in 23 categories are rigorously assessed by industry representatives, who eventually decide on which work deserves to be recognised for its creativity. 

The awards have become a badge of honour for agencies, with briefs being created for the sole purpose of winning a Golden Lion not unheard of. It’s for this reason there has been a lot of conversation around the awards’ merit in recent years – whether winning one actually benefits a client’s bottom line – or just the marketers’ egos. 

Successful brand experiences put people first. They must stand out but, equally, be easy to process – they must be experiences that flow with people’s lives. With this in mind, we’ve gone through the promo and activation winners at this year’s Cannes Lions, and selected our three favourite 'human'  brand experiences.

The baby stroller test-ride by Contours

As babies are unable to have their say on whether or not they find a pushchair comfortable, Contours Baby decided to take parents on a ‘stroller test-ride’ to showcase the cosiness and quality of its products. The manufacturer built an adult-size exact replica of its ‘Bliss 4-in-1’ and invited adults to try it out in public, recording their experiences. 

The public appeared to get a bit of a laugh out of it and the campaign garnered a lot of media attention. What we liked most was the child-like aspect of the experience; it gave busy adults the opportunity to take five minutes out of their day to try something silly. All of us have an inner child waiting to be released, and if brands can help us to do that, then we don’t mind having our day interrupted. We had a similar insight in our work for Oreo where we created a wonder-filled slide to inject some fun into people’s otherwise boring commute.

Van Gogh BnB

To launch its new Van Gogh exhibit, the Art Institute of Chicago recreated one of the Dutch Master’s paintings, The Bedroom (in Arles), and through a partnership with Airbnb, invited people to spend a night staying in it.

Using original artwork supplied by the Institute as a reference, artists spent four weeks recreating the room. The result meant that, instead of just looking at a Van Gogh painting, people could effectively live inside one, immersing themselves in the art like never before. The clever partnership with an up-and-coming tech platform gave this original idea the wheels to cut through on media channels and generate lots of coverage.

Le Bon

In a bid to alter the Swedish public’s opinion on the quality of its discount food ranges, supermarket giant Lidl decided to hijack the most exclusive dining occasion in the world – the Nobel Prize Awards Dinner. Every year on the 10 December, millions of people watch the live TV broadcast of the event, and last year Lidl recreated the Nobel banquet, mirroring every detail and calling it Le Bon. The event was even broadcast live on TV, in parallel to the official channel.

For the first time ever, ordinary Swedes were able to experience a Nobel banquet dinner all made with ingredients bought from Lidl. The event generated a lot of attention on social media, forcing people to look at the supermarket chain in a new light.

Our M Kitchen experience for Morrisons had similar success in the UK, as we enabled people to reappraise own-label ready meals.

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