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Cannes Lions 2021 Winners: 10 campaigns that stole the show

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

2021 was a bumper year for Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity as they awarded work from both 2020 and 2021 after last year’s event had to be cancelled. This year, it was held virtually and the juries awarded more than 40 Grand Prix to deserving work from the past two years.

Dive in below to view the work of 10 winners who managed to stand out and steal the show.

1. Burger King: “Stevenage Challenge”

Burger King became part of Stevenage F.C, which belongs to the lowest division of the English Football League. With this sponsorship, two things happened - there were now Burger King branded jerseys for the team, and a way for the fast-feeder to appear in the FIFA 2020 video game. This gave rise to the “Stevenage Challenge”, in which Burger King asked people to play as members of Stevenage FC in Fifa’s career mode, and for every goal shared on social media, players would get a chance to win free food. This campaign was a success at the Cannes Lions Festival and bagged three Grand Prix, in Brand Experience and Activation, Direct, and Social & Influencer.

2. Sinyi: “In Love We Trust”

Agency: Dentsu McGarryBowen, Taipai City

Newlyweds are an important section of customers in Taiwan’s property market. Sinyl Realty, through their brand film, wanted to encourage young people to overcome their fear of commitment and seek love that stays. The ad film shows a woman whose job is to track the number of marriages, divorces, and deaths. Meanwhile, in her personal life, she is unsure of committing to her loving boyfriend. Eventually, her job and personal life collide to show her the way towards love.

The jury president, Jae Goodman said that the ad clip made her cry several times and it was a surprise for everyone that a real estate ad can be so touching. “In Love We Trust” won the Entertainment Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions.

3. Tinder: “Swipe Night”

This creative campaign created a choose-your-own-adventure show that matched singles according to the decisions they made. It was a six-part series about the chaos that occurs when people discover that the planet is about to be destroyed by a meteor. The show aired on Tinder’s app and the users could use the swiping feature to make decisions on behalf of the show's protagonists. Different choices made by the users would unlock different plots, making this an interactive adventure. This campaign began in October 2019 and lasted for 6 weeks and won a Gold Lion in the Social & Influencer category.

4. Dove: “Courage Is Beautiful”

The campaign found a way to honour the real heroes who have showcased unreal courage in the face of the covid crisis. Bruised and exhausted faces of frontline healthcare workers were placed at the center in a film and in outdoor ads which were strategically placed near hospitals for people to see during their daily commutes. Dove’s “Courage Is Beautiful'' campaign took home double Grand Prix in Industry Craft and Print and Publishing.

5. Starbucks: “I Am”

Agency: VLMY&R Brazil

This emotional campaign from Brazil earned the Cannes Glass Lion for Change Grand Prix by showcasing one of the many hardships that the transgender community face. The process of changing one’s name is a costly and harrowing one, and most trans people are discouraged from even attempting to make the change. Starbucks did their part to make this process easier by turning a local store into a safe registry space where trans people were encouraged to grab a coffee and legally begin the process free of cost. This wholesome campaign was a success and resulted in a seven-fold increase in daily legal name changes in the city of São Paulo.

6. Libresse: Womb Stories

Agency: AMV BBDO

Through their campaign they aimed to start a conversation around women’s feelings of pain and pleasure surrounding their wombs. It sought to help women articulate their experiences with ease so that doctors could diagnose conditions like endometriosis more effectively. They created a buzz at Cannes and won multiple awards, one of them being the Titanium Grand Prix which is the most prestigious award of the festival.

7. Heineken: “Shutter Ads”

Heineken’s innovative Shutter’s initiative won a Silver Lion in the Outdoor Lions category. Heineken paid outlets in Argentina, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, and Spain to display messages like “See this ad today, enjoy this bar tomorrow” on their shutters. Through this immensely creative approach in the face of a unique situation, they raised awareness about the challenges faced by on-trade outlets during Covid-19. The campaign was a hit and to add to the good news, 100% of the bars involved in the Shutters initiative have now reopened.

8. Asics: “Eternal Run”

Agency: Edelman

The new Asics Glideride running shoes came with a ground-breaking innovation - a running shoe that is designed to help you save energy as you run. To promote the Glideride shoes, Asics Eternal Run campaign changed the concept of a traditional race by removing the finish line, challenging the runners to run against nobody but themselves on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. “Eternal Run” won the Entertainment Grand Prix for Sport for their outstanding work.

9. Mastercard: “True Name”

Trans people and non-binary people face discrimation, humiliation, and danger when the name on their bank cards do not reflect their identity. Mastercard launched a feature that allowed them to use their chosen names instead of being forced to use the names on their birth certificates. “True Name” took home its first Grand Prix, the top prize in Brand Experience and Activation.

10. H&M: “Looop”

The jury awarded two Grand Prix in Design, one of which was won by H&M’s “Looop” by Stockholm agency AKQA. H&M installed an in-store recycling system which allowed customers to turn old garments into new ones. They promoted circular fashion and took an initiative to help fight climate change.


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