Though 28 Creative Data Lions were handed out in Cannes Friday night, there was no Grand Prix awarded.During a press conference announcing the winners, Creative Data jury president and Y&R CEO David Sable said the jury wasn’t trying to make a political statement by not awarding a Grand Prix, but felt they could not find one piece of work that represented the category in the competition’s first year.
The Creative Data Lions were part of the inaugural Innovation Lions, a two-day festival-within-the-festival focused on technology and innovation.
Sable said in other competitions such as Film and Cyber, it’s easier to pinpoint a piece of work that’s representative of the category as a whole.
“We’re hoping next year the jury will learn from what we did, and as the bar is raised and the work will be better as it is every year, next year’s jury will be able to award a Grand Prix,” he said.
Sable said the judging process was quite challenging because the jury was cognizant of the fact it was “setting a benchmark and hopefully creating a bar that will be raised next year and the year after.”
According to the Festival definition, Creative Data Lions “must clearly demonstrate how the execution/campaign was enhanced or driven by the creative use, interpretation, analysis or application of data. The creative use of data must sit at the core of the idea, allowing brands to tell better stories and drive personal, relevant and meaningful engagement.”
“We looked for things that made boring data compelling, that made personal data into living data,” said Sable. “We believe there is no story these days without data and how much the data enhanced [the story].”
Sable stressed that every award was well deserved and every piece awarded was the clear winner in its respective category.
The jury awarded six gold, 10 silver and 12 Bronze Lions. Y&R Moscow, Dentsu Tokyo and were among the gold winning agencies. In total, there were 619 submissions to the new competition and 11 of those were from Canada.
J. Walter Thompson Toronto was the only Canadian agency to make the shortlist, but fell short of the winner’s list, for “Raise the Pride.” The work was a Twitter powered Pride flag that moved up or down its pole based on positive or negative sentiment, giving an at-a-glance reference for the current tone of social conversations around LGBT issues.
To begin the press conference, festival CEO Philip Thomas explained the research industry has long wanted data to be part of the Lions Festival, but the Festival was always first and foremost about creativity.
“We found it difficult at the time to create a Lion that was still about creativity that was really linked to research. That was a big challenge,” he said.
“I think it is just an indication of how far things have moved that we can create a Lion around what data can do, both within the idea itself, but also in the creation of the idea.”
Innovation jury president and R/GA global CCO Nick Law jokingly boasted that his jury was able to find a Grand Prix, awarding it to What3Words — a universal addressing system that has divided the world into a massive grid of 57 trillion three-metre squares.
Each square has been assigned three words to identify its location to create simpler, more accessible and precise mapping to every location in the world. According to What3Words, “Better addressing improves customer experience, delivers business efficiencies, drives growth and helps the social & economic development of countries.”
“This is the best body of work I’ve ever seen on a jury… We had robots with chopsticks, all kinds of crazy shit,” he said. “There was nothing out of the 34 shortlists that wasn’t amazing.”
Asked about the Grand Prix, Law said the choice reflected the ideas coming out of Silicon Valley rather than from Madison Avenue.
“A lot of the debate was around whether the solution was creative,” he said. “If you look at that, there’s two sorts of creative thinking: there’s a more narrative agency thinking and then there’s a more systematic way of thinking. I think we chose something that is a great representation of systematic thinking.”
This is the third year festival organizers have included “innovation” as its own competition, but it’s the first time Innovation has received the special treatment of its own festival stream separate from the International Festival of Creativity.