Cannes 2015: Four Branded Content Lions for Canada

But the competition again goes without a Grand Prix

Four out of five ain’t bad.

After making the shortlist five times, Canada walked away with two Silver and two Bronze Lions in the Branded Content & Entertainment competition, handed out at the final awards gala of the 62nd annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

This marks the most wins Canada has had in a single year in this competition, having come home with two Lions in 2014 and two in 2013.

Leo Burnett is going home with a Silver Lion for P&G’s “#LikeAGirl” (which already has an impressive Lion haul), as is BBDO Toronto for Wrigley Canada’s “Struck by a Rainbow.”

Meanwhile John St. nabbed bronze for Canadian Safe School Network’s “Kids Read Mean Tweets” as did LG2  for “Reviveaphone.”

The only Canadian entry on the shortlist going home without a Lion is Spy Films Toronto for Sony’s “Gran Turismo 6 Launch Campaign.” (But as every judge here will tell you, just making the shortlist is considered a significant accomplishment.)

For a second year in a row, the Branded Content & Entertainment jury did not award a Grand Prix. (Yesterday’s inaugural Creative Data Lions also went without a top honour.)

Jury president and BBDO worldwide chief creative officer David Lubars said part of the reason for not awarding a Grand Prix is that the competition is still in its infancy.

“This is kind of a new category it’s still a maturing category and we had a lot of beautiful golds, but there was no Grand Prix this year, which says to you there’s still room for growth,” he said during a press conference Saturday morning.

Introduced in 2012, the Branded Content & Entertainment Lions “reward the creation of, or natural integration into, original content by a brand,” according to the Festival.

To be awarded a Grand Prix, the work needs to be something of a “classic” that has people talking 30 years from now. “I don’t think any [of the Gold Lion winners] reached that peak,” he said.

Canadian entries into the Branded Content & Entertainment competition increased this year from 18 in 2014 to 29 in 2015. But Michael Joffe, brand activation lead at Google and one of Marketing’s 30 Under 30, thinks Canada can do better. Entries in Branded Content & Entertainment overall were up with submissions from 1,778 in 2014 to 1,394.

Sitting on the Branded Content & Entertainment jury, Joffe was wowed by the “fantastic” Canadian work, but disappointed by the lack of submissions.

“I think we’re risk averse and I think Canada needs to step up and really get in there and really push,” he told Marketing. “I think we need to take bigger steps and be bolder and be disruptive and really go for it. All the work that was submitted in Branded Content was incredible and I want to see more of it.”

While there was no Grand Prix, Lubars said had Honda’s “The Other Side” film from Wieden + Kennedy been submitted, it likely would have won the Grand Prix.

“Our entry budget was all used up,” said Wieden + Kennedy’s Mark Fitzloff, president of the Titanium and Integrated Lions jury who sat beside Lubars during the morning press conference to announce the winners.

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