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Leo Burnett’s Top Tips for Cannes (PS they’re usually right)

Leo Burnett has released its 34th annual Cannes Predictions ahead of this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity – forecasting the agency’s 20 frontrunners to win the festival’s coveted Lions.

For the second year, Leo Burnett global chief creative officer Chaka Sobhani (below) has curated Leo’s list, representing top work from Publicis Groupe and the ad industry at large. Sobhani continues the decades-old tradition that has achieved nearly 90% accuracy in predicting winners.

“If there’s one thing I can tell you after looking at this year’s crop of contenders — our industry has plenty worth celebrating. We’ve got big work against our biggest brands, and the breadth of creativity across the board is the most diverse in years,” says Sobhani.

The annual Cannes Predictions list is compiled from a yearlong evaluation of work that reflects global industry trends. This year, four key themes emerged:

Bringing Back the Daft

As brands seized the opportunity to lighten the mood, one of the prevailing themes is levity. Marketers delivered the dose of irreverence (and sometimes silliness) that audiences are craving after a challenging couple of years.

Two food brands delivered on this exceptionally well. Heinz confidently asked people across the globe to simply “Draw Ketchup” and Oreo debuted its “Oreo THINS Camo Packs” to help parents disguise their sweet treats from snack-seeking kids.


After two years of living life through virtual forums, brands are reconnecting with people “in real life” to offer engagement beyond the screen. We’re seeing brands back the need to create impact in person – from rich immersive experiences to captivating out of home and print advertising.

Challenging cultural stigmas in the Middle East, Adidas invited women of all backgrounds to take a swim for its “Liquid Billboard” campaign – creating an immersive, IRL experience that was extended across digital media. Meanwhile, Motown Museum’s celebration of “Marvin Gaye’s 50th Anniversary” stunned with its simplicity and relevance, and Pepsi shook up traditional print with burger bag origami for “Better with Pepsi”.

The Power of Purpose

A perennial conversation is the share of honors split between brands and nonprofits. We’re seeing strong examples of both headed into Cannes this year, as the industry doubles down on purpose-driven creative.

P&G’s Whisper tackled the strong taboos around periods in India with “The Missing Chapter” – lobbying for menstruation education in Indian schoolbooks. A new law to mandate this chapter will transform the lives of generations to come.

Then there is “The Lost Class” for Change the Ref – a harrowing tribute to a “class” of seniors who never graduated high school due to gun violence, which is now the leading cause of death for children and teens in the U.S. The work is an urgent and emotional call for reform, including a petition for universal background checks.

A Whole New World

Into the metaverse and back again, technology continues to transform the industry’s potential for storytelling and connection on emerging platforms. Every year, Cannes rewards the latest innovation and 2022 will be no exception.

Two of the strongest pieces of work convene tech and wellness. “Sick Beats” from Woojer synched a life-saving medical vest with Spotify’s music library to enhance the daily treatment experience for young patients of cystic fibrosis. And as virtual gaming worlds have matured as canvases for brand-building, Carrefour entered the Fortnite universe with authenticity and purpose through “The Healthy Map” – rewarding players with revitalizing life points only for consuming healthy foods.

Ahead of advertising’s biggest week of the year, here is the full list of Leo’s Top 20 Cannes Contenders from around the world:

CHANGE THE REF INC. “The Lost Class” // Leo Burnett Chicago (USA)
VERIZON “9/12: The untold story of reconnecting New York” // Verizon (USA)
KRAFT HEINZ CANADA “Heinz Draw Ketchup” // Rethink (Canada)
FAMILY EQUALITY “Love, Lawyers, and the Government” // TBWA\Chiat\Day NY (USA)
PEPSI “Better With Pepsi” // Alma DDB (USA)
CHANNEL 4 “Super. Human.” // 4creative (UK)
DOVE “Reverse Selfie” // Ogilvy UK (UK)
FONDATION EMERGENCE “Colours Of Pride” // Rethink (Canada)
FAFF HARLEY-DAVIDSON “Tough Turban” // Zulu Alpha Kilo (Canada)
PENNY “The Wish” // Serviceplan Campaign (Germany)
eos “Bless Your F**ing Cooch” // Mischief @ No Fixed Address (USA)
ADIDAS “Liquid Billboard” // Havas Middle East Dubai (UAE)
OREO “OREO Thins Camo Packs” // the community (USA)
CARREFOUR “The Healthy Map — Carrefour X Fortnite” // Publicis Conseil (France)
THE KIYAN PRINCE FOUNDATION “Long Live the Prince” // Engine Creative (UK)
MOTOWN MUSEUM “Marvin Gaye 50th Anniversary” // Commonwealth//McCann (USA)
P&G WHISPER “The Missing Chapter” // Leo Burnett India (India)
WOOJER “Sick Beats” // Area 23 (USA)
BURBERRY “Open Spaces” // Megaforce (UK)
BURGER KING “Confusing Times” // DAVID Madrid (Spain)

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