Cannes shortlists: W+K lead the way on big brand showcases

It looks like being another purpose-filled year at Cannes. There are some excellent entries on the Innovation, Titanium and Glass shortlists (with adam&eveDDB’s CALM work flying the flag for the UK) but very little big brand work.

The Titanium award goes to “game-changing” work. Here the non-purpose standout is Wieden + Kennedy’s Clash from the Past campaign for the Clash of Clans game, which celebrated a fake 40th anniversary for a game that is ten years old. A fictional walk down memory lane included “reissued” hoodies and cereal packs, a fake movie, and nostalgic interviews.

In the same category is Wieden + Kennedy’s tactical campaign for Budweiser, based around Qatar’s last-minute ban on alcohol sales at the World Cup. As a sponsor, Bud had some fun with the unexpected news and promised to ship all unsold beer to the winner.

The Glass Lions were set up to address gender inequality or prejudice, and remains very much focused on cis women. There are still way too many battles to fight in this area, as the shortlist shows, but it seems odd that there are no more fluid gender entries here.

Dove, whose brand and purpose are uniquely welded, has two entries in the category: Let Her Grow from Thailand and The Beauty Report Card from India.

Some excellent work here — 2023 looks like being a good year at Cannes — but it would be refreshing to see more bold brand campaigns taking home prizes this year. Maybe the Film and Entertainment categories will throw up some contenders.

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