JWT’s ‘The Next Rembrandt’ Wins Two Grand Prix at Cannes, in Cyber and Creative Data

Leo Burnett's Spanish lottery ad 'Justino' also wins a Cyber Grand Prix

CANNES, France—"The Next Rembrandt" might be a fake masterpiece, but it's awards haul here at the Cannes Lions festival is quickly becoming very real.

The J. Walter Thompson campaign for ING bank, which taught a computer to paint like Rembrandt—and produced an amazing 3-D printed portrait in Rembrandt's style—picked up two Grand Prix awards here tonight, one in the Cyber Lions and one in the Creative Data Lions. It joins Y&R's McWhopper campaign for Burger King (which topped Print & Publishing and Media) as the second campaign to have picked up two Grand Prix this year.

The Cyber jury also handed out a second Grand Prix tonight, to the Spanish Lottery's animated "Justino" Christmas ad by Leo Burnett Madrid.

While "The Next Rembrandt" and "Justino" couldn't be more different in design or intent, each used cutting-edge technology to achieve dynamic, memorable results.

Jury president Chloe Gottlieb, executive creative director at R/GA, said at a press conference Wednesday that, in so many Cyber entries this year, the technology is becoming so seamless as to be almost invisible.

"The quality of work was of such a level that its digital nature disappeared. It becomes invisible. You don't even know it's there. It's like magic," she said.

"The Next Rembrandt" was created to highlight ING's dedication to innovation and its sponsorship of classic art. JWT designed a program that analyzed all aspects of the Dutch master's intricate technique, including his brushwork, sense of proportion and use of shading, color and space. Doing so allowed a computer to create a completely new 3-D printed "Rembrandt" painting. (It was a real painting, not a two-dimensional representation.)

Consisting of 148 million pixels, the portrait of a bearded, 17th-century man in a white collar and black hat was based on nearly 170,000 painting fragments from Rembrandt's body of work. Microsoft, Delft University of Technology, the Mauritshuis and the Museum Het Rembrandthuis also collaborated with JWT on the initiative.

"What we love about this idea is that the data isn't the output of the creativity, the data is the beginning of the creativity. The data is the source for creativity," Gottlieb said. "It's something that's coming from the digital world and creating a physical thing in the real world. So, in a sense, it's the opposite trajectory from work that we were judging in Cyber even just a few years ago. It's a blurring of the lines between what is Cyber and what is real."

Meanwhile, the second Grand Prix winner, Burnett's "Justino," proved an artful and affecting promotion of Spain's annual Christmas lottery, a holiday tradition since 1812.

Using Pixar-esque animation, the centerpiece three-and-a-half-minute film told the tale of a lonely security guard in a mannequin factory whose kindness toward his coworkers is fittingly repaid. Viewers could also follow Justino's unfolding story in real time on Instagram.

Jury president Gottlieb said "Justino" was the whole package and really delivered across platforms.

"We were looking for this interesting intersection between idea, technology, time, craft. And everything came together in this piece of work. We loved it," she said. "This was born out of digital. This was not a TV spot that was put on YouTube. It's exactly the opposite. This was created for the digital space. And every piece of this story was perfectly created and crafted for its channel."

She added: "There's a beautiful film that's at the level of a Pixar movie, which is amazing. Then if you went to the Instagram feed that he had, or the Facebook channel, it was all different. It was all interesting, and it was all perfect for its appropriate platform. And we loved this idea that storytelling isn't happening in the same way now. There's such literacy now, and such ability to play with the materials, that the story becomes dimensionalized and even more beautiful when you experience it by watching it, and then interacting with it. It's work that has no dead ends. It keeps going. The story grows as people interact with it. You can feel its power, and you can feel its beauty."

The final vote for the Grand Prix was unusual in Cyber this year, Gottlieb added. At first, the jury was considering two virtual reality pieces for the Grand Prix—Lockheed Martin's "The Field Trip to Mars" by McCann New York, and The Dalí Museum's "Dreams of Dali" by Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

But in the end, while they adored both campaigns, they didn't feel that either was quite breakthrough enough for a Grand Prix—so they went back to the drawing board to find other Grand Prix contenders.

The Creative Data jury was similarly smitten with "The Last Rembrandt."

"We're tremendously proud of the Grand Prix. It was pretty much unanimous," said jury president Tash Whitmey, group CEO of Havas Helia. "We loved it for so many reasons. It's hard to put those reasons into words. It's a beacon for this particular category. It's a beacon for the data industry. It shows how to take many, many complex sources of data and fuse them into creativity in ways that we found inspiring, and a little scary. It raised some questions that made us feel uncomfortable around humanity versus machines, and data, and what is the art of the possible in future. And without exception, it provoked powerful feelings."

—U.S. Cyber Lions winners

Gold winners:

• (Gold Lion, Campaign) 180LA Santa Monica for UNICEF's "Unfairy Tales"

• (2 Gold Lions) Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco for The Dali Museum's "Dreams of Dali" and the Ad Council's "I Am a Witness"

McCann New York for Lockheed Martin's "The Field Trip to Mars" (also won 1 silver)

MTV New York for its "VMA Green Screens" (also won 1 silver)

VML Kansas City for Gatorade's "The Super Bowl Dunk" (also won 1 silver)

Venables Bell & Partners San francisco for REI's #OptOutside (This campaign won the Grand Prix on Monday for Promo & Activation)

Grey San Francisco for Norton by Symantec's "The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet"

BBDO New York for GE's "GE Podcast Theater Presents The Message"

Wieden + Kennedy Portand for Verizon's "Verizon in Minecraft"

Leo Burnett Chicago for Art Institute of Chicago's "Van Gogh BNB"

Silver winners:

• (Silver Lion, Campaign) The Martin Agency, Richmond, for Geico's "Fast Forward"

• (2 Silver Lions) J. Walter Thompson New York for Ad Council, Maddie's Fund, the Humane Society of the United States' "The Shelter Pet Project" and Puma's "Puma Beatbot"

M:United//McCann New York for Microsoft's "Make What's Next"

72andSunny Playa Vista for Google's "Choose Your Side"

BBDO San Francisco for Mattel's "Imagine the Possibilities"

Leo Burnett Chicago for Samsung's "Voices of Life"

360i New York for Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's "Adaptoys"

R/GA Hustle Los Angeles for Beats by Dre's "Straight Outta"

Razorfish New York for Spotify's "Spotify Singles"

Breakfast New York for Forever21's "F21 Thread Screen"

360i New York for Canon's "Photo Coach"

Bronze winners:

• (2 Bronze Lions) Edelman New York for Samsung's "Antidiary"

• (2 Bronze Lions) – BBDO New York for Mars Chocolate North America's "Switcheroo" and Lowe's "Social Innovation Campaign"

360i New York for Oscar Mayer's "Sizzl"

EnergyBBDO Chicago for Wrigley's "Give Extra, Get Extra"

Deutsch New York for Sherwin Williams' "The First-Ever Pinterest Yard Sale"

BBH New York for Netflix's "House of Cards – FU 2016"

CP+B Boulder for Paypal's "Meet Halfway"

Havas Worldwide New York for Legacy Recordings/Sony Music's "Bob Dylan: Studio A Revisited"

CAA Marketing L.A. for Canada Goose's "Out There"

72andSunny Playa Vista for Google, Disney, Industrial Light & Magic, LucasFilm's "Lightsaber Escape: A Chrome Experiment"

Deutsch Los Angeles for Taco Bell's "Tacobot"

Grey New York for States United to Prevent Gun Violence's "Ghost Vote"

Goodby Silverstein & Partners San Francisco for The Hunting Ground's "Unacceptable Acceptance Letters"

ISL Washington for NBCUniversal's "Mr. Robot Debt Collection"

TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A. for Airbnb's #LiveInTheMovies

J. Walter Thompson New York for Tribeca Film Festival's "Tribeca Festival Reactor"

—U.S. Creative Data winners

Gold winner:  

McCann New York for Lockheed Martin's "The Field Trip To Mars"

Silver winner:  

VML Kansas City for the Tennessee Department Of Tourism Development's "Vacation Matchmaker"

Bronze winners:  

Ogilvy & Mather Chicago for S.C. Johnson's "Museum of Feelings"

Droga5 New York for NRG Solar Forecast

R/GA New York for Focusmotion

J. Walter Thompson New York for Zyrtec's "Allergy Impact"

@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.
@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.