25 Brilliant Ad Campaigns That Will Win Lions in Cannes

Pre-festival favorites, from Fearless Girl to Louise Delage

Louise Delage, a trendy young Instagrammer, turned out to be a fraud in a devious social media stunt by Paris agency BETC.
Headshot of Tim Nudd

One bronze statue will be chasing lots of gold ones on the Croisette next week, as McCann’s Fearless Girl enters the Cannes Lions festival as a heavy favorite for hardware. But it’s hardly the only brilliant work that will be jostling for attention in the jury rooms.

Leo Burnett is out with its 30th annual Cannes Predictions list, which you can see below. If there’s a common thread that connects them, it’s the power of the unexpected, from a completely new way to talk about organ donation to an overnight Instagram success who hid a troubling secret.

Visit adweek.com/cannes all next week for real-time reports from the festival, including the big winners, video interviews with top executives, trends, analysis and much more.

Channel 4, “We’re The Superhumans”
Agency: 4Creative, London

Best ad ever made about disability? It might be Channel 4’s joyous three-minute musical for the 2016 Paralympics—a follow-up to Film Craft Grand Prix winner “Meet the Superhumans” from 2012. The top Film winner at The One Show this spring, it would be an upset if it didn’t win at least one of the two Film contests in Cannes.


State Street Global Advisors, “Fearless Girl”
Agency: McCann, New York

Cannes will surely be a coronation for this hugely inventive and spectacularly executed corporate feminist icon, which could win any number of Grand Prix—from Glass, PR and Outdoor early in the week all the way to Titanium on Saturday. Look for our video interview with its young creators during Cannes week on Adweek.com.


Ikea, “Cook This Page”
Agency: Leo Burnett, Toronto

Find new foods intimidating? Ikea made it easy with “Cook This Page,” featuring fill-in-the-blank recipes printed with food-safe ink on cooking parchment paper. Add the ingredients right on the page, roll it up and throw it in the oven—and you have a meal. An inspired and useful merger of food and design.


Transport Accident Commission, “Meet Graham”
Agency: Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne

The year’s most visually striking safe-driving campaign imagined what humans would look like if we evolved to withstand car-crash forces. Artist Patricia Piccinini’s avant-garde creation went mainstream, as Graham’s odd visage was unmissable in social feeds—and made people consider, paradoxically, the frailty of today’s human body.


Nike, “Unlimited Stadium”
Agency: BBH, Singapore

The beautiful footprint-shaped design of this running track, which Nike built across a whole city block in Manila, was just the start of its coolness. The 200-meter track was lined with LED screens, inviting runners to engage in a virtual race against avatars of themselves. Experiential sports marketing at its very best.


Coca-Cola, “The Line-Up Song”
Agency: FP7, Cairo

After six years away from competitive play, most Egyptians didn’t know their own national soccer team. But Coke found an ingenious way to get them to learn the players’ names. It took a nursery rhyme all Egyptians grew up memorizing, and changed the words to include the team’s lineup.


Donate Life, “The World’s Biggest Asshole”
Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.

Can even the most wretched person be redeemed? They can if they’re Coleman F. Sweeney, a horrible human being through most of Donate Life’s three-minute spot who ends up saving lives, upon his untimely death, by being an organ donor. A great counterintuitive idea from Martin, brought to life expertly by actor Thomas Jane.


Sony PlayStation, “Gravity Cat”
Agency: Hakuhodo, Tokyo

Two sisters try to capture a gravity-defying kitten as their apartment very literally turns upside down in this crazy crowd-pleaser from Japan for the video game Gravity Daze 2. The set actually flipped, thanks to some inspired production design, and the handheld camerawork lent this four-minute film an urgent indie vibe.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.