We Brought an ‘America Box’ to Cannes, Introducing the World to Simple Pleasures of U.S. Life

And we came in way under budget

Headshot of David Griner

America doesn't always have the best image among our friends overseas, and at this year's Cannes Lions, AdFreak set out on a humble quest to fix everything. 

Our tool for global reputation improvement? The America Box.

Through a thoroughly researched and exhaustively planned 1-hour trip to a Publix grocery store, I loaded up on a few of the items that make America truly great. More importantly, these are the simple pleasures that you simply won't find in the aisles of your Parisian supermarché.

I lugged this clunky cornucopia of consumer delights across the Atlantic, then cajoled non-Americans into digging in and seeing what they could find.

Here are the myriad joys of discovery that awaited them:

Aw yeah, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. And London-based Alicia Navarro, founder of Skimlinks, was STOKED. "I love American Mac and Cheese!" And we don't think she was just being polite.


That's right, Bac'n Pieces with no actual bacon. Native Brit Angela Bowen from Nice Shoes can enjoy all that bacony flavor in the convenience of soy form.


Here's a man who appreciates a surprise batch of Virginia Peanuts and will surely sing their praises back home in Britain.


We assumed this Gatorade mint whey protein bar would go over like a Trump 2016 bumper sticker, but avid cyclist Richard Bon of Clear Channel U.K. was earnestly happy to have the fuel.


One of the only actual high-quality items we brought. See, America isn't all about cheap eats. But we are all about peanut butter.


It's true. Chocolate chips are a very American-only thing. Just ask any ex-pat. These things are worth their weight in gold just about anywhere except North America.


"Do you have peanut butter in there?" was the No. 1 most-asked question of the day. Hell yeah we did.


The best part of this one was all the Americans who instantly started telling Australian-born Bridget Bulters of DiGenarro Communications the 2,000 ways you can use Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (and none of us actually make corn muffins).  


Iris Worldwide's global PR director, Julia Nightengale, couldn't wait to try Paul Prudhomme's Magic Barbecue Seasoning. 


Admittedly, British-born Harriet Flory from BBDO North America is based in New York City, but at least now she can return home with an expanded knowledge of her adopted home's rich cultural landscape. 

@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."
Publish date: June 29, 2016 https://dev.adweek.com/creativity/we-brought-america-box-cannes-introducing-world-simple-pleasures-us-life-172327/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT