Canadians Bring Home Cyber Lions From Cannes 2014

June 27, 2014 Jonathan Paul



In a very competitive Cyber category at the Cannes Lions this year, three Canadian brands struck bronze, bringing home the hardware thanks to solid digital ideation and storytelling.

WestJet’s Christmas Miracle – Bronze Lion

“It was fun to watch and even more fun to share.”

WestJet won a Bronze Lion for its emotional, and very viral, “Christmas Miracle” video, which it sent out in December. It showed how passengers boarding a WestJet flight to Calgary were asked what they wanted for Christmas before their departure, only to find out upon their arrival that the airline had granted their wish. The video was a solid success for the brand, spreading like wildfire through social media to achieve approximately 35 million views on YouTube, 192,500 YouTube likes, 172,800 shares, 42.2 million Twitter impressions for #WestJetChristmas and related words. Overall, it garnered 328 million media impressions (which exceeded WestJet’s goal by 1200%). Compered to the previous December, WestJet’s revenue increased 86%, WestJet.com traffic increased 100%.

“This social video captured the attention of the world but also perfectly captured the WestJet brand ethos that owners care,” explains Lance Martin, Executive Creative Director and Partner at Toronto-based advertising agency Union. “It was fun to watch and even more fun to share.”

Canadian Mint

The Mint’s Heart of the Arctic – Bronze Lion

The Royal Canadian Mint’s bagged a Bronze Lion with “Heart of the Arctic,” an interactive digital educational experience — created by advertising agency Cossette — that used a scavenger hunt to encourage kids to get interested in collecting coins, whilst promoting The Mint’s Arctic Expedition series. It wove together fact, fantasy, and Inuit mythology to turn kids into Arctic explorers. The effort attracted more than 50,000 visitors to its website, over a million view, with 2,375 classrooms across Canada participating in the school program.

“The concept of turning a new coin release into an immersive arctic expedition for children is brave and fresh,” says Martin. “The art direction of the work was beautiful, really showing what can be done with HTML 5, and the storytelling of the Inuit mythology cleverly disguised history as fun.”

Canadian Beer Fridge

 Molson’s Passport Beer Fridge – Bronze Lion

Molson’s Bronze Lion came about thanks to a world-travelling, bright red beer fridge, which visited England, France and Belgium. Created by Vancouver-based ad agency Rethink, it took the Canadian story (patriotism and a love of beer) abroad, instilling national pride in Canadian travellers and ex-pats as anytime one would come across the fridge they could use their Canadian passport to open it up and enjoy a cold Molson Canadian. The online video of the Canadian travellers’ interactions with the fridge achieved millions of views and the fridge became something of a celebrity, being covered by numerous news outlets and even the likes of Jimmy Kimmel.

Pharrell Lions

The Grand Prix Winners

“What set apart the Grand Prix winners from the rest of the pack was their excellence in craftsmanship.”

No Canadian efforts ended up wining the top prize, a Cyber Grand Prix, but those that that did — “24 Hours of Happy” from Pharrell, Williams, “The Scarecrow” from Chipotle and the “Live Test Series” from Volvo — are great examples of how digital platforms can be leveraged to effectively harness powerful storytelling to drive fantastic business results.

“What set apart the Grand Prix winners from the rest of the pack was their excellence in craftsmanship,” explains Martin.

Canadian brands and agencies should take note for next year — digital executions drive great results, but creativity and craftsmanship are what make them truly memorable.

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