Cannes Lions 2019 Winners

Updated: May 5, 2020


-The Cannes Lion Festival is the Oscars or Emmys for Creative Marketing

-Not only an award celebration but a place to update and learn what’s new in the industry

-It’s an all out event unlike anything on the planet currently


Welcome back!! You did it. You clicked on this article and because of that you are not reading what I’m writing. These are facts. Another Fact, today marks the conclusion of this week’s Cannes Lions Festival. This is an extravagant celebration for all things marketing and creative. The festival hosted in the historic city of southern France plays host to the best of the best businesses across the marketing, advertising and creative tech industries. This year the festival is being hosted by Twitter and is interesting because it comes at a time in which we are seeing creative tech companies being rewarded not just by awards but by large amounts of funding, IPOs and billions of dollars of VC cash. I’m sure you’ve noticed the likes of Uber, Lyft, WeWork, Slack and Facebook all coming across your news feed to announce some sort of new funding, stock or currency. There’s a lot going on in our world of creative technological adventure, so without further ado, let’s talk more in-depth about this year’s festival!

Cannes Lions gives out awards called “Grand Prix’s” and they have them for main categories that surround our everyday world of marketing. Their criteria for the winners appears to be simple. Brands and businesses are awarded for creativity and innovation. Not necessarily doing something the best but showing what the future can behold by creating something never seen before. I’m going to list off some of this year’s winners with some brief descriptions and then conclude with my overall thoughts on what this year’s winners mean for the future perspective of the festival.

The Grand Prix for Design: Google’s “Creatability”

Google focused on combining the tech of AI and the perspective of those with disabilities to learn and design tools that can be more effectively used by all.

The Grand Prix for Health & Wellness: IKEA’s “ThisAbles” Project

A project campaign that IKEA’s design vision team created with the help and collaboration of disabled people. The thought came to make IKEA’s best selling products accessible to everyone and was sparked by a hackathon event where people with physical disabilities took over an IKEA store and gave suggestions on how to improve products for all.

The Grand Prix for Entertainment: Johnson & Johnson

A Johnson & Johnson-commissioned documentary about the heroicness of nurses in the early days of the AIDS epidemic won the award for Entertainment.

The Grand Prix for Entertainment in Music: Childish Gambino “This is America”

Childish Gambino’s “This is America” won for its music video. The Entertainment for Music jury president Paulette Long said “the winners explored issues of diversity, racism and violence, but in very different ways.” A second Grand Prix was also given to Brazilian rapper Baco Exo do Blues.

Nike’s “Dream Crazy”: Grand Prix’s for Outdoor Marketing and Entertainment for Sport

Nike’s “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick took home two awards this week and was nominated for a couple others. The criteria for the Entertainment for Sport award was, “reward excellence in breakthrough creativity within the sports marketing ecosystem. This includes use of effective strategic planning, sponsorship, brand management, media, entertainment and/or talent." They took home the Outdoor Marketing award for the campaign’s billboard of Colin Kaepernick with the quoted tweet “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything.”

The Social and Influencer Grand Prix: Wendy’s

Wendy’s beat out Nike for the Social and Influencer award thanks to their creative use of Fortnite, Twitch Streaming, and their traditional “Fresh never Frozen” branding. Wendy’s used viral Twitch stream and an avatar character that resembled Wendy, the company’s mascot, in the popular video game Fortnite. Rather than playing the game normally by destroying the other players “Wendy” ran around the digital universe entering all of the kitchen areas and destroying all the freezers. This caught the interest of the Fortnite creators who eventually changed all the freezers in the game to “fresh burger makers.” Well played Wendy’s.

The Grand Prix for Media: Nike “Air Max Graffiti Store”

I have no other way to describe this campaign than just WOW. You gotta watch the video (link above) to get the full message. Not only does this campaign represent creativity and innovation for the future of how business can be conducted but it also resulted in a spike in revenue for Nike South America and a net positive score of +80 Million social engagement. Unreal.

The Grand Prix for Brand Experience and Activation: Microsoft, Xbox

Xbox’s adaptive abilities controller won Microsoft this award. Remember the commercial of all the kids in the neighborhood running to one kids house with excitement and anticipation. They found they’re neighbor, who happens to be physically disabled, winning won of the year’s most popular video games thanks to a new controller that allowed him to compete with everybody else. Yeah well that controller and campaign not only spread an important message but won arguably the most valuable award of Cannes Lions, The Grand Prix for Brand Experience.


What I’ve gathered so far from this year’s award winners is a collective success in story telling and effective sharing of campaigns that bring awareness to important issues. I know everyone has their own opinions on the Colin Kaepernick situation and I’m not here to talk about them. But, what nike did to inspire kids and athletes about dreaming big and realizing the sacrifices that it takes to succeed is a valuable message and a great story. What Google, IKEA and Microsoft were able to do by highlighting the need of accessibility for people of all abilities and create the closest thing to a level playing field was tremendous. Those again are all amazing stories that remind us we’re all human and we’re all in this together. The same goes for Johnson & Johnson and Childish Gambino for creating masterful pieces of art that double as cultural reminders of what’s really important. Now this article seems to be taking an emotional turn so I’m going to end it here but if you’re interested in checking out more of this year’s Cannes Lions 2019 winners you can do so at

Until next time!


-Ryan Dewan