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Creative B2B Lions: Cannes 2022 Decoded

Wunderman Thompson won the Grand Prix prize in Creative B2B with Speaking in Colour for Sherwin-Williams

By Olivia Atkins

Wunderman Thompson’s ‘Speaking In Colour’ work for coil coatings manufacturer, Sherwin-Williams triumphed in the Creative B2B Lions category.

The campaign connected voice to colour to help customers pick the right shade of coating. Using voice activated technology, the AI colour system was developed to help architects and other users with making the colour-finding process as easy as possible.

All they had to do was share three words and the computer would generate a series of options for a personalised colour palette. Users could then go back and refine the colour until they had a match. The campaign is leading to the creation of a larger data set of colour hues.

There were UK-based winners in this category.

Creative Salon caught up with Creative B2B juror and chief experience offer Karen Boswell at VMLY&R EMEA to find out how the jurors reached their decision.

What were the key trends/reflections in the Creative B2B Lions category?

Businesses can be complex, but that doesn’t mean a creative idea needs to be. Simplicity and authenticity in delivering a clear ‘why us, why this’ message proved paramount to cutting through the sea of same.

Businesses creatively inspiring and connecting with other businesses excited us with the potential to model and drive mass behavioural change. Many front runners tackled a problem head-on and showed how both boardroom down, and community-up connected approaches could close the loop on positive disruption.

The level of craft overall was low; often, B2C and B2B felt muddled, and there was a lack of distinct brand building in several categories. Many entries felt they lacked consideration or perhaps conviction to a cause or direction of travel.

What advice would you give to marketers wanting to win a Creative B2B Lion next year?

Commit to getting it right. Creative B2B deserves love and attention. Enabling businesses to perform better, serve better and show up in the world in more sustainable ways shouldn’t be the last 5% of your budget. Consider why you exist, who are you here to serve, and what can you empower them to do that they wouldn’t be able to do without you? Design the right approach to that answer, then consider who the recipient is, not the business ‘who’ but the person or people, for what is a business if not its people.

What was your favourite work in this category?

I loved Heineken’s ‘The Unwasted Beer’, a reverse business model to address wastage during the pandemic; they brought back unused beer from their bars and reverse-engineered it into power for homes and fertiliser for farmers. This act demonstrated clear intent and delivered a strong support message at scale.

I love, loved Ikea’s ‘3D Printed Meatballs’, which takes their iconic meatball to a new level in a recruitment campaign targeted at attracting the tech talent they struggle to lure away from Google, Meta and the like.

And I love, love, loved: Strahl’s ‘Handle with I don’t Care’, which was standout in the Breakthrough on a Budget category, a super-simple approach to demonstrate the robustness of their polycarbonate glassware by sticking a stamp on the product and sending it completely unprotected to a selection of businesses. Clear product demonstration, 100% conversion and at the cost of a stamp. Genius.

Why did the winners win?

Stand-out work showed a thoughtful balance of human emotion and functional excellence; it sparked a lot of passion in the jury room to understand that businesses, executives and their workforce are not just an entity but people that make an organisation run. Why should B2B be lacklustre, dry and only about the product? Getting information or a demo into the hands of your next possible partner is not enough. Work that shone had consideration for the human experience and business goals.


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