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Creative Commerce Lions: Cannes 2022 Decoded

Leo Burnett Chicago win the Grand Prix in Creative Commerce for Wingstop campaign

By Olivia Atkins

Leo Burnett Chicago's simple yet effective campaign for fast food chicken brand, Wingstop, scooped up the Grand Prix in the Creative Commerce Lions category.

Its winning work, Thighstop, saw the effective switch made by the brand to combat the short supply of chicken wings. Pivoting and rebranding itself overnight, the creative reworked previous advertising to mark this change creating a tongue-in-cheek yet knock-on effect with consumers who rushed out to buy the brand's chicken thighs.

There were no UK Lions awarded in this category.

Creative Salon caught up with Creative Commerce jury president and global CEO of VMLY&R Commerce Beth Ann Kaminkow to unpick conversations from the juror's room and reveal thoughts around their final decision.

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

The transformative shift from Ecommerce to Creative Commerce Lions recognizes the disruptive power in all commerce channels no longer limiting work and entries to digital domains, formats and channels. This year’s contenders set new standards that are Commerce-led (shopping, selling, transacting and buying) to become a wide-open canvas for brand building, consumer engagement, sales impact and talent.

The key theme we kept coming back to was commerce as the new center of gravity for brands and businesses. The legacy divisions between 'above-the-line' and 'below-the-line’ that consigned some work and agencies to be 'creative' and others to be 'activation' are thankfully a thing of the past.

We saw creativity linked to transaction deepening brand experience and driving conversion. The work this year didn’t divert from brand, through the brand’s values it brought creatively to solve a business problem, across media and channels. From sustainable commerce solutions magically embedded in a way to encourage consumers to act on purpose (e.g., Unilever’s Smart Fill), to entertainment commerce connected to culture embedded into people’s lives (e.g., IKEA Trapped in the 90s) through to conversion commerce making it easier for us to buy via payment innovation or brand experience (e.g., IKEA Dollar Catalague).

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

It’s simple, Creative Commerce needs to add value to people's life, inspiring us to buy versus selling the brand. It’s about commerce baked into the brief. Delivering improved experiences at the heart of commerce strategy.

We saw a genuine re-evaluation of channel mix, with brands considering the role of each channel and how it delivers against consumer expectations. This shift was reflected by jury diversity, with backgrounds in experience, media, creative, brand, and agency - representing the full-funnel thinking needed to win in Creative Commerce. For us, it was all about bringing something fresh and new to the industry: commerce-led, genuinely scalable (no gimmicks!), and ultimately influencing how we buy.

What was your favourite work in this category? Why did the winner win?

The Grand Prix winner, Thigh Stop, wraps all of this into one courageous move by a brand pivoting its business to deliver results for both customer and its own commercial growth. The American restaurant, Wing Stop, in response to the chicken wing shortage was faced with an incredible challenge – how do you keep the lights on when your brand, and your business, depends on wings.

This Creative Commerce solution extended across every channel, from pack design to influencers to ads and all comm touchpoints. The brand creatively shifted the business model, sending sales up and solidifying a new revenue stream and growth opportunity.


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