Innovation Lions: Cannes Decoded 2022

Leo Burnett Sydney wins Grand Prix with safe housing initiative for Suncorp

By Ian Darby

The Grand Prix in the Innovation category went to Leo Burnett Sydney for its 'One House to Save Many' work for the insurance brand Suncorp.

Leo Burnett's thinking led to a collaboration with leading housing experts, which aims to battle extreme weather and change the way houses are built in the future.

Working with James Cook University, the CSIRO and Room 11 Architects, Leo Burnett designed, tested and prototyped the One House—a home capable of withstanding fire, floods and cyclones.

This supported Suncorp's launch of Built It Back Better, an initiative to build back its customers’ homes stronger with more resilient options in the face of more frequent natural disasters.

Winning a Gold Lion in Innovation, a category in which there were a total of four awards, was FCB New York for its 'McEnroe vs McEnroe' idea for Michelob Ultra. This was billed as the world’s first tennis match to feature a real person versus a virtual, AI-powered player — both being a version of John McEnroe. The resulting film aired on ESPN channels.

Creative Salon spoke with Cleve Gibbon, chief technology officer at Wunderman Thompson North America and jury president of the Innovation Lions category, to hear his thoughts.

What were the key trends/reflections in the Innovation category?

CMO is a business partner to the CEO - today’s CMO must do more than just brand activation and advertising. Successful CMOs are driving innovation by proactively solving material business problems using creative partnerships and open source platforms. These holistic solutions have the power to impact growth and transform the business through true innovation.

Corporate responsibility is not always innovative - when developing for the future, corporate responsibility must go beyond the obvious or the bare minimum to achieve innovation. Being purpose-driven isn’t new – innovative brands are anticipating the greater societal and planetary needs many steps ahead. Lead the way, raise the bar, raise your own bar.

Effective innovation comes from the power of partnerships - for innovation to be effective, it must be measured against an aligned definition of success – and with a plan that moves beyond profit. Success should clearly demonstrate high impact and great execution.

The best innovations weren’t done in isolation. It’s a team effort. The stand out innovations showed a great relationship between the brand, agency and partners. That’s where the innovation came through strong, at the intersection of three.

What advice would you give to marketers wanting to win a Lion in the category next year?

To win in this category is to think beyond a Cannes Lion award. The innovation should demonstrate how an idea is executed to deliver an impactful business outcome. Have a plan. Understand what success means. Build a team of partners. And innovate together.

What was your favourite work in this category?

I didn’t have a singular favourite, but thankfully, all those that won the awards were my top choices. The awards represented a portfolio of innovation types. From the elegant simplicity of 'Killer Pack' to the technological complexity of 'McEnroe vs McEnroe'. Then from the scale of 'Pinatex' to the high impact of 'One House'. The Innovation category this year demonstrated how good ideas, with great execution, have high impact when teams partner, perform and progress towards an aligned plan to transform the business.

Why did the Grand Prix winner win?

Every year in Australia, homes are destroyed and billions are spent on rebuilding communities due to extreme weather events. 'The One House' set out to achieve something never done before — it democratises access to resilient housing materials to protect homes against tropical cyclones, floods, and fires. This housing solution was brought to life through a creative brand/agency partnership backed by the Australian government to deliver a commercially viable transformative product. As a jury, we were blown away by the boldness of the idea, the creative bravery of the execution, and the massive societal, environmental and economic impact. One House innovation has started a movement.


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