Mastercard True Name McCann

Brand Experience & Activation Lions: Cannes 2021 Decoded

McCann New York for Mastercard's 'True Name’, and DAVID, Madrid / DAVID, Miami for Burger King ‘Stevenage Challenge’ scoop the Grand Prix

By Creative Salon

The jury awarded two Grands Prix: ‘True Name’ for Mastercard, McCann New York, USA, the campaign that empowered transgender and nonbinary cardholders to use their True Name. And another for Stevenage Challenge’ by DAVID, Madrid / DAVID, Miami for Burger King - the third of the week for this work.

Brand Experience and Activation Lions, celebrate creative, comprehensive brand building through experience design, activation, immersive, retail and 360° customer engagement, 75 Lions were awarded by the jury from 2,352 entries received: 11 Gold, 19 Silver and 43 Bronze.

Jury President, Vicki Maguire, Chief Creative Officer, Havas, UK, described the Mastercard 'True Name' work as a piece of work that “touches you, that hits something, that you feel before you actually comprehend it.”

UK winners in this category include:

Gold, Silver and 2 Bronze Lions for McCann London for Xbox 'The Birth of Gaming Tourism' campaign, which transformed Xbox into a travel brand.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Lions for Uncommon for H&M's One/Second/Suit built on the insight that not every man going for a job interview owns a suit, nor have the money to invest in one. H&M unveiled its free 24-hour suit rental service to help young men searching for a job.

Silver and Bronze Lions for AMV BBDO for Bombay Sapphire 'Creativity is Essential' where it partnered with artist Camille Walala and the Design Museum on a shop installation that aims to make creativity accessible to all.

Bronze Lion for Havas London for the Black Plaque Project, an initiative to commemorate the contributions of black people throughout history.

Creative Salon talked with Jury President Vicki Maguire, the chief creative officer of Havas London, about the most prominent trends among the winners, and what it takes to stand out among the entries in the Brand Experience & Activation category.

What trends have you noticed in your category?

The circular economy has been a big part of the Brand Experience & Activation category this year.

We’re seeing the rise of brands taking responsibility, not only for their actions, but for their products and the role those products are playing in the world. Ikea ‘Resell’, H&M ‘The Loop’ and Finish ‘Water Index’ are good examples.

What advice would you give to aspiring winners in this category next year?

It’s the age of activism. Starting a conversation is no longer enough, nor is just sparking a debate or even setting the blogosphere alight. My jurors and (if the results are anything to go by) the consumers, want to see positive action from brands that are stepping in to provide real solutions.

I don’t know if it was just in our category, but we saw less pure charity and more powerful collaborations – charities are getting together with brands to make a difference rather than going it alone. We saw some of this before Covid, but more and more brands are now leading cultural innovations - Mastercard and Starbucks, for example, are doing great work in the LGBTQi+ space.

I hate using the word “brave” in advertising, but my advice would be, don’t shy away. Brand Experience & Activation is like the creative wild west: ideas are born, trends are started, and culture is dented. This category is my absolute favourite.


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