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Creative Effectiveness Lions: Cannes 2021 decoded

Nike 'Dream Crazy' by Wieden+Kennedy, Portland scoops the Grand Prix, Gold and Silver Lions

By Creative Salon

Wieden+Kennedy, Portland has been awarded the Grand Prix for the Dream Crazy campaign for Nike in the Creative Effectiveness category.

Nike and Wieden+Kennedy, Portland have also scooped Gold and Silver Lions for the campaign.

Dream Crazy focuses on a collection of stories featuring athletes, who leverage the power of sport to move the world forward.

The Creative Effectiveness Lions celebrate the measurable impact of creative work, received 141 entries and 11 Lions were awarded: 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 4 Bronze.

Worthy mentions in this category also include:

Gold Lion for FCB New York for Burger King's The Whopper Detour (2021).

Gold Lion for Leo Burnett Madrid for Pernod Ricard-owned Ruavieja campaign called 'The Time We Have Left'. The heart of the campaign lies in an algorithm created to calculate how much time we have left to spend with the people we care about most.

Silver Lion for Rothco, part of Accenture Interactive, Dublin for ONE (The Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel/Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann) and is set against Ireland’s current homelessness crisis.

Neil Dawson, the chief global strategy officer of WundermanThompson and a Creative Effectiveness judge, talked us through his thoughts on the trends he saw and what it takes to create standout work in this category.

Trends in the entries

The predominance of short-term activation-focussed creativity. It is clear that alongside the proven long-term, brand-centric model of marketing effectiveness, a new more agile alternative is emerging. This is characterised by regular high-impact activations that energise a brand within a longer-term strategy or purpose to drive results.

The enduring power of emotional storytelling. The most effective work connects with human beings at scale using emotionally-driven ideas that resonate broadly beyond any specific target audience.

The impact of taking a stand. Businesses and brands are increasingly expected to take a stand on social, political and environmental issues- with inherent risks and opportunities. The winners show the effectiveness dividends for those who show bravery. (It is worth noting that our sample of entries covers the pre-COVID years 2017-19, and this expectation has only increased since then)

Advice to marketers who want to enter (and win)

Focus on a clear problem that is worth solving.

Connect your brand to culture beyond any specific audience or segment in order to maximise scale of impact.

Embrace creativity not only in verbal or visual expression but in products, experiences or collaborations.

Make technology and data the invisible enablers of creativity rather than the story in themselves.

Creative bravery pays dividends regardless of the size of your budget.

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