cheetos can't touch this goodby

Creative Strategy Lions: Cannes 2021 Decoded

Grand Prix for Cheetos 'Can't Touch This' by Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Creative Strategy Lions Jury President, Suzanne Powers, shares her insights

By creative salon

The Grand Prix went to ‘Can’t Touch This’ by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco for Cheetos. This Super Bowl ad launched Cheetos Popcorn with an ingenious take on MC Hammer’s iconic catchphrase "U Can’t Touch This".

This campaign marked the first time in more than a decade that Cheetos made an appearance in the Big Game. The purpose: to promote the new Cheetos Popcorn, which riffs off the realty that eating Cheetos make touching anything a bit of a messy situation.

The Creative Strategy Lions, which honour work that demonstrates how strategic planning can redefine a brand, reinvent its business, and influence consumers, or wider culture, received 677 entries and awarded 20 Lions: 3 Gold, 7 Silver, and 9 Bronze.

We asked the Creative Strategy Lions Jury President, Suzanne Powers, Global President & Chief Strategy Officer, McCann Worldgroup, Global for her insights.

What are the key criteria for this category?

Strategy that unlocks an irrefutably powerful creative solution. As a jury, we were looking to award Creativity that is Strategic And Strategy that is Creative.

We hunted for work that helped the brand, product or service take a leap that drives impact to the business, brand, and, yes, ideally culture. Importantly, to us, ‘impact’ does not mean massive size – it means ‘effect with intensity’

We awarded based on this, or put another way, cases that should serve the industry as a blueprint to solve problems for business, brand and culture.

What key trends did you see this year?

There were three key macro trends for me.

  1. The fundamentals of Creative Strategy are more important than ever. Digging deep for the real problem at hand; unlocking an insight that’s not only true to the brand, product or service; but also unlocks a unique powerful creative solution; and activating that solution in strategically brilliant ways with reach, focus and intensity; generates the strongest impact. Strong insights are key to unlocking creativity: whether that was human, cultural, product, business, categorical, or better yet a combination.

    Solutions that were truthfully integral to the product, service or brand, itself, rather than appropriation, or borrowed interest, yield the most power.

    Global platforms can travel, yes, but local nuance/depth of understanding is critical to identifying the most powerful ways to activate those ideas to impact the local culture.

  2. Bravery is crucial- whether that’s finding the evidence to push an idea to fruition; taking a broader/bigger stance to champion a societal issue in ways that are right for the brand; or even to push through all of the varieties of experiences that an idea can/should extend through.

    Big brands bravely championed societal issues. As the pandemic amplified many issues of humanity, brands stepped up to fight for real change in ways that were integral to their business rather than superficial. (Starbucks, A/B, J&J, Unilever/Dove, etc.)

    Smaller, local efforts taught us valuable lessons through brave creativity to solve their local (yet often globally relevant) issues (Interval House/Freedom Tampons, Hope Tape, Dad’s Job, etc.)

    Taking a typically ‘boring’ brief/assignment and bravely turning it on its head unlocked massive creativity (T3/Connected Island selling a BtoB offering, Cheetos launching a product variant)

  3. We need marketing to champion the human condition and represent the emotional range. Brands, through their creativity, showed us they can run the gamet: from bringing joy and lightness; to illuminating and pushing to solve the world’s biggest problems; and everything in between.

    All of this is strategically Creative and creatively Strategic.


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