Travis Scott Fortnite Epic Games

Digital Craft: Cannes 2021 Decoded

Epic Games wins Grand Prix with 'Astronomical' for Fortnite

By creative salon

There were no UK Lions winners in the Digital Craft category, which saw the USA's Epic Games win the Grand Prix with the 'Astronomical' in-game event that featured the rapper Travis Scott.

According to stats released by Epic, in addition to the 12.3 million watching live on 23 April, more than 27.7 million viewed the concert across the five events that ran until 27 April. It represented Fortnite’s largest in-game gathering.

There were five Gold Lions. These went to Cox Communications Atlanta/180 LA for 'Drawn closer' for Cox Communications; DDB Germany for 'The uncensored library' for Reporter Without Borders; FCB Canada/Google VR for 'Project Understood' for Google AI and Canadian Down Syndrome Society; MTA New York/Work & Co. New York for 'The MTA Live Subway Map' for the Metropolitan Transport Authority; and Spotify for 'Alone with me' for Spotify.

Creative Salon asked Digital Craft Jury President - Jax Ostle-Evans, Managing Director, Stink Studios, UK for her insights into the trends in this category this year. Read on for tips and advice on giving your agency or brand its best shot at success when submitting work for next year’s bash.

Key trends

A shift towards accessibility and inclusivity and diversity. Without a doubt, there's a responsibility to these brands to be doing good. However, let's remember we are a creative industry and brands just need to work hard on getting that balance around purpose right. Also I think, without a doubt, there needs to be a bit more fun. So I think if we can get the balance right for the purpose and the fun, the rest will follow. But there is also a responsibility for clients to stop just thinking of return on investment.

We were very privileged to judge some very well crafted and brilliant work, and which was reflective of the time. I'm actually quite surprised at how beautifully crafted and considered some of the work is given how quickly some of the brands and agencies needed to pivot.

As a jury, we talked about how we did not overly want to focus on the work that talked about the pandemic. The industry should be very proud of making some amazing work that (that has been rewarded) this year - which was not just about celebrating technological wizardry but also beautifully crafted human experiences, and that will always stand out as a moment in time.

What advice would you give to brands wanting to win in the category next year?

Good, creative data allows endless ways to listen to the consumer now, so use it. Brands who will succeed are those who communicate effectively 1:1 with their customer - know what they want, and invest in giving it to them.

Consumers remember a seamless experience, they really remember a not so seamless interaction, so invest well in the development and the craft and the rest will follow.

My only other thought would be around experimentation. The pandemic forced some quick thinking from both brands and agencies, some, which won big in Cannes this year. Don't be scared to innovate and experiment, it might not mean a Cannes in 2022, but it will mean one, one day.

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