Burger King Stevenage Challenge

Social & Influencer Lions: Cannes 2021 Decoded

DAVID Madrid/DAVID Miami collected a Grand Prix in the Social & Influencer category for their gamer-focused ‘Stevenage Challenge’ activity for Burger King

By Creative Salon

Burger King's sponsorship of Stevenage FC, at the time the lowest ranked football club in England’s four professional leagues, landed DAVID Madrid/DAVID Miami another Grand Prix, this time in the Social & Influencer category.

The brand’s logo also appeared across the world on shirts in the FIFA video game. The brand then set challenges to gamers to get Stevenage to the top in FIFA by signing the world’s best players, and rewarded them with burgers for their success.

R/GA San Francisco also won a Grand Prix in the category thanks to a social media campaign for Reddit on the back of a 5-second Super Bowl commercial that seized the moment following Reddit’s high-profile involvement in the GameStop stock frenzy.

Despite having little budget and no celebrity involvement, and just a week to capitalise on the raised profile of Reddit, R/GA’s ‘Superb Owl’ campaign got people talking on social channels to the degree that its ad became the most searched of Super Bowl.

McCann Manchester landed a Silver Lion with its ‘#FreeCuthbert’ campaign for Aldi, after rival store Marks & Spencer took legal action claiming that Aldi’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake closely resembled one of its own. The resulting social activity helped Aldi win “in the court of public opinion” by parodying M&S and its advertising.

FCB Inferno London also picked up a Silver Lion for its ‘Raising Profiles’ work for The Big Issue and LinkedIn, changing perceptions of those facing poverty using social media.

Social & Influencer trends

Social & Influencer Lions Jury President, Debbi Vandeven, Global Chief Creative Officer, VMLY&R, Global shares her insights with Creative Salon.

As the jury president what trends stood out for you?

We saw more than 2,000 pieces of work in the category and a few things stood out to me. First, gaming as a platform has really exploded in the past several years. We saw a lot more thoughtful work in this area. Second, I was very pleased to see a better level of craft in the work overall. Finally, work that rose to the top was work that was not only extremely strategic, but very ownable for a brand.

What advice would you give to marketers/brands wanting to win in this category next year?

My best advice would be to make the idea very clear and central to the case study. Ensure the work has social at its core. And showcase how the work is ownable by the brand — that’s it’s something only they could do.

What was your favourite work in the Social & Influencer Lions?

Overall, my favourite work in the category was work that was specific to social, that was ownable for the brand and that found a clever way to hack the platform.

The Uncensored Library for Reporters without Borders was such a great way to engage and educate a young audience on very complex topics within the Minecraft game. They used the best features of the gaming platform to make censored articles accessible. And they used the gaming community to spread the message and activate it.

Suberb Owls for Reddit capitalized on a unique moment in a way that only that brand could do. There was already a social conversation going on around Reddit, but they found a way to amplify it while upending traditional models — both those around the Wall Street investing community and those around the big game.

Nadja Lossgott, joint executive creative director at AMV BBDO, and a member of the Social & Influencer jury, adds that brands performing well in the category this year not only know the social media landscape but “it is part of their company culture, part of their strategy and the digital transformation has occurred from within. It means they can adapt at the speed of culture in real time. But also have their eye on the long-term play.”

She also said that the influence of gaming is a growing trend in the category: “You can see the big pushes brands are making within gaming, with varying degrees of success. But when they do get it right, they get huge engagement with a captive audience. Gaming is also our first window into the alternate reality, which we haven’t even touched the surface of yet. So, it’s going to be an exciting space to watch and of course see how inventive brands will become with it.”

How to win a Social and Influencer Lion

Lossgott’s advice to brands looking to perform well in this category was straight to the point: “Have a helicopter view at the same time as having your ear to the ground. Nimble foresight.”

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