nike Never Done Evolving Feat Serena

Cannes Lions 2023

Digital Craft Lions: Cannes 2023 Decoded

AKQA scoops the Grand Prix while Nexus Studios, Eleven Management and Gorillaz collectively take home a Gold Lion

By Creative Salon

Nike and AKQA took home the Grand Prix in the Digital Craft category at Cannes 2023 for their 'Never Done Evolving Feat Serena' campaign.

The US, Brazil and Australia-based work used AI to create a match-up between Serena from her first Grand Slam at the 1999 US Open versus her most recent at the 2017 Australian Open. The intention was to explore the athlete's growth in the sport. Machine learning made it possible to model each era’s playing style.

Meanwhile, a collaborative effort between Google and UK-based Nexus Studios and Eleven Management resulted in a Gold Lion-winning campaign for virtual band Gorillaz.

The campaign for Gorillaz's 'Skinny Ape' single featured an AR activation in both Piccadilly Circus, London, and Times Square, New York. Passers-by in both cities used their phones to witness giant versions of the Gorillaz characters performing atop buildings and skyscrapers.

A Gold Lion for Digital Craft was also awarded to Spotify and its in-house agency for the 'Wrapped on Platform Experience' campaign.

The 2022 Wrapped initiative from the music streamer gave listeners ways to share, discuss and visualise their annual listening recaps 'like never before'. The campaign - which received 156 million users and 6.5 million social mentions - provided Spotify's 456 million users with personalised summaries of their listening habits in 2022.

A third and final Gold was won by Sao Paulo-based AKQA for its 'Transparency Card' work for Congresso Em Foco.

The Digital Craft Lions celebrate technological artistry and work that has flawless design, masterful execution and outstanding user experience created for all digital environments.

A total of 20 Lions were distributed in the Digital Craft category: one Grand Prix, three Gold, seven Silver and nine Bronze.

The `Judges said....

Noah Khan, Regional Head of Digital & Innovation Africa and Middle East, TBWA & DAN

Why did the winner win?

The winner won for a great idea that epitomizes the meaning of digital craft—bringing together multiple areas in beautiful harmony, exquisite storytelling, and finding new and exciting ways for the idea to spread while remaining true to the core message of celebrating the greatest of all time.

What were the key trends/reflections in this Lions category?

There was a lot of generative AI work, but unfortunately, most of it lacked true craft. Using a tool or technology alone does not win you a Cannes Lion. Additionally, we witnessed a very diverse body of work from a large number of markets, which was incredibly encouraging. We also saw some amazing use of old-school techniques and new-age thinking beautifully melding together.

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

Tell a story, pay attention to detail and craft. Remember, the technology and mediums are just means to support your work. Create some work you would be proud to show your mom.


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