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Cannes Lions 2023

Creative Business Transformation: Cannes 2023 Decoded

McCann Worldgroup takes home the Grand Prix and a Bronze Lion for its Microsoft work, with no UK winners in the category

By Creative Salon

McCann Worldgroup has been awarded a Grand Prix and Bronze Lion in the Creative Business Transformation category for its campaign for Microsoft 'Adlam - An Alphabet to Preserve a Culture'.

The work, which honed in on the Fulani people of West Africa, aimed to salvage Pulaar, an African language spoken by over 40 million people. Centred around the work of two brothers, the campaign helped digitise a language that has previously only ever been spoken. Microsoft has now implemented the redesigned alphabet across their global platforms.

In the Creative Business Transformation category, Publicis Conseil also took home a Gold Lion for its 'Plug-Inn' work for Renault.

The initiative created up to 475,000 additional electric charging points, thanks to communities of local people who welcomed drivers to charge their electric vehicle in their homes. The campaign hoped to develop stronger charging infrastructures and ease concerns around ‘fear of charging’ which is said to be the most common obstacle for using electrical vehicles.

Dentsu Inc also bagged the second and final Gold Lion in the category for its 'Well-being Index (GDW)' campaign for Nikkei Inc.

As for Silver Lions, three were awarded separately to Serviceplan and its 'Dot Pad' campaign for Dot Incorporation, Leo Burnett and Cropin for their 'Smart Farm' campaign for Lay's and Draftline and David for their 'Corona Extra Lime' campaign for AB InBev.

A total of 10 Lions were awarded in the category: one Grand Prix, two Golds, three Silvers and four Bronzes.

Creative Business Transformation Lions are said to celebrate creativity that changes how businesses organise themselves, how people work and how customers engage with them.

The Judges said....

Justin Peyton, Chief Transformation & Strategy Officer APAC, Wunderman Thompson was on the jury this year and this is what he had to say...

What were the key trends/reflections in the Creative Business Transformation Lions category?

There were three big trends that we saw in winners this year.

TREND 1 - Building new services on top of existing Technology that is already in place

Not everything needs to be complicated and new to be great. Too often we think that transformation must involve building something entirely new, when in fact, by looking at the assets, resources and technologies that are already in place through a new lens, we can find ways to use them that drive entire new value for stakeholders. Two examples of this trend were:

Renault Plug-In – Gold Lion Winner – As automotive brands race towards electrification, one of the primary barriers they face is the size of their charging network. Building new charging stations around the country would be a challenge, but one which Renault overcame by transforming the home charging units from existing electric car owners into available charging points that any electric car own could reserve for personal use. In this way they leveraged the existing electric chargers to create a new point of value for both new and existing car owners.

Nativa Meter – Short List – Nativa Beer, one of the local beers of Colombia, uses casava root as a primary ingredient in the production of their beer. Recent weather and rainfall changes have however meant that farmers are facing new challenges in the farming process due to soil and the erosion caused by rainfall. To help understand the rainfall and how to manage it, Native Beer updated their beer bottle and transformed it into rainmeter. This meant that farmer could buy a rainmeter for pennies instead of the usual $20. To make things better, Nativa created a network for farmers to report rainfall and get insights back using WhatsApp.

TREND 2 - Looking Inward at Change

It's easy to see the problems in our environment but looking inward and being honest with ourselves about the impact we create and how it can be improved is important. But when those changes can be made in ways that drive revenue, even better.

Nikkei Well-Being Index – Gold Lion Winner – Nikkei provide market news in Japan. They also have created the largest stock index in Japan and as sure are recognized as a bastion of traditional capitalism. But after decades of limited market growth, Nikkei looked inward to see how they have contributed to the situation and saw that they needed to make changes if they were going to create a better Japan. Following significant research, they created the Well-Being Index as a new metric designed to track the performance and the life conditions of the people in Japan and employees of corporates. Following this they worked with the government and many large corporates to inculcate the principles of the well being index into behaviours. This continues with research and reporting being done every three months.

TREND 3 - Moving past Consumers to do work that impacts a broader stakeholder set

Marketing is typically focused on the customer. This neglects all the opportunity and value that can be unlocked by looking at all our broader stakeholders and our supply-chain. Fixing the problems for them can not only improve brand relationships and partnerships but drive sustainable value for all.

Microsoft ADLaM – Grand Prix Winner – Looking beyond their existing customers, Microsoft helped to digitize a language that had previously only existed as a vocal language. In doing so, they connected a culture of over forty million people with the modern world and transformed every small business within that community.

Corona Extra Lime – Silver Lion Winner – In China, Corona beer saw a problem impeding their growth and that was the quality of limes. As a beer that is traditionally drunk with limes, they need an ample supply of high quality limes to be available, but unfortunately, the farmers in China were not growing a product that was fit for purpose. To help with this Corona worked with farmers to transform their supply chain. They taught the farmers how to grow better limes, in turn securing their product and allowing them to focus on teaching the Chinese people the ritual of Corona drinking and ultimately to get back to growth.

What advice would you give to marketers wanting to win a Creative Business Transformation Lion next year?

There are two things that I would highlight.

First of all, give us the evidence of impact. What wins a Lion in other categories is not the same as what wins in Creative Business Transformation. We need to see the data and see the result. The jury will dig into it all. They will go to the websites that you list, and they will research your work, but this is only possible if you give them to the data to start with. So I will say again – show us the results.

Second and most important, Transformation, by its very definition is about instituting change that has a lasting impact. As such, it’s not enough to the jury what has been done. You must also show evidence that the transformation in question has the potential to deliver a significant impact going forward. While it’s obvious that no future results could be provided, if the past results were compelling they should provide a platform from which the potential for future and lasting impact could be discussed and inferred by the jury.

What led to your decision in selecting the winning Grand Prix in the Creative Business Transformation Lion category?

ADLaM as a piece of business transformation has broad scope. On the surface it may appear to be just another product transformation from Microsoft, but as we looked further at what they had done, the scale of its impact became more clear. First for its ability to transform every small business within the ADLaM community, which is already very significant. But further to this, Microsoft and their agency showed evidence of having productized this process so that it could be repeated for other marginalized cultures and communities whose languages either do not exist in written form or are not available in digital format. In doing so, they showed that this transformation isn’t limited in scope to the ADLaM community but will in the future help to connect other communities to the modern world.


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