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cannes lions 2024

Entertainment Lions for Sport: Cannes 2024 Decoded

McCann London wins a Silver Lion for its Xbox 'Everyday Tactician' campaign

By Creative Salon

McCann London has been awarded with a Silver Lion in the Entertainment Lions for Sport category for its 'Everyday Tactician' campaign for Xbox. The work merged real and virtual worlds by recruiting the newest member of Bromley FC’s management team through the popular Football Manager game.

Nathan Owolabi joined Bromley Football Club as the Club's Tactician earlier this year, helping Bromley FC get promoted for the first time in their 132-year history.

The campaign has also been shortlisted for Titanium Lion.

The Grand Prix in the category went to Marcel for its 'Women's Football' campaign for Orange. The work used VFX and AI deepfake technology to seamlessly swap the faces of male French football stars with those of female players, highlighting the skill of women's football. By revealing this switch, the ad powerfully challenges the bias against women's football and promotes the message that women are just as skilled as men.

A total of 21 Entertainment for Sport Lions were won: one Grand Prix, four Gold, six Silver and ten Bronze.

The Judges said ...

Ben Williams, global chief creative experience officer, TBWA\Worldwide, was one of the jurors and this is what he had to say...

Why did the winner win?

The piece that took the top prize stood out for several reasons. Firstly, it tackled a perception of women's sport head on and in a way that showcased and revealed a bias that a lot of the world - whether they know it or not - has towards women’s sport. As with all the work, there was a deep and healthy discussion around each piece, and for this piece specifically, it rose to the top because as a jury, we hope this is a signal or blueprint as to how a brand can truly support a team, athlete or sport in ways that go far beyond getting a logo on a jersey or uniform. A great piece that celebrated not only women’s sport, but sport in general, and one that sparked a long overdue but necessary conversation.

Were there any trends you noticed in this years category?

  1. Fandom Culture - In sport and sport culture, the community and fandom thrives on information. The inside story, the back story, and the fun moments that no one else knows earns you credibility. The community is always on, and always engaging in sport.

  2. Women’s Sport - We saw a number of pieces entered this year representing women’s sport. With the women’s world cup last year, the majority were focused around women’s football. What was exciting to see, was a number of pieces finally being created and constructed in ways that are on par with how men’s athletes and sports has been represented in the past.

  3. Empowering Participation - It’s no secret that over recent years, we have seen a dramatic decline in sport participation, especially in younger generations that have a multitude of options of where to spend their time. We’ve also simply seen the entry into sport be a barrier for many. It was encouraging to see work where brands were tackling these head on with not just campaigns to encourage more participation, but activations, experiences and even services that truly enable more participation.

  4. Comedy is Back - Sport marketing has long been focused on the elite performance and accomplishments of athletes and teams. This year it was refreshing to see not only brands celebrating and recognizing performance, but in doing so, were able to take a lighter approach along the way.

Based on the entries you reviews - what advice would you give to anyone hoping to win next year?

For the Entertainment Lions for Sport category specifically, being true to sport and sport culture is key. Work that is responding to, or fuelling sport culture is key. Work that is authentic to the culture of sport stands out. In addition, I would say work that moves the industry forward, whether that is including communities that may not have been invited into the world of sport in the past, or whether that is moving the needle in terms of how we celebrate and support women’s sport, work that is shaping a more equitable and inclusive world of sport stood out. Finally, this is Entertainment for Sport. It is essential that the work, at its core is genuinely entertaining.

Follow Creative Salon's Cannes Lions 2024 coverage through our dedicated content section.


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