Austin agency GSD&M is prepping a place on their trophy shelf for some significant new arrivals: four awards from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, more commonly known as the Cannes Lions or, among the ad crowd, simply “Cannes.”
GSD&M came home from the festival with a coveted Gold Lion for its work for the U.S. Air Force for a digital campaign called The Collaboratory, an online recruiting program that allows users to help tackle some of the Air Force’s technological challenges, with the chance that the proposed solutions could become prototypes for potential real-world use.
The Gold Lion came in Cannes’ Cyber category, in the sub-group Social – Community Building and Management. GSD&M and the Air Force won an additional two Silver Lions for The Collaboratory, also in the Cyber category.
But wait, there's more. GSD&M was awarded a Bronze Lion for client Radio Shack, part of its “Goodbye ‘80s” campaign, which also included a much lauded Super Bowl TV spot. Radio Shack’s Lion also came in the Cyber category, for Social – Influencer/Celebrity/Blogger Outreach.
In an industry that may give itself more awards than any other, Cannes is one that is still highly respected by both agencies and clients.
Held each summer in the southern French beach resort that is even better known for the similarly-named cinema awards, Cannes Lions are the most coveted advertising hardware in the world. Winning one is seen as the ne plus ultra of creative achievement for an agency, not to mention a career boost for the individuals involved.
More than just the beauty pageant that many awards shows have become, Cannes has evolved beyond a showcase of great work. In addition to attracting a who’s who on the agency side, Cannes also attracts a large number of influential marketers, and seminars and programs aimed at discussing the future of the industry have become almost as newsworthy as the awards themselves.
Still, it’s the awards that people come for. Well, that and the good food, legendary drinking scene and over-the-top parties throw by the big agencies and holding companies. By day though it’s the most competitive of all advertising awards shows, with thousands of entries from all over the world. To even make the short-list, not to mention winning one of the Grand Prix, Gold, Silver or Bronze Lions, is a considerable achievement. It’s also as close to the Academy Awards – in prestige, pomp, ceremony and pretentiousness, as advertising gets.
“Winning Lions at Cannes is the ultimate achievement for creativity—it’s global talent playing at the highest level, so it’s difficult and meaningful to win. And our wins are not only big for GSD&M, they’re also a testament to the creative hotbed Austin has become,” said Jay Russell, chief creative officer of GSD&M, who was on hand in France to accept the awards.
This year, Cannes gave out 19 Grand Prix awards – the festival’s highest honor, plus 287 Gold Lions in 19 different categories. Each category has a number of sub-categories. Silver and Bronze Lions are awarded in each category as well.
While U.S. agencies have a big presence at Cannes, it truly is a global show. 22 U.S. agencies won Lions this year, including two Grand Prix and 47 Gold Lions. The remaining Gold Lions are now scattered around the globe, in every continent except Antarctica.
The most awarded US agency isn’t actually an ad agency at all. CAA Marketing, an arm of the LA-based talent agency, came home with two Grand Prix and eight Gold Lions for their Scarecrow campaign for client Chipotle. It was the overall best awarded campaign at Cannes this year.
These latest awards are GSD&M’s first Lions since 2004. LatinWorks, the Austin multicultural agency, won Lions in 2007, 2011 and 2012. LatinWorks and GSD&M are both owned by agency holding company Omnicom. In addition to those two agencies, Austin boasts a number of other Lion holders, including former adman turned tortilla impresario Doug Lyon, freelancers Tom Campion, Rich Tlapek and Jeremy Postaer and eight-time winner Joel Clement of McGarrah Jessee.
See GSD&M’s winning work here: https://collaboratory.airforce.com/
And all of the winning work, plus more, here: http://www.canneslions.com/