For the first time since 2013 this year the jury at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity brought back its top prize for branded content, which was paid high tribute among content marketers but was hold up the previous year by jury which was citing on shortage of standouts content.


In 2015 an anticlimactic end of Cannes International Festival of Creativity was marked as it turned out to be no Grand Prix winner in branded content and entertainment at all. That was the first signal that an overwhelming amount of branded content on the market had no worth seeing standouts.

Nothing from 1,394 entries was strong enough to be awarded, and David Lubars, president of the branded content and entertainment jury, explained that no Grand Prix movement with such words:

«When you give a Grand Prix, that’s like classic history forever, and the jury and I didn’t feel like any of those quite hit that peak».


Cannes International Festival of Creativity

It’s also known as International Advertising Festival and is considered to be the biggest worldwide gathering of ad professionals, digital innovators and marketers. This global event incorporates the Lions award and includes four award ceremonies with opening and closing gala.

Cannes Lions. Branded Content

Cannes Lions is an eight-day programme of life-chancing creativity, education and networking. This global meeting place for professionals in branded content communications gives marketers a great opportunity to connect, share and discover new problem solutions, and it also crafts culture from content and reframe consumers as fans.

Organizers of the event believe in power of creativity as in a business driving force and do everything to provide successful creativity campaign, to drive a genuine integration and create irrebuttable partnerships with brands.


How they improve quality of entries

This year New York Times managed to break through the standouts dearth and came up with «The Displaced», a virtual reality film dedicated to migrants problems and refugee crisis, which finally won Grand Prix award.

To prevent such standouts content crisis in the future the festival decided to support better branded content and replaced its ad tag for more new categories.

Cannes Lions 2016 marked as its goal to find out the way storytelling and talent elevate branded content and came up with dozen of new awards for Branded Content and Entertainment.

Notably that Branded Content and Entertainment category came across some issues which several categories had already done and especially as digital and social bleed in almost each part of the campaign.

«The thing about this category to me is that it’s not even a category anymore — it transcends. It’s just how the world is now», admits Mr. Lubars.

Ans such creating of more and more categories and awards seem to Phil Thomas, festival CEO, a valuable solution for improving and elevating the content marketing entries quality. According to Thomas, the main problem during these last two years was the entertainment side which did not show any reasonable growth the festival awaited for.


What the numbers say

The festival is being held during 62 years since 1954 and attracts more than 15,000 delegates from almost 100 countries. In terms of Festivals campaign 24 Golden Lions have already attracted more than 40,000 submissions.

Cannes Lions. Branded Content

This year the entries from the branded content category grew in 32% and reached 1,843 points, meanwhile Entertainment Lions for Music which is a new event earned only 637 entries. But still awards submissions were stepping up year from year at 7% overall.

The Creative Data received 715 entries and presented 40 Lions. This time Grand Prix went to “The Next Rembrandt” for ING project, which brings a new dimension to data collection and visualization.

Media category this year gained 2984 entries and 97 Lions were awarded, and the Grand Prix won McWhopper for the Burger King by Y&R NZ, Y&R Media NZ and David Miami. And as Nick Waters, Jury President and Chief Executive Officer from Asia-Pacific, said «this is brilliant work, brilliantly executed from a big brand taking on an even bigger competitor. It uses media to layer and whip up the story and provoke a fierce reaction».

And it’s impossible not to mention Shane Smith, VICE founder and CEO, who received the Media Person of the Year award for transforming Vice into a global multimedia youth brand and launching cable TV channel Viceland.

Finally the last issue to pay your attention at is a remarkable rise of the fringe beyond the festival and Palais building, which aimed to incorporate ad tech and media companies. And several days ago Yahoo decided to invest in branded content creation via Storytellers studio.

And the reason is easy as usual. Such partnership marks the need for better ad content and that’s what marketers this time should strongly think about.

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