As agencies battle each other for Lions next week in Cannes, a gesture of peace might just end up with the most hardware.
Burger King and Y&R's McWhopper offer to McDonald's for Peace One Day is one of the pre-festival favorites. But it's only one of several dozen remarkable campaigns on Leo Burnett's 29th annual Cannes Predictions list.
Burnett identified six key themes this year: inventions (DB's Brewtroleum, If Insurance's "Slow Down GPS," Samsung's "BrainBAND"), earned media (Cointreau's #NotComingSoon, Netflix's FU2016), creative media partnerships with Silicon Valley (The Art Institute's "Van Gogh BnB"), personalization (Beats by Dre's "Straight Outta"), authentic truth (REI's #OptOutside) and storytelling by animation ("Justino," "ShottaSoCo," "Paper," "Shoplifters"). As usual, though, plenty of the work highlighted here is so forward-thinking that it defies categorization.
Visit adweek.com/cannes all next week for real-time reports from the festival, including video interviews, analysis, winners' galleries and more.
• Burger King & Peace One Day "McWhopper"
Y&R, Auckland, New Zealand
A truce in the burger wars? Burger King brilliantly suggested just that to McDonald's, offering to collaborate on a McWhopper for Peace Day. McDonald's politely declined, but BK had already scored a massive PR victory for an integrated stunt that should dominate across multiple categories in Cannes.
• Southern Comfort "ShottaSoCo"
Wieden + Kennedy, New York
W+K took a campy pop-culture device—Taiwanese animation of current events—and put it to wonderfully surreal use for Southern Comfort. The agency even hired the company behind the original videos, Next Media, and let the animators interpret the scripts in their own way.
• Andes Beer "Fairest Night of All," "Hagglers"
Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Argentine brewer scored with two fun, comic campaigns. First, it invited the best-looking men in one city to a fake, evening-long casting call, giving less attractive men a better shot with women at bars. Then it got the world's best hagglers from market stalls in India, Turkey and Togo to negotiate with men's girlfriends to earn the guys more time at the bar.
• DB Breweries, "Brewtroleum"
Colenso BBDO, Auckland, New Zealand
In a bit of alchemic magic, DB and Colenso BBDO created a clean-burning, conflict-free biofuel from the yeast left over after brewing DB Export beer. It was marketed with an irresistible appeal to beer lovers: Drink enough, and you could save the world.
• Xbox "Survival Billboard"
Xbox celebrated the launch of Rise of the Tomb Raider in the U.K. with a genius and sadistic stunt. It challenged eight Lara Croft fans to stand on a billboard in London for 24 hours and then pelted them with harsh weather—wind, rain, even snow—as voted for in real time by the public online.
• REI "#OptOutside"
Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco
The outdoors retailer took a brave anti-consumerist stance on the biggest retail day of the year, closing completely on Black Friday and paying its 12,000 employees as though it were a regular workday, "so they can do what they love most—be outside."
• Loterías y Apuestas del Estado "Justino"
Leo Burnett, Madrid
The best Christmas ad of 2015 didn't come from Britain as expected, but from Spain. This gorgeous animated lottery film, like a little Pixar movie, told the story of an overnight security guard at a mannequin factory who delights the daytime staff by setting up the figures in amusing poses.
• Intermarché "Sugar Detox"
The French eat way too much sugar. Could an ingenious combination of product and package design help? The supermarket chain's "Sugar Detox" desserts allowed consumers to gradually step down their sugar level within a single six-pack, with the sixth dessert having half the sugar of the first one.
• Curry's PC World "Spare the Act"
AMV BBDO, London
Struggling to pretend you're glad about a bad Christmas present? Get a professional pretender to help you. Jeff Goldblum gave ordinary people amusing acting lessons so they could seem grateful for crappy gifts in this British electronics retailer's memorable campaign.
• If Insurance "Slow Down GPS"
Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg, Sweden
F&B dreamed up a seriously clever safety feature for GPS navigators: Have the app switch to a child's voice near schools, day-care centers and other areas where children are likely to be present. The brilliant app works around all schools and day-care centers in Sweden, Finland and Norway.
• Suumo "Shell We Move?"
Hakuhodo Kettle, Tokyo
This real-estate website got involved in designing a very unexpected kind of home—for hermit crabs. With fewer natural shells available to crabs because of climate change, Suumo made artificial, cocoon-shaped ones—tough, light, environmentally friendly and really quite adorable.
• Honda "Paper"
RPA, Santa Monica, Calif.
RPA and stop-motion wizard PES teamed up for this remarkable Honda spot that told the brand's history of products—cars, motorcycles, outboard motors, CVCC vehicles, robotics and more—in a paper-flipping journey through thousands of hand-drawn illustrations.
• Beats by Dre "Straight Outta"
R/GA Hustle, Los Angeles
Everyone is straight outta somewhere. R/GA Hustle tapped into that pride of place with a Beats by Dre campaign around the movie Straight Outta Compton (about Beats founder Dr. Dre) that let people stamp their own city on the Straight Outta logo.
• Shiseido "High School Girl?"
Watts of Tokyo
The year's most mesmerizing product demo. The camera moves through what we think is a group of high school girls, but then, as it circles back through the same group, it becomes clear they're not high school girls at all—Shiseido makeup has hidden the truth all along.
• University of Western Sydney "Deng Thiak Adut Unlimited"
Lots of colleges put alumni in their ads. But Western Sydney University boasts one amazing grad in particular—Deng Thiak Adut, a former Sudanese child soldier who came to Australia at 14 as a refugee, taught himself English and eventually got a law degree from WSU.
• House Of Cards "FU2016"
BBH, New York
With a crazy presidential election rollicking the real world, Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood was campaigning for the same office in Netflix's House of Cards. But Frank's campaign suddenly became real, too—when an actual FU2016 headquarters opened in Greenville, S.C.
• Remy Cointreau/Louis XIII Cognac "#NotComingSoon"
Fred & Farid, New York
Cointreau got Robert Rodriguez to film a movie starring John Malkovich with a very eccentric twist: The finished cut has been put in a vault and won't be seen by anyone for 100 years. It will open in 2115, when the brand's Louis XIII cognac, bottled today, is ready.
• Harvey Nichols "Shoplifters"
This cheeky, inspired 90-second spot used real security-camera footage of shoplifters at a Harvey Nichols store in London—adding expressive cartoon faces to the perps, making it a rollicking bit of fun. "Love freebies? Get them legally," says the ad, promoting the chain's rewards app.
• Volvo Trucks "Look Who's Driving"
Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg, Sweden
F&B brought back its famous "Live Test Series" campaign in style, getting a 4-year-old to pilot a Volvo FMX, billed as "the toughest truck we ever built," via remote control. It's pure joy to see Sophie send the vehicle careening through marshes, deep ditches and even a concrete building.
• Prodiss "#MaPlaceEstDansLaSalle"
Fred & Farid, Paris
After the attack on the Bataclan concert hall in November, attendance at live shows in Paris plummeted. So, concert halls and theaters united in an act of solidarity—by all changing the names of their productions to Ma Place Est Dans La Salle (My Place Is at the Show).
• Sagami "Act of Love"
Hakuhodo Kettle, Tokyo
This condom brand got humans to act out animal courtship rituals, and the results were both hilarious and weirdly poignant. "We think too much and end up feeling afraid," the brand said. "Animals don't worry over their decisions. They act out of need and express themselves instinctively."
• Art Institute of Chicago "Van Gogh BnB"
Leo Burnett, Chicago
The Art Institute brought together all three versions of Van Gogh's "The Bedroom" for the first time in North America. To promote the show, it built an amazing, full-scale, livable model of the bedroom in a historic Chicago building—and let people rent it on Airbnb.
• Bajaj "The Nation's Bike"
Leo Burnett, Mumbai, India
In 2014, the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which had played a heroic role in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, was scrapped for metal. To preserve this treasured piece of history, Bajaj bought the metal and made motorcycles from it—selling 11,000 on the very first day.
• Samsung "BrainBAND"
Leo Burnett, Sydney
With help from a neuroscientist and an industrial designer, Samsung invented a headband that monitors concussion activity in the wearer. Sensors measure the force of impacts in real time, relaying data to doctors, referees and coaches, while LED lights indicate the severity of a hit.
• Under Armour "Rule Yourself: Phelps"
Droga5, New York
Impeccable craft and a compelling story of an aging hero's last stand made Under Armour's Michael Phelps spot one of the year's best. Beautiful and haunting, it captured the swimmer's solitary struggles perfectly as he prepares for one last shot at glory, and redemption, in Rio.
This story first appeared in the June 13, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
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