Cannes 2012: Work to Watch

'Adweek' and Leo Burnett pick favorites to win Lions at this year's festival

The Cannes Lions festival has been moving away from its focus on TV spots in recent years. In 2012, for the first time in 25 years of forecasts, fewer than half the entries in Leo Burnett's Cannes Predictions Reel are traditional commercials. The rest? Music videos, Facebook apps, 3-D light shows, mobile-commerce technologies, annual-report designs. The TV spot still thrives, but many lively companions are jostling for Lions in France.

As part of our festival preview, Adweek took a close look at Burnett's predictions for 40 works to watch at Cannes, choosing 18 of our favorites. These campaigns and executions wowed consumers and should do the same for the 15 Cannes juries (led by 14 jury presidents, pictured at right). Burnett identified six trends and themes for 2012, which we are also using to group our selections: Customization, Theater of the Streets, Craft, Provocation, Future-Facing Techniques and Narrative Twists. (As an annual bellwether for success at Cannes, Burnett's predictions have been remarkably accurate. Last year, the 40 campaigns selected for the reel won a whopping 90 Lions.)

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity runs June 17-23. Visit throughout for realtime festival reports, including video interviews, analysis, winners galleries and more.

  1. Customization

    • Intel, 'Museum of Me'

    Agency: Projector, Tokyo

    Personalized experiences are the lifeblood of social marketing. Intel took the inherent narcissism of Facebook and amplified it, building an app that collected your data and then invited you to visit a virtual museum of yourself—your friends, likes and links.

    • Google and OK Go, 'All Is Not Lost'

    Agency: Hakuhodo, Tokyo

    Marketing-savvy band OK Go teamed with Google and a group of dancers from the Pilobolus troupe on this participatory music video powered by HTML5. Users could type in a message that the body-bending dancers then spell out within the song.

    • Carling Black Label, 'Be the Coach'

    Agency: Ogilvy, Cape Town, South Africa

    Sports fans like to complain about coaches. But here, fans had only themselves to blame, as they picked the soccer players and substitutes via mobile votes for the 2011 Carling Black Label Cup between the Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

  1. Theater of the Streets

    • Target, 'Little Marina'

    Agency: Mother, New York

    A 25-foot-tall doll dressed in Missoni clothing stunned the normally unflappable New York Fashion Week crowd last year as she promoted the Italian designer's new line at Target. The campaign won best of show at the 2012 One Show Awards.

    • Nike/Brand Jordan, 'The Explosive Game'

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, New York

    Projection mapping is no longer an easy wow, but Nike made waves taking it to the water—creating a stunning light show showing a three-story-tall Carmelo Anthony dribbling, dunking and walking on the Hudson River.

    • Mercedes-Benz, 'Invisible Car'

    Agency: Jung von Matt, Alster, Germany

    In a bit of Harry Potter-like wizardry, Mercedes-Benz built a special LED cloak that made a car look invisible to promote its zero-emission fuel-cell technology. Video of the stunt quickly went viral online.

  1. Craft

    • Chipotle, 'Back to the Start'

    Agencies: Creative Artists Agency, Chipotle

    This now-famed morality tale about a farmer driven to factory farming was powered by exquisite stop-motion animation and Willie Nelson's cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist," winning the Grandy at the 2012 Andy Awards.

    • Barnardo's, 'Life Story'

    Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London