20 Campaigns That Will Win at Cannes

Leo Burnett's Mark Tutssel makes one last set of predictions

Still from Nissin ramen ad Akuma no Kimura
Wholesome Japanese ramen brand Nissin took its advertising in a demonic, metal new direction with Akuma No Kimura. Dentsu Tokyo
Headshot of David Griner

For the past 17 of his 34 years with Leo Burnett, Mark Tutssel has been sharing his predictions for which marketing campaigns will win at the Cannes Lions. And, as one of the only agency leaders to serve as a Cannes jury president five times, he’s had a 100% success rate in recent years.

Tutssel is just weeks away from retirement, but he agreed to do one last prediction list. Here are his selections, with summary and analysis by Adweek.

John Lewis & Partners, “The Boy and the Piano,” adam&eveDDB

With his farewell tour underway and a biopic coming to theaters, Elton John was already at risk of saturating pop culture when British retailer John Lewis released its holiday spot in 2018. But the brand and adam&eveDDB brought a fresh and heartwarming new perspective to the singer’s career by telling his life story in reverse, tracing it back to the gift of his first piano.

The New York Times, “The Truth Is Worth It,” Droga5

As President Donald Trump has continued escalating his denouncements of the U.S. news media, Droga5 has found new and compelling ways to celebrate one of Trump’s most frequent targets: The New York Times. This campaign tells the stories behind the newspaper’s major investigations with a level of granularity reminiscent of All the President’s Men.

Burger King, “Whopper Detour,” FCB New York

Calling the business results “insane,” Burger King global CMO Fernando Machado recently wrote in Adweek that “Whopper Detour” generated an ROI of 37-to-1. By offering fans a 1-cent Whopper—if they drove to a McDonald’s location to unlock the mobile app coupon—Burger King vaulted to No. 1 on the app charts and set a new bar for trolling your competitor.

Nike, “Dream Crazy,” Wieden + Kennedy Portland

Few ads have had the immediate cultural impact of Nike’s “Dream Crazy,” which kicked off the 30th anniversary of “Just Do It” by featuring polarizing quarterback Colin Kaepernick. W+K Portland’s ad set off a cacophonous debate around players protesting police violence. Critics raged, and Trump tweeted, “What was Nike thinking?” But the campaign was credited with a 31% sales increase.

Essity, “Viva La Vulva,” AMV BBDO

When Essity—parent of brands including Bodyform, Libresse and Saba—began selling hygiene products like washes and wipes, it took the lessons of its industry-rattling #BloodNormal campaign, which brought accuracy to how periods are portrayed in marketing, and tackled a new set of stigmas facing women. The result is an unforgettable celebration of vulvas, cleverly animated via everything from oysters to fortune cookies.

New York Public Library, “Insta Novels,” Mother New York

With its breezy vibe and lightning-fast navigation, Instagram might seem like the opposite of weighty literature. But the NYPL married the two worlds in a wonderful and addictive way by turning works like Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis into brightly illustrated Instagram Stories. The effort brought in 140,000 new followers, with the “Insta Novels” read 300,000 times in just a few months.

HBO, “Westworld: The Maze,” 360i

Packed with more than 11,000 lines of scripted and voice-acted dialogue, “Westworld: The Maze” was HBO’s first foray into voice-activated skills—and one that proved the sprawling potential of a medium best known for telling you the weather. The game boasted 60 potential storylines and two hours of unique gameplay.

Kraft Heinz Country Time Lemonade, “Legal-ade,” Leo Burnett Chicago

Is there a more compelling David-and-Goliath story than children battling City Hall? With “Legal-ade,” Country Time Lemonade offered to cover the legal expenses incurred by children running lemonade stands who get fined for operating a business without a license. It’s a rare scenario, but it scored national PR for the brand as a hero to aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere.

Adidas, “Billie Jean King Your Shoes,” TBWA\Chiat\Day New York

This story first appeared in the June 10, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."