These Standout U.S. Campaigns Are Up for One of Cannes’ Most Coveted Lions

See America's Titanium shortlist entries

The Cannes Lions Titanium award is among the more coveted for work that delightfully blurs the category lines. This year’s shortlist shows a wide range of breakthrough work that retains the spirit of last year’s winners including the highly-awarded Fearless Girl for State Street Global Advisors, My Mutant Brain for perfume brand Kenzo, Refugee Nation for Amnesty International and Boost Your Voice for Boost Mobile. Previous winners, showing the breadth of ambition and creative smarts include REI’s #OptOutside and McWhopper for Burger King.

25 entries made the final cut with U.S. agencies in pole position represented by 15 agencies, and in-house brands (Apple, Intel and Spotify), followed by the U.K. with three, Australia with two and Germany, Spain, Mexico, India and Dubai clocking in with one each.

Colleen DeCourcy, Cannes Lions Titanium jury president and chief creative officer at Wieden+Kennedy is hopeful that these great ideas can, as she put it, “break the mold for advertising, with creative ideas that excite [the jury] about what great advertising can do for brands.”

Below are the 15 U.S. entries up for the Titanium gongs in the South of France (see the Adweek’s winners predictions from other campaigns from around the world).

Apple, “Today at Apple”
Agency: In-house

Super-tactile with its products and local culture, Apple’s “Today at Apple” campaign brought together experts to lead educational sessions ranging from photo and video to music, coding, art and design and more. There was ample star power as well, with performances by Dua Lipa in London, Sigrid in Paris, Leon Bridges and Charlie Puth at the Union Square store in New York—and a masterclass on the art of beatmaking by hip-hop legend RZA in Brooklyn.

RZA at Apple event in NYC
Credit: Apple

Tourism Australia, “Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home”
Agency: Droga5

It’s safe to say that just about everyone was hoping this campaign, starring Danny McBride, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe, Isla Fisher, Ruby Rose and other Aussie stars, with a cameo from Paul Hogan, was a real film. But this broke the mold for tourism marketing with a considerable content play. Now please go make this movie!

Tide, “It’s a Tide Ad”
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi N.Y.

Meta ads referencing other ads are nothing new, but Saatchi N.Y. flawlessly executed the extreme version of this approach with its 2018 Super Bowl campaign. Perfectly cast with Stranger Things’ David Harbour, the effort won a Black Pencil at D&AD and stands to claim more hardware at Cannes (with client P&G picking up the entry fees during parent Publicis’ fallow year).

HBO, Westworld
Agency: Giant Spoon

For those at SXSW, Giant Spoon’s activation recreating Sweetwater for HBO’s Westworld was the hot ticket. 444 pages of scripts for 60 actors populating the impressive recreation of the town outside of Austin was but one of the many touches that made this extension from Hollywood to the real world so unique.

KFC, “11 Herbs and Spices”
Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland

It’s nice when people pay attention. And, sometimes, that attention can go into the stratosphere. An enterprising Twitter follower noticed that KFC followed 11 people (an homage to the chain’s 11 herbs and spices) and they were: five Spice Girls and six men named Herb. The fun was planted a month before its discovery and proof that clever still matters.

Procter & Gamble, “The Talk”
Agency: BBDO New York

In one of the boldest pieces of U.S. advertising in 2017, P&G illustrated the emotional heartbreaking conversations many black parents have had with their children across several generations, trying to help them understand the inexplicable: Why the world will treat them unfairly simply because of their skin color.

Apple HomePod, “Welcome Home”
Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab

Showered with Lions in 2017, Spike Jonze’s frenetic ad for Kenzo starring Margaret Qualley was a sensory-overloading masterpiece. But this year, he created something even more wondrous in “Welcome Home,” a four-minute spot for the Apple HomePod following dancer FKA twigs through a metamorphosis that reshapes both her mood and the very world around her.

United States Postal Service, “Operation Santa”
Agency: MRM/McCann New York

Each year the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) receives millions of letter addressed to Santa Claus. While some ask for toys, many kids ask for help. The pilot program in New York worked wonders, by getting letters in their original form online where readers could “adopt” the letter and become that child’s Santa. Three weeks in, every letter was answered. Due to the pilot’s success, the program will roll out nationally in 2018.

Intel, “Drone Light Show at the Olympics”
Agency: In-house

Though Intel doesn’t hold the record for the most drones used in a light show anymore, the brand’s impact is hard to deny. Its beautiful use of art and technology at the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang is still a major talking point and its recent achievement, working with Time Magazine to create a recent cover keeps the company charging ahead of the pack.

TD Ameritrade, “The First Ad in Blockchain”
Agency: Havas, New York

We’re in the age of blockchain humor. Even if you don’t understand it, cryptocurrency is the topic that isn’t going away any time soon. To that end, Havas New York got cheeky by planting an ad in the blockchain (which cost $23.15 worth of transactions) that may not necessarily have broad appeal but makes for one good fin-tech story.

Montefiore, “Corazon”
Agency: JohnXHannes, New York

Going far beyond what’s expected for organ donor PSAs, this 43-minute film, based on a true story, follows the path of a Dominican sex worker with a failing heart who has an opportunity to get necessary surgery at Montefiore Health System, the health network that entirely financed the project. With a debut at Tribeca, it stars heavy hitting actors Ana de Armas, Demian Bechir and Oscar-winning composer Atticus Ross.

Spotify, “I’m With the Banned”
Agency: In-house

When can a music playlist make a statement? In Donald Trump’s world, anything is possible, and Spotify took the opportunity to slam the president with an audio and visual project that celebrated artists from the six majority-Muslim countries under last year’s travel ban. It’s not the first time the platform has gone into these waters, with Spotify creating playlists to support voter registration and refugees.

Burger King, “Whopper Neutrality”
Agency: David, Miami

Burger King CMO Fernando Machado likes to make a splash for the brand by weighing in on the unexpected. To wit, net neutrality doesn’t exactly seem like fast-food giant fodder. But, fanning the flames of the net neutrality debate, the burger giant made people wait for their beloved Whoppers—unless they wanted to pay more—to make a point. Once again, it was video gold.

UNESCO, New York Times, et al., “Read More. Listen More.”
Agency: Droga5, New York

On World Press Freedom Day, a truly free press, especially in a polarized post-2016 election/Brexit world, matters more than ever. With its anchor in print, the multiplatform effort calls out publications around the globe and encourages people to step away from the algorithms to understand what is going on around them.

MGM Resorts, Universal Love
Agency: McCann, New York

Never has a pronoun switch meant so much. In a compelling case of brand activism, MGM Resorts, with the aid of A-list artists like Bob Dylan, Kesha and St. Vincent, re-imagined wedding classics—traditionally heterosexual—as same-sex songs. Dylan, for example, changes “She’s Funny That Way” to “He’s Funny That Way” while St. Vincent sings “Then She Kissed Me” as opposed to “Then He Kissed Me.” This is very much part of MGM’s LGBTQ DNA, with a history of hosting same-sex weddings (before it was legal) and same-sex couple benefits.

Visit the Cannes Lions awards page to keep track of shortlists and winners in every category.

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