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Titanium Triumphs Part 1

Out of all the literally hundreds of International and local advertising industry competitions in the world covering a multitude of categories, the award for me that continues to shine the brightest is the Cannes Festival’s Titanium accolade.

Dan Wieden’s proposal of introducing a ‘Titanium Lion’ was unanimously adopted by the Cannes International Festival of Creativity in 2003.

His original charter for the award was to recognise work that was so groundbreaking, it paved the way to a new advertising industry path that was difficult to place into a conventional category.

As the festival’s only horizontal category, jury members every year revisit Dan Wieden’s charter to refine the Titanium benchmark criteria for their judging deliberations and qualitative assessments of worthy award winners.

The advertising campaign examples I have featured comprise a 3-part series of selected Titanium triumphs from 2013 to 2019.

Part 1 includes creative triumphs from Brazil, The United States of America, Canada, The United Kingdom, Argentina, Sweden, and New Zealand.

1. Dove, Real Beauty Sketches

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Brazil

Cannes Festival Titanium 2013

One of my most admired examples of what a Titanium Lion award exemplifies is Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’.

The powerful human insight that resonates with viewers is that in truth, women are their own worst critics. Global research revealed that only 4% of the women in the study regard themselves as being beautiful.

The aim of the commercial was to convince women that they are more beautiful than they think. It was filmed in a captivating documentary style and directed with much pathos and sensitivity by filmmaker John X Carey.

The message motivated emotive responses that were far-reaching. Fifteen million people downloaded the commercial within a week and it was shared in 660,600 posts on Facebook during the first ten days. At the end of three months it had been viewed on YouTube 163 million times.

2. Not Impossible Labs & Intel, Project Daniel

Agency: The Ebeling Group, New York, USA

Cannes Festival Titanium 2014

American filmmaker, executive producer, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Mick Ebeling, is the founder of The Ebeling Group, and The Not Impossible Foundation. A non-profit company committed to creating technology for the sake of humanity.

‘Project Daniel’ is truly remarkable story of philanthropic endeavour by the collective of designers at The Not Impossible Labs in Venice, California, and the Intel Corporation.

In 2013 they successfully established a facility in The Republic of the Sudan’s Nuba Mountains for creating 3D-print prosthetic arms for children who lost their limbs in the country’s long running civil war.

3. Procter & Gamble’s Always, Like A Girl

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago, Toronto and London

Cannes Festival Titanium 2015

Leo Burnett’s, networking agency initiative, honours joint winners LB Canada, with their first Titanium Lion award.

The social activism experiment ‘Like A Girl’ is based on a powerful human truth that P&G identified as follows:

“Gender stereotypes are so ingrained in our culture, that they are even part of our language”.

“The expression ‘like a girl’ in fact, is often used as an insult to tease somebody who is weak, over-emotional or useless. If it happens to young girls at a time when identities are already very fragile, it can have a devastating effect”.

The societal impact of this Always brand initiative was huge. The launch commercial on YouTube was viewed more than 90m times and shared by over 1m teenagers.

Men and women all over the world joined the Always brand’s social responsibility drive to help reclaim ‘like a girl’ as a positive statement and the #LikeAGirl hashtag skyrocketed on social media to unprecedented levels.

4. Samsung, Safety Truck

Leo Burnett, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Cannes Festival Titanium 2015

With Argentina’s traffic accident statistics being among the highest in the world, Leo Burnett and Samsung decided they had to find a solution to making the country’s, mostly two-lane highways, safer to navigate, especially when overtaking trucks.

Samsung Electronics and Volvo Trucks Argentina equipped several transport vehicles with innovative cameras in the front and large, image relaying OH460 screens, at the back.

Live footage of the test vehicles in action were shared on social media and widely acclaimed. Time magazine declared ‘Safety Truck’ to be one of the 25 best inventions of 2015.

5. Swedish Tourist Association, The Swedish Number

Advertising Agency: WPP Ingo, Stockholm, Sweden

Cannes Festival Titanium 2016

Sweden is the only country in the world with its very own telephone number. ‘The Swedish Number’, which one can call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, is: + 46 771 793 336.

Callers are connected to random Swedes who have signed up to be ambassadors for their country. They receive no training and no instructions about what, or what not to say.

The campaign marks the 250th anniversary of the abolishment of censorship in Sweden and aims to provide international callers with an honest and unfiltered view of Swedish life as seen through the eyes of its citizens.

Direct jury president Mark Tutssel, Global Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett, described the Cannes tribute as honouring “the essence of brilliant Direct work”.

“In a world where we text, we tweet, we snap and we have a million options at our fingertips, it’s easy to mistake technology for human connection.”

“At the end of the day, we’re people talking to people. And it’s really refreshing to see an idea and a campaign that unites 9.5 million brand ambassadors with the world through the most direct form of communication, which is speaking, talking. In this case, a one-to-one phone call.”

“ It’s direct at its core. It’s an incredibly brave idea that generated immediate response. And it’s a campaign for tourism that transcends tourism to become a celebration of national pride and a potent, powerful celebration of a country’s 250-year commitment to freedom of speech.”

6. DB Export, Brewtroleum

Advertising Agency: Colenso BBDO, Auckland, New Zealand

Cannes Festival Titanium 2016

With the huge growth of craft and ‘premium’ beers globally, mainstream beers are now perceived by many to be boring, and many brands have suffered a rapid decline in consumption popularity.

And nowhere more so than in New Zealand, where DB Export has seen a year on year decline in sales. Other mitigating factors of are of course, changes to healthier lifestyles and the lowering of drink-drive limits.

But what if Colenso BBDO and Heineken Asia owned DB Breweries could come up with an added value idea to make ‘ordinary’ DB Export something ‘extraordinary’?

The answer was an ingenious campaign to create a clean-burning, conflict-free biofuel from the yeast left over from brewing processes.

The resultant ‘Brewtroleum’ commercial, directed by Tim Bullock, could now exhort New Zealand beer drinkers to be environmentally responsible by making DB Export their brand of choice to save the planet.