Which Ads Will Win Big At Cannes Lions 2015? Here Are Our Predictions

We’re just a couple of weeks away from Cannes Lions – and here at Unruly we can’t wait. And with good reason. Cannes, after all, is the “world’s biggest annual awards show and festival for professionals in the creative communications industry”.

What this means is that, between June 21st and 27th, copywriters, CEOs and ad boffins of all description get the chance to dress up like Ryan Gosling and compete for the admiration of their peers.

Over the course of a week, talks will be given, awards doled out and interns go into overdrive trying to keep up with the in-jokes.

As with any industry event, there’s a certain amount of schmoozing and silliness in the air (in 2013, agency Deutsch LA famously handed out free pizza to tipsy attendees).

But the Lions are primarily a much-needed chance for the industry to reflect on a year’s worth of hard graft and creativity, and look forward to where we might be next year. In a landscape where social video hype often lasts no longer than an afternoon, it’s an opportunity to toast advertising’s achievers and innovators.

Last year, the festival awarded 15 Grand Prix winners to ads produced for all kinds of brands, from agencies based all around the world.

Some included 2014 sharing favourites like Volvo’s ‘The Hook’ (Forsman & Bodenfors), Terre Des Hommes’ ‘Sweetie’ (Lemz) and Chipotle’s stunningly epic ‘The Scarecrow’ (Creative Artists Agency & Edelman). Others, like G Star Raw’s innovative ‘RAW For The Oceans’ campaign, were there just to celebrate a very nifty idea.

While the Lions are ostensibly a festival of creativity, plenty of 2014’s biggest winners also shared well on the social web.

An online ad going viral is, after all, a pretty good indication that it’s hitting the spot. With the festival mere weeks away, we decided to trawl through Unruly’s Viral Video Chart and the industry speculation (as it turns out, ad creatives love to share Lions predictions on Pinterest) to pick out some potential winners.

First things first, there’s a few obvious big hitters. The Super Bowl is inarguably advertising’s most jam-packed weekend, and plenty of strong contenders came out of game day this year.

While Liam Neeson’s turn in ‘Clash Of Clans’ shared slightly better, the outside-the-box creativity of Snickers’ ‘Brady Bunch’ is right up Cannes’ alley.

Similarly, No More’s jaw-dropping PSA on domestic abuse gave voice to a serious issue in a daring manner.

In the name of patriotism, it’s necessary to pay lip service to two of the biggest British ads in this year’s competition.

The much-coveted Christmas ad title was fought hard between John Lewis’ ‘Monty The Penguin’ and Sainsbury’s World War 1 spot, and either stands to walk away with a gong or two later this month.

If the jury are feeling sentimental, there could also be some room for a couple of genuine tear-jerkers (and sharing hits) like ‘My Dad’s Story’ or ‘The Man & The Dog’.

But if Cannes Lions history teaches us anything, it’s that technical innovation (however mad) is the real key to success. With that in mind, the judges will have a tough time selecting the most ingenious idea.

As far as cutting edge ideas, Ogilvy shook up the PSA game with their heart-jolting spot for Volkswagen, in which cinema-goers came face-to-face with the consequences of texting behind the wheel. Meanwhile, Diversity & Inclusion’s wildly popular ‘Love Has No Labels’, with its innovative and engaging gimmick, could receive a little awards love of its own.

While some Lions speculators are backing Pizza Hut’s ‘Blockbuster Pizza Box’, others are suggesting Gillette’s spectacular piano performance may win over the crowd. Even a late-breaker like Castrol’s ‘Virtual Drift’ has the requisite ingenuity, not to mention the sharing success to back it up.

Last year, the Film Grand Prix (the big daddy of online video ad awards) rightly went to Volvo Trucks’ ‘The Epic Split’ and this year’s contenders will be hard stretched to match its success. As the festival approaches, we’ll be keeping you updated on further Lions news (not to mention, Unruly COO Sarah Wood will be speaking).

In the meantime, put the champagne in the cooler, dust off your evening attire and prepare to watch advertising’s best and brightest duke it out.