Cannes Lions 2017: highlights from day one

Day one of Cannes generally sets the scene for the rest of week, with the finalists across six categories all holding their lucky charms close as they wait to see if they convert their shortlists into silverware. Here’s a rundown of which local agencies are in the running for glory. 


In 2015, the Cannes Festival of Creativity introduced the Glass Lions category to recognise agencies doing their bit to challenge gender biases across the world.

The award was developed in collaboration with LeanIn.org, the foundation started by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, and will this year celebrate only its third collection of winners.

This year there was a total of 27 shortlisted entries, with work from every continent illustrating that this is a global issue.

Saatchi & Saatchi was the only representative from New Zealand, getting the nod for its ‘Shielded Site’ campaign developed for Women’s Refuge.

The campaign has been developed to protect victims of domestic violence from abusive partners using digital means to control them.

As on the shielded.co.nz microsite, abusive partners now use GPS tracking, account passwords and browser history to control their partners.

Launched late last year, the campaign incorporated the Shielded logo on some of New Zealand’s most popular sites, giving victims a means by which to get help without provoking the suspicions of the abusive partner.

The Warehouse, Z Energy and ASB were just some of the organisations to back the cause.


Clemenger BBDO and Colenso BBDO are the only two agencies to have been shortlisted in the outdoor category.

Clemenger landed a single spot for Kiwirail’s ‘Conscious Crossing’ campaign, which picked up the Grand Axis back in March as well as three pencils as D&AD. And the team at Clemenger will now be hoping to add to that tally at Cannes. 

Meanwhile, Colenso has landed a pair of finalist spots for DB Export’s ‘Bottle Sand’ campaign.

Should this campaign convert in Cannes it will continue what has as been a successful creative partnership for DB and Colenso, with the pair also winning a host of awards for the innovative Brewtroleum campaign over the course of last year.

Among the slew of local and international awards won for Brewtroleum was a highly coveted Titanium Lion. The wait is now on to see if the ‘Bottle Sand’ campaign lives up to the hype of its predecessor.  


DDB is the only local agency representing New Zealand in the Cyber category and it’s doing so with two nominations for its Sky TV ‘Silicon Valley URXXL’ campaign.

Created to promote season three of Silicon Valley, a show that follows the lives of two tech geeks, the campaign reached out to regular and hardcore fans through a radio/digital crossover.

First, a radio ad announced the season’s arrival before asking them to type everything said in the ad as a URL. There were a number of different ads with different rewards and 100 people cracked the full codes.

PR and promotions

There will be a lot of Kiwi eyes on the PR category at Cannes this year after four agencies were named in the shortlist.

DDB/Mango leads with two finalists, both for the Rialto Channel’s ‘The Breast Cancer Screenings‘.

‘The Breast Cancer Screenings’ is joined by FCB’s ‘Go Balls Out’ campaign for Testicular Cancer, PHD/Colenso BBDO’s ‘Beer Bottle Sand’ for DB Breweries and Chemistry Interaction’s ‘How old are you really’ campaign for Sovereign Insurance.

Go Balls Out – Testicular Cancer Foundation NZ from FCB New Zealand on Vimeo.

Print and publishing category

The Cannes Print and Publishing Lions category finalists have been announced and with five mentions, Colenso BBDO’s carved what it hopes will be a path of success.

Colenso BBDO is the only New Zealand agency named as a finalist in the category, which has seen a decline in the number of entrants due to the changing shape of the communications landscape.

Two of the agency’s nominations come from the Fonterra ‘Milk Slams‘ campaign, which has already picked up New Zealand’s first Gold Lion in the Health and Wellness category. This time, its ‘Blank Canvas’ and ‘Inside Out’ poems are up for a win.

The remaining three finalists are from a Pedigree campaign that encouraged empty nesters to adopt a dog and fill the gap left by their child. The resulting ‘Tub’, ‘Man and Book’ and ‘Boat’ creative have all received a nod.

Promo and Activation    

The Promo and Activations category is also set to see New Zealand agencies grace the stage, with 10 nominations for local campaigns.

Colenso BBDO leads the category with five finalist mentions for its DB Breweries ‘Beer Bottle Sand’ (shortlisted three times) and Pedigree ‘The Child Replacement Programme’ (shortlisted twice) campaigns.

It’s followed by DDB, which has received two nods for its Sky TV ‘Silicon Valley URXXL’ campaign and one for its Rialto Channel ‘The Breast Cancer Screenings’.

Finally, Clemenger BBDO/Touchcast will be also be looking keenly at this category to add a Lion to its awards haul for KiwiRail’s ‘The Conscious Crossing’. 

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