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Eight Canadian ads winning awards at Cannes

Some of the most prestigious awards in the advertising industry are being handed out this week in the south of France, at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity.

After a slow start, some Canadians have made the winners stage. Collecting some of the coveted Lion awards helps agencies to promote themselves to prospective and existing clients, and gives bragging rights and bona fides to the lucky creative teams.

Here are the Canadian ads that have been awarded so far.

Major Crimes

Category: Radio

Agency: Blueblancrouge, Montreal

Client: Series+

Award: Bronze Lion

An announcer starts to talk about an investigation show before she is interrupted by the grisly sounds of her own murder. Attention-getting, but also deeply disturbing.

Heart of the Arctic

Category: Cyber

Agency: Cossette, Montreal

Client: Royal Canadian Mint

Award: Bronze Lion

To make coin collecting more appealing to young people, for the 100th anniversary Arctic Expedition series of coins, the Mint decided to create an online game where children acted as Arctic explorers, gathering coins.

The website received more than 50,000 visitors and participation in the school program from 2,375 classrooms.

Just a Reflektor

Category: Cyber

Agency: Google Creative Lab, Data Arts Team, San Francisco and AATOAA, Montreal

Client: Arcade Fire and Google Chrome

Award: Bronze Lion

An interactive music video launched on the website promoted both the Montreal band’s upcoming album at the time, and Google’s web browser, Chrome – the recommended browser to experience the video.

Viewers could hold their mobile phones or tablet devices in front of a computer’s webcam to play with the visual effects in the film by moving their device. The coding of the film was also opened up so that those who wanted to coud play with the effects themselves.

In 2010, the band and Google created another video called “The Wilderness Downtown,” which was also awarded at Cannes.

Christmas Miracle

Category: Cyber

Agency: WestJet internal team

Client: WestJet

Award: Bronze Lion

WestJet wanted to stand out in a crowded advertising season: Christmas. This viral online hit did the job, and then some.

The airline released a video online outlining a holiday stunt: it set up a live “Santa-cam” at airports in Toronto and Hamilton, Ont., where customers could tell the big guy what was on their wish list. WestJet then made those wishes come true, and delivered them in big wrapped boxes at the luggage carousel.

It attracted more than 35-million views on YouTube – 7,000% more than they had targeted. In December, compared to the same month in 2012, revenue was up 86 per cent, bookings rose 77 per cent, and traffic to the website doubled.

Passport Beer Fridge

Category: Design

Agency: Rethink, Vancouver

Client: Molson Canadian

Award: Bronze Lion

Rethink built two beer fridges that could only be opened by scanning a Canadian passport, and then left them in public places in Europe and the U.K. People immediately hunted for Canadians to grant them free beer, and the company turned the whole thing into a commercial reviving its “I. Am. Canadian” tagline.

The fridge then became a celebrity of a kind for Molson – it visited the South By SouthWest festival, the Olympics in Sochi, and other spots. It was featured on Jimmy Kimmel. The company says sales increased.


Category: Design

Agency: Wax, Calgary

Client: Calgary Society for Persons with Disabilities

Award: Silver Lion

The not-for-profit organization, which provides services for people with disabilities including autism and Down Syndrom, was struggling with funding cuts. So it communicated the struggle of disabilities by making its annual report hard to read. It was stapled in the middle of the page and featured gritty, realistic photos. The organization had its best fundraising year in its 40-year history.

Massey Lectures iPad App

Category: Design

Agency: Critical Mass, Calgary

Client: House of Anansi Press

Award: Silver Lion

To promote the Massey Lectures among a wider audience, and to increase book sales, it was decided that the lectures needed a rebranding. It made the “big ideas” of the authors and the subjects of the lectures more engaging and visual.

The app received wide media coverage.

Calgary Zoo 2012 Annual Report

Category: Design

Agency: Trigger Communications & Design, Calgary

Client: Calgary Zoo

Award: Bronze Lion

The zoo had a record number of visitors in 20120: 1.45-million, many of whom took pictures and posted them to the photo-sharing service Instagram with the label #calgaryzoo. So it decided to make its annual report available on the platform its visitors were already using. Visitor photos were used in the report and the language was simplified.

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