The Cannes Festival awards are out and if you’ve been waiting to watch the Grand Prix winner for branded content, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. For the second straight year, the Cannes judges decided against a branded content Grand Prix—this after it only expanded the awards to the branded content category in 2012.
The jury instead handed out 16 Gold Lions to a spread of branded entries.
We spoke with Marc Gilbar, Senior Vice President of Branded Entertainment at The Marketing Arm, to see what this means for the future of the practice.
brandchannel: What does it mean that only two years have produced a Grand Prix?
Marc Gilbar: You can certainly make the argument that several branded entertainment campaigns each year deserve to win the Grand Prix, but I personally like that the jury has the option not to award it because it prevents the dilution of that particular honor.
brandchannel: How important are the awards within the branded content industry?
Gilbar: It’s easy to be cynical about award shows, but on balance they seem to be recognizing the best work in the industry and that’s something worth striving for. The trophies themselves are just paperweights.
brandchannel: What was your favorite branded content entry from last year?
Gilbar: My favorite entry from the 2014 festival was Volvo’s “Epic Splits.” It’s perfect: idea, execution, copywriting, casting, music, direction. I could watch it a thousand times and still be entertained.
brandchannel: Can you point us to a piece of recent work that you hope is in the running for 2016?
Gilbar: It’s really too early to know. We won two Lions in 2013 for “Uncle Drew” (Pepsi MAX), we were shortlisted last year for “Test Drive 2” (Pepsi MAX) and shortlisted this year for “Calls for Dad” (Dove Men). We’re always aiming to be in the mix, but for now we just take it one project at a time.
Previous Cannes Grand Prix winners for branded content include Chipotle’s “Back to the Start” and Intel and Toshiba’s “The Beauty Inside.”
You can see all of the Cannes gold, silver and bronze Lions winners at the Cannes Lions archive.