Cannes Lions 2019: Our pick of the winners

The Cannes Lions Festival may be over for another year but it has left us with a raft of brilliantly creative ad campaigns to immerse ourselves in as we continue our never-ending quest for marketing inspiration from around the world.

And in a bid to share that inspiration with you, this week three of The Kite Factory team have had a look through all the winners from Cannes 2019 and picked their favourite campaign.

We hope you enjoy these reviews and feel as inspired as we do about the year ahead!


George MacKean, Investment Manager, picked The Time We Have Left from Spanish brand Ruavieja which won the Gold Lion for Creative Strategy.

“Let’s be honest, adverts can often be irritating, tacky, or just plain boring. However, once in a while something comes along that is truly poignant and moving – this year’s Gold Lion winner for Creative Strategy is one such ad.

‘The Time We Have Left’ for little-known Spanish herbal liqueur brand Ruavieja – created by Leo Burnett Madrid – is a superb example of how blending data and insight can create something incredibly powerful. Ruavieja is similar to Bailey’s and is typically served as a lunchtime digestif. The brand is fairly small, and the client team knew they had to think long-term to build awareness around their purpose-led concept that ‘we have to see more of each other’.

The insight for this campaign is beautiful in its simplicity: in today’s tech-obsessed world we spend too much time online or looking at screens, and not enough time with the people we love. The human brain is programmed to avoid thinking about the time we have left to live, and Leo Burnett realised they could bring this to life by building an algorithm that would calculate the amount of time two friends have to spend in each other’s company, based on a combination of life expectancy and the frequency with which they meet. The results are shockingly low.

What’s so brilliant about the strategy is that it is purpose marketing done in a subtle and authentic way – the film does not make a pompous, self-congratulatory attempt to save the planet, instead it intertwines data and creativity to illustrate an indisputable truth that we all subconsciously know, but regularly choose to ignore. And there is relevance to the product, because Ruavieja is meant for sharing with friends at social occasions. It’s as simple as that.

But in today’s performance-focused age, it’s no good producing something sentimental and fluffy if it doesn’t help pay the bills, and for this campaign the results speak for themselves. Sales increased by 52%, and brand recommendation went from 12.6% to 34.9%. It was also the most shared Spanish ad of all time, and nearly a million people used the specially created website to calculate how much time they have with their loved ones.

For everyone that did, there is one obvious conclusion: we have to see more of each other.”


Rik Moore, Head of Insight, Strategy & Planning, chose adDress The Future from Norwegian clothing brand Carlings which picked up the Grand Prix for Digital Craft. 

“Reading through this year’s Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners, I can’t recall a collection of previous Cannes case studies that shows as accurate a reflection of the world they were created in as this year’s selection.

In a world where uncertainty abounds and clouds obscure the horizon, be they political, environmental, societal and/or economic, the campaigns that were awarded this year all seemed to be striving to offer solutions to a variety of bigger problems we face.

In this worthy yet crowded field, Norwegian clothing brand Carlings caught my eye, because it speaks to the climate emergency we collectively face.

Working with creative agency Virtue Copenhagen, Carlings won the Digital Craft Grand Prix for their adDress the Future campaign – an all-digital clothing collection that can be virtually ‘tried on’. Using the insight that fast fashion is about the social kudos generated by what you’re wearing rather than owning the item itself, the clothes can be ‘worn’ on social media, showcasing flair without harming the planet. The collection takes a stand against fast fashion and its environmental impact, the demand for which has been increasing with the rise of social media.

The campaign is also a great example of a brand leveraging shared media for the greater good, with the proceeds from sales donated to the charity WaterAid.

I think we will see a lot more of this kind of campaign in the next 12 months. Whilst Unilever CEO Alan Jope’s Cannes comments about “woke-washing” need to be heeded – that brands who pay lip service rather than making genuine change do more harm than good – it’s imperative that brands start to take the initiative in this space.

The debate I often have with clients is “should we start something given we haven’t done anything like this before? Will we lack credibility?”. The answer to that is down to a commitment to consistency. Everybody has to take a first step sometime – it just depends how consistent and determined the steps that follow are. As such, it will be interesting to see what share of Lions are awarded to environment and climate campaigns in 2020.”


Angie Knibb, Head of Digital Operations, loved Do Black from Swedish fintech company Doconomy which was the winner of the Creative eCommerce Grand Prix. 

“Credit card Do Black, which is still in pilot stage, won with a campaign that aims to help consumers reduce the levels of carbon dioxide caused by their consumption and spending habits. The card tracks users’ carbon footprint purchase by purchase using an app, and if they outspend the limit (calculated according to the amount it will take for each person to cut their carbon emissions by 50% by 2030), it will block their next transaction.

This is so timely. There’s a real movement at the moment to think about the impact of climate change, with the Extinction Rebellion climate protests in London recently, and with the environment taking a fairly central stage in the questions asked to those vying to be the next Prime Minister – especially from the younger generation – it’s a key time to be talking about the environment. On a geeky level, it’s also amazing to think of the data they need to pull into the algorithm to determine this. To know how each of your transactions affects the environment means pulling vast amounts of data from vast amounts of sources, and to combine this into a single action to help the planet is an amazing use of tech.

Aside from the obvious personal frustration at having purchases blocked when you want to make them, this is an amazing way to quantify your personal impact on the environment, and to help you take steps to rectify that. It’s easy to think ‘I recycle, I walk when I can, I take public transport, I do enough.’ But this takes the easy choice away and makes you see the reality of your purchases and activities.

It’s also great for the financial services industry. Banks and credit providers have long been seen as evil forces, taking people’s money and making bad investments to damage the planet, or the people on it. Well here’s one doing something good. Here’s one stopping you spending money if it’s harmful, and putting the environment before profits. Of course, the brand will still make profit from this, but perhaps they can sacrifice a little of that profit to help save the world.

There are plenty of players in similar spaces who could benefit from moving along these lines. One that immediately springs to mind is a client of ours, Triodos Bank. They’re an ethical bank as well, meaning that they offer current accounts, savings accounts and investments, and in return they only invest money in ethical investments (e.g. things that don’t harm the planet), as well as not charging customers huge fees for going overdrawn. Reducing our carbon footprint is right up their street, and I’m keen to see how this theme can play into theirs, and other brands, business strategies.”