Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners are less likely to strike an emotional chord with consumers than Gold Lions winners, with five out of 11 Film Lions Grand Prix winners in the past 10 years identified as the least emotionally effective ads, scoring one on a scale of one to five.
Of the 75 Grand Prix and Gold Lion winners tested, six ads scored a five. Of these, just one was a Grand Prix winner: Procter & Gamble's "It's a tide ad" from 2018, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, which ran during the Super Bowl and featured Stranger Things actor Jim Hopper as an omniscient narrator hijacking other ads during the game. Three of the top scoring ads were from the US.
The findings are from System1, an effectiveness prediction agency. The tests used System1’s Ad Ratings tool, which measures the emotional response to every ad on TV in major categories to predict their likely effectiveness.
The five Grand Prix winners to score one included two for Harvey Nichols by Adam & Eve/DDB: 2014's "Sorry I spent it on myself", and 2016's "Shoplifters", along with Procter & Gamble’s "The talk", created by BBDO New York in 2018, which addressed the conversations African American parents are forced to have with their kids about racism.
The other two were the 2015 Saatchi & Saatchi Sao Paolo "100" campaign for Leica and the 2012 spot for Chipotle, "Back to the start", from CAA Marketing.
System1 said that when it comes to the highest (Grand Prix) awards, "juries prioritise edginess over emotional effectiveness, and while these ads show an abundance of creative flair, they fail to resonate emotionally with viewers".
Findings showed that overall, Gold Lions and Grand Prix winners were three times more likely to score well with ordinary viewers than the average TV ad, with 53% of award-winners scoring three stars or higher, compared with only 16% of all Ad Ratings ads. System1 said that awarded ads were also eight times more likely to get the top, five-star score, "predicting exceptional effectiveness and growth potential".
Some of the best performing campaigns from the UK were Channel 4's "We're the superhumans", a Grand Prix winner in 2017, which scored a four, and its 2013 Gold Lion campaign, "Meet the superhumans", which scored three. Both were created in-house by 4Creative.
The 2014 Adam & Eve/DDB "Neglect" campaign for Unilever's Marmite, a Gold Lion winner that plays on the idea that Marmite is being neglected, received a three.
Alongside P&G's ad for Tide, the other campaigns from the US that received the highest points were P&G's 2012 "Best job" campaign for the London 2012 Olympics, created by Wieden & Kennedy, which focused on the hard work mothers do to support their children, and the Volkswagen spot "The force", created by Deutsch, showcasing a Lilliputian Darth Vader wannabe.
John Kearon, CEO at System1, said: "When you take emotion as your main measure, testing becomes more accurate and far better at spotting great creativity. But we also found a disconnect between juries’ critical response and people’s emotional response at the very highest level of the Cannes Lions event."
|2017||Channel 4||We're The Superhumans||Grand Prix||4|
|2013||Dove||Camera Shy||Gold Lion||4|
|2013||Channel 4||Meet The Superhumans||Gold Lion||3|
|2012||Doritos||Dips Desperado||Gold Lion||3|
|2018||Nike||Nothing Beats A Londoner||Gold Lion||3|
|2018||Marmite||The Gene Project||Gold Lion||2|
|2012||The Guardian||The Three Little Pigs||Gold Lion||2|
|2016||Harvey Nichols||Shoplifters||Grand Prix||1|
|2015||Beats By DRE||The Game Before The Game||Gold Lion||1|
|2016||Guinness||Never Alone||Gold Lion||1|
|2015||Guinness||Made Of Black||Gold Lion||1|
|2015||Honda||The Other Side||Gold Lion||1|
|2014||Harvey Nichols||Sorry, I Spent It On Myself||Grand Prix||1|
|2012||Procter & Gamble||Best Job||Gold Lion||5|
|2011||Volkswagen||The Force||Gold Lion||5|
|2018||Tide||It's A Tide Ad||Grand Prix||5|
|2015||Always||Like A Girl||Gold Lion||4|
|2014||Volvo||Epic Split||Grand Prix||3|
|2016||Under Armour||Rule Yourself||Gold Lion||3|
|2010||Old Spice||The Man Your Man Could Smell Like||Grand Prix||3|
|2015||Gatorade||Made In NY||Gold Lion||3|
|2016||Geico||Fast Forward: Forest||Gold Lion||3|
|2018||Apple||Welcome Home||Gold Lion||3|
|2010||Axe||Clean Your Balls||Gold Lion||3|
|2014||Sony PS4||Perfect Day||Gold Lion||3|
|2011||Chrysler||Born Of Fire||Gold Lion||3|
|2011||Speed Tests||Gold Lion||3|
|2015||Old Spice||Dadsong||Gold Lion||2|
|2011||Nike||Write The Future||Grand Prix||2|
|2014||Wren||First Kiss||Gold Lion||2|
|2013||Southern Comfort||Beach||Gold Lion||2|
|2012||Chipotle||Back To The Start||Grand Prix||1|
|2017||Old Spice||Five Year Plan||Gold Lion||1|
|2016||Old Spice||Rocket Car||Gold Lion||1|
|2010||Argentina New Cinema||Crying||Gold Lion||1|
|2013||Axe||Susan Glenn||Gold Lion||1|
|2017||New York Times||The Truth Is Hard To Find||Gold Lion||1|
|2016||Old Spice||Whale||Gold Lion||1|
|2018||P&G||The Talk||Grand Prix||1|