The big winner at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity? Content.
Agencies, executives and thought leaders from around the world gathered in the French Riviera this week to celebrate the best in advertising and communication, and to honor campaigns that span television, print, radio, social media, mobile and more.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the Festival received 35,765 entries from 92 countries. The big winners were campaigns that set aside the hard-sell and focused on bringing thought-provoking and entertaining content to their audiences.
"Dumb Ways To Die," a campaign for Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia, aimed at promoting rail safety, was the festival's big winner, with 5 total Grand Prix awards -- a new record.
Its clever and insanely catchy song topped iTunes charts in several countries, while the accompanying video, depicting cartoon characters dying in, well, dumb ways, has already been seen by more than 50 million people (fair warning: you will not be able to get the tune out of your head). It also featured a mobile game, a book, interactive posters and radio advertising.
The result? Just three months after the launch, Metro saw a 21% reduction in accidents and deaths compared to a year ago, and a million people signed pledges on the website to be safe around trains.
Remember that Dove "Real Beauty" viral video from a few months ago? It was Cannes' Titanium Grand Prix winner. The video featured a sketch artist who drew various women based on their own descriptions, and then based on others' descriptions; the vastly different results hit home with women worldwide.
Another big winner was Toshiba/Intel's "The Beauty Inside," which took home the Grand Prix in the Branded Content and Entertainment category. The six-episode social film featured a main character who woke up as a different person every morning. Topher Grace played the lead, Alex, but the campaign encouraged fans to submit their own video diaries to play the character. It also won an Emmy recently at the Daytime Emmy Awards.
"Branded Content and Entertainment" is a new category, added just last year, and it highlights the importance that content, in all forms, plays in the modern advertising and marketing world. Last year's inaugural winner was Chipotle's emotional "Back to the Start" commercial, which gained national prominence during the 2012 Grammy Awards.
Catch up on the video game console wars with last week's episode right here.