News & Views

Cannes Lions / Promo & Activation

by Contagious Team

Ongoing projects 'with a long tail' rather than campaigns that end 'with a full stop' impress in Promo & Activation at Cannes Lions

American Express's Small Business Gets an Official Day through Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, claimed the first Grand Prix at Cannes Lions with a campaign that helped small businesses get customers in America. 

Amex created Small Business Saturday, a shopping holiday to encourage people to shop at small, local businesses. The campaign helped small businesses drive customers to their stores on the day after Black Friday - the day following Thanksgiving in the US and the official start of the festive shopping season. The brand developed social media marketing tools for small businesses, including a Facebook page maker, an app to check buzz and tools to create YouTube videos. Shoppers pledged what they would buy from local stores, while an endorsement from President Obama helped the campaign to take hold. 

The jury praised the work for creating a fixture in the holiday shopping calendar, with 103 million Americans shopping in small business on Small Business Saturday in 2011. Nick WorthingtonColenso BBDO New Zealand's creative chairman and the Promo and Activation jury president, praised the work for being an idea that grew. He explained: 'It was so big that it started to transcend the mediums, categories and schedules that we all work to. The initial concept grew out of a promotion and escalated beyond its target.' 

Other notable Gold Lion winners include Hellmann's Mayonnaise Recipe Receipt through Ogilvy Brasil, São Paulo, and TNT's viral hit, Push To Add Drama (above), throughDuval Guillaume Modem, Antwerp, which gained two Gold Lions. A pair of Gold Lions were also awarded to The Return of Dictator Ben Ali for Engagement Citoyen, by Memac Ogilvy Label, Tunis, and The Australian Defence Force's work for Mobile Medic, via George Patterson Y&R Melbourne. (A full list of winners can be found at

Jury member Damon Cepin-Burr, CCO of France's FullSix Group, picked up on the importance of social media in many of the awarded campaigns and said that 'integration redefined what we see as Promo and Activation' adding that in the case of Small Business Saturday 'the social power is entirely part of the core concept'.