Cannes Lions Taps Two for Grand Prix

July 5, 2022 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

And the 2022 Cannes Lions Film Grand Prix goes to… humanity. (With major assists from Apple and British broadcaster Channel 4). In June, instead of choosing a single winner for 2022’s top award, Cannes decided to reward two brands with this year’s Grand Prix Lion. One look at the spots and you’ll see the honors couldn’t be more warranted.

Another win for Apple.

This year’s first Grand Prix Lion went to Apple for the third film in their “Underdogs” series focusing on a quartet of office misfits who use Apple technology to change the world and their employment. What’s brilliant about all three films is that they capture the zeitgeist of the moment. They tap into every ounce of the office angst we collectively feel. What makes them brilliant advertising is that they do it in a way that illustrates all the ways Apple technology can alleviate that stress.

The series debuted in 2019 with “Apple at Work: The Underdogs.” In the first installment, Bridget, Dave, Brian and Marie use their Apple computers, iPads, iPhones and software to work miracles when they suddenly get the chance to pitch their big idea to the company boss – in two days.

In 2020, Apple’s creative team nailed every hilarious quirk of the national COVID lockdown in “The Whole Working-From-Home Thing” and proved that even when we’re separated, collaboration is not only possible but crucial to creativity and productivity.

Last year, in the midst of “The Great Resignation,” we find Bridget and her team deciding they have had enough and leaving to start their own packaging company.

Apple’s third (and now Cannes Lion Grand Prix-winning) short in the series is called “Escape from the Office” and may very well be the best yet. Like the other films, the short is flush with exceptional production design, great performances, and so many visual jokes you don’t even know where to look. Even the end credits are clever listing all the Apple hardware and software featured as the stars of the show.

As the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and the “Voice of the Underdog,” we were hooked from the jump by the name of the series. But like everyone else who makes their living coming up with creative solutions in the service of capitalism, it’s the authenticity, humor, and humanity of the work that’s had us watching these shorts over and over and over again.

Super. Human. Indeed.

This year’s second Grand Prix winner is proof that smart, inspiring work can indeed change the world. Or, at least, the way we think about it. A decade ago, British broadcaster Channel 4 produced an introduction to London’s 2012 Paralympic Games called “Meet The Superhumans” that’s widely credited with shifting the public conversation about disability. There were no soft and gentle portraits or empathetic, borderline pitying portrayals of disabled athletes who beat the odds to just compete. These athletes were hard-core ballers ready to kick ass and take names. Apparently, the same went for the creative team who won the 2012 Cannes Lion Grand Prix for the short.

In 2016, they followed up with a stunning jazz-driven spot called “We’re the Superhumans” featuring not only the best disabled athletes in the world, but a 10-piece jazz band featuring a drummer with no arms, a pianist with no hands, and brass and sax players with single limbs. It’s one of the most inspiring commercials ever made and the Cannes Lions judges agreed, awarding it the 2016 Grand Prix for Film.

Now, Channel 4 has successfully pulled off a Grand Prix three-peat with “Super. Human.” a spectacular addition to the series that focuses on many of the less glamourous sides of training and the enduring challenges disabled people still face both in sports and society.

Training to be an Olympian is a grueling task that indeed takes superhuman discipline and commitment for any athlete. Add in an extreme disability and as a viewer, admiration quite simply becomes awe.

The power of community.

As with any year, one of my favorite parts of watching this year’s Cannes Grand Prix winners was seeing them with other friends at the agency. Watching their faces light up at the same places mine did. Laughing at the same jokes. Recoiling at the same injustices. Since the 1930s in Hollywood, and in the last few decades for television, there have been many who decried films and television commercials. They’ll never last, they said. People will grow tired of them. They’ll find something else to grab their attention. They were wrong then, and now.

Whether it’s for two hours or two minutes, a story well told with compelling characters, beautiful art direction, great writing and authentic heart has a way of pulling us together as few other things can. Great work taps into our shared humanity. It shows us that, at heart, we are far more alike than the world would have us believe. And, in those moments, that elevates all of us.

MIKE SULLIVAN is president and CEO at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising, and marketing, leadership, culture, and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.

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Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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