#ExpertSpeak: Creative Leaders on why these global campaigns need to be on your watchlist…

global campaigns watchlist

They say there is no perfect time to celebrate the absolute creativity thriving in the world today. Taking cue from the thought, we spoke to a few advertising leaders to know their favourite Cannes Lions 2021 winning campaigns at the global stage.

Cannes Lions 2021 festival of creativity culminated last month virtually amidst much hullaballoo and claps of appreciation from across the world.  The ones which stood out carried the merits of excellent storytelling, hard-hitting message, on-point execution, brilliant concepts, and the courage to inspire millions of others to communicate the need of the hour.

Marrying brand purpose with the ad narrative, brands like Reddit and Essity Libresse/ Bodyform’s scored themselves a spot among the ‘favorites list’ of most of the industry experts we spoke to. Other brands that found a spot on the list include Diesel, Aguila, Tide Burger King, and more.

Experts Take:

Santosh Padhi, Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder, Taproot Dentsu

1. Aguila Beer cap project

“Which asked beer drinkers to eat or drink water before they consume beer/alcohol, by simply putting the famous food and water brands on the cap of their beer bottle to remind people to have water or grab a bite. Drinking on an empty stomach can have many unwanted effects, impacting many internal organs as well.

Why will the KFC’s and the MCD’s of the world not agree to partner with such a wonderful social initiate? I’m sure they must or should monetize this lovely idea, as in a way Aguila beer is promoting the other food beverage brands.”

To me, this is a small but very impactful idea that can be taken across to any part of the world as it’s very relevant to youth behavior across the globe. This wasn’t an ad to me, this was beyond an ad, almost like a solid product idea; loved how the messaging was beautifully blended into the product very cleverly and effortlessly, being right on the top of the bottle one won’t miss the messaging for sure.


Sometimes simplistic ideas like these are the most difficult ones to get and it is so simple that’s the reason it feels effortless. A message to the youngsters of our industry who always want a mega-budget to crack an idea and this costs nothing, as I mentioned above, it can drive economy for the brand.


Ok, They didn’t stop with just water and food brandings on the cap, they also tied up with “call a cab” services and put their logos to remind consumers if they are drunk call for a cab, such ideas definitely trigger a conversation socially, which is exactly what brands are looking for these days.

2. Reddit Super Bowl Commercial


Fresh on the heels of the GameStop situation that triggered conversation in the stock market, Reddit cemented its position as the home for rebels and underdogs ready to rally around common causes, and maybe even topple the big guys. Classic case of David versus Goliath. I loved the fact that they did something disruptive in the market quickly followed by equally disruptive and clutter-breaking communication during a mega event like Super Bowl.


Reddit’s spot/print/jpeg which they ran for 5 seconds on TV during Super Bowl did two things unapologetically well: capitalized on a real-time cultural moment by referencing the GameStop chaos and underscores its long-term strategy of building community by highlighting the merry band of underdogs Reddit.


When was the last time we saw a long-copy print ad being aired on a TVC? People paused and read the copy that’s the power of the idea, I would do the same if something like this happens on a moving visual platform like television.


While everyone else spent a fortune on airtime, production, and celebrities, Reddit was smart, unusual, and brave to prove that it’s not about the size of the production, it’s about the size of the idea. Reddit didn’t take a risk. It made a calculated choice that paid off. Additional brownie point as they being in the financial category setting this example which as has too many do’s and don’ts.

3. Tide: Laundry Night

Tide partnered with the NFL and NBC to kick off a national debate about the best night to do laundry. The launch film, which kicked off prior to the tournament where Peyton Manning asked people to change their behavior of laundering their clothes not on Sunday but on Tuesday, The entire campaign came out of the insight that most people do laundry on Sunday, which also coincides with live football matches on TV.

Loved this piece as Tide’s brave stance of requesting consumers to change their old age behavior, a pure brand work initiative, like many other big brands they did not stand for a social cause, instead, a clear simple message interestingly weaved across different interesting creatives i.e. “Tuesday is the new laundry day” which created massive discussion socially.

Tide continued the debate and fuelled many small TVCs /videos over the next few weeks post the launch with many more top celebrities and athletes involved. 

The campaign included other shows like the “Voice and Days of Our Lives” that air on Tuesday, which had a “problem” with the new laundry day. Recognizable celebrities like Gwen Stefani, Kenan Thompson, and Nick Offerman, cast members of the “Voice and Days of Our Lives”, Bud Light, and Payton Manning were featured through the four-week cross-marketing campaign.

Even we have loads of Bollywood stars and cricketers endorsing many of our brands but haven’t seen something like these, where celebrities are used for a purpose.


A very well-thought-through and well-planned campaign that makes me feel jealous.

Also Read: Cannes Lions 2021: All you need to know about the winning campaigns of Day 1, 2 & 3

Asheesh Malhotra, Executive Vice President & Branch Head, dentsumcgarrybowen India

1. Degree Inclusive. Deodorant, Unilever

Everyone in this world has a responsibility towards the world we live in. Our role/responsibility (of communication/advertising) is not to just create new insights and wonderful imagery that we are supposed to marvel at. But at times, use creativity to look at life from the lens of an age-old problem: Exclusivity.

We often see the world from the lens of the majority of us. But here’s a brilliant and simple innovation that a deodorant brand made for the rest of the majority: Design a simple everyday product like a deodorant for everyday things the majority of us are able to without thinking. Have we ever thought how a person with no hands would use a roll-on deodorant, or a blind person would be able to differentiate it from a shampoo bottle? Probably never.

Here’s one grand effort that truly deserved a Grand Prix.

2. Naming the Invisible by Digital Birth certification by Telenor

Another great by our neighbors, Pakistan.

A birth certificate is our birthright. But a lot of us would not know that till we go knocking for a job, govt medical care, or benefits. Because you do not exist, according to data. That’s the state of affairs in many developing/underdeveloped countries around the world.

Here’s a brand that used the might of its reach (no pun intended) to help document the existence of millions unknown. It’s not an ad, so one can only imagine the groundwork that must have gone into the initiative given the unreachable terrains, hostile taboo cultures et al.

3.Essity Libresse/ Bodyform’s  #Womb stories

It’s high time we made medical issues, mainstream issues. This piece does just that, so so, insightfully, craftily, and poetically.

It’s a campaign that portrays women’s relationships with their wombs. Something that’s been unsympathetically termed as “hormones going awry”, post-partem, etc.

The medical language anyway makes the subject heavy and depressing, but here, with this campaign, the idea is to help women by opening up their minds to a relationship with their womb: by Inviting and engaging with truckloads of raging hormones to hear and share their stories.

Rahul Mathew, Chief Creative Officer, DDB Mudra Group

1. Burger King’s Stevenage Challenge

I’m a sucker for sports and for hacks. And this is both. To sponsor a fourth-division team and then excite the gaming community to put the world’s most recognized footballers in the sponsored club jersey is a pure evil genius.

2. Essity Libresse/ Bodyform’s  #WombStories

I love the work that Libresse has been doing for years. The brand has been consistent and defiant in the way they’ve spoken about periods. With womb stories, they’ve taken the conversation to such an intimate, yet powerful level.

3. Boards of Change

One of the toughest things to crack is a powerful symbol that provokes an emotion. The fearless girl had done that many lions ago. A voting booth made from the plyboards that once protested against George Floyd’s murder; would have reminded many a voter about what they’re voting for.

Also Read: Cannes Lions 2021: All you need to know about the winning campaigns of Day 4 & 5

Ramanuj Shastry-Director & Founding Partner- Infectious Advertising

1. Essity Libresse/ Bodyform’s  ‘WombStories’

WombStories’ deservedly won the Titanium Grand Prix and three more Grand Prix awards for Film, Film Craft, and Good in Health. The campaign brilliantly depicts the trial and travails of ‘living with a womb’ and the unseen and unspoken truths that women everywhere must live with. Breath-taking stuff!

2. MasterCard’s ‘True Name’

Salute to MasterCard for its ‘True Name’ campaign – which allows transgender or non-binary people to have cards with their preferred name on them- which may differ from their birth certificates. Identity is a choice and kudos to MasterCard for the affirmation.

3. Burger King’s Stevenage Challenge

I must admit being a FIFA fan made me lean towards Burger King’s ‘Stevenage Challenge’. But just the audacity of sponsoring the lowest-ranked team in the lowest division of English football to hack into the EA Sports bestseller to promote the brand is just the kind of audacity that warms the cockles of my heart. Bravo, Burger King!

Mukund Olety, Chief Creative Officer-VMLY&R INDIA

1. Burger King’s Moldy Burger

It seems like an obvious choice today but imagines the guts needed for a brand to showcase its product rotting. In a world where food brands go all out to visually show the freshness aspect, Burger King went the other way round to make exactly the same point. And how. Moldy Whopper is a super simple idea with bravado at its core.

2. Diesel’s “Enjoy Before Returning” campaign

It has a playful take on the behavior of wardrobing – where people buy clothes online, wear them once and return them. While many brands would scorn this behavior, Diesel in fact actively encourages you to go on and try, not just try, but enjoy their clothes before you return them. This sounds wrong but feels right.

3. Reddit Super bowl ad

It’s all about the context and content. It beats all the scale and budgets of the Superbowl. Exactly like what it says, the ad itself shows that underdogs can accomplish just about anything when they come together around a common idea. Like hacking and owning the Superbowl. Well played Reddit.

Which is your favourite campaign? Let us know in the comments below.


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