CANNES, France—Nike’s “Dream Crazy” ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland, continued its hot streak in Cannes, picking up an Entertainment for Sport Grand Prix Lion. The win marked a solid day for U.S. agencies with three wins out of four of the top prizes awarded across all disciplines in Entertainment, including the main category and the Entertainment Lion for Music.
In addition to Nike and Wieden + Kennedy’s win, UM Studios New York and Doomsday Entertainment picked up Grand Prix statues for 5B, a film about the heroic San Francisco nurses who created the first ward in the U.S. to treat AIDS patients, and “This Is America,” the music video from Childish Gambino that also won Grammys for song and record of the year. An additional Entertainment Lion for Music was awarded to AKQA Sâo Paulo for Bluesman, a project featuring rapper Baco Exu Do Blues.
Out of all three categories, the U.S. won five additional golds (the Entertainment Lion was a clean Grand Prix and Gold sweep for American agencies) while work from Brazil picked up two, and both Spain and the United Kingdom earned one each.
The Entertainment Lion for Sport is in its first year, and jury president Steve Stoute, founder and CEO of Translation, noted that there were close to 700 entries.
“It was a learning experience going through a new category as important as sports,” he said. “Sport is a microcosm of life, and it tells many different stories.”
Related to the Grand Prix choice of the Nike ad, Stoute said that there were a couple of other pieces that rose close to the top, but the combination of Nike’s use of Kaepernick made the work special.
“We not only had to award that, but we felt like that’s the benchmark of the risk that we want creatives to take going forward,” he said. “In our discussions, [we talked about how] people do anything not to get fired. And we want people to do things and take that risk and put it on the line because with great risk comes great reward.”
Meanwhile, 5B, a poignant hour-plus film underwritten by Johnson & Johnson, was lauded with the top prize, due not only to the compelling narrative but because it represented something much bigger than just advertising.
According to Entertainment jury president Scott Donaton, global chief creative and content officer for Digitas, the choice was clear and also a rallying cry for the industry.
“We need more stories like this in the world right now,” he said. “Stories of compassion, care and human connection. Over and over again in our jury, we kept hearing that we need other brands to see that they have stories worthy of sharing … that they can take a risk, stick their neck out, be brave and tell those stories that make the world a better place.”
In the music category, consultant and board director for The Music Publishers Association Paulette Long OBE said that the jury was evenly split between both winners, with subsequent discussion not yielding just one winner. Additionally, Long noted that themes around racism, violence against women, gun violence, online bullying and empowering girls were given a platform by the category.
“We need to give a voice to these things,” she said. “I think the feeling [with this jury] was that we have a voice and something to say. [Also], what can we do to make a statement to set about calls to action?”
On “This Is America,” Long said that when the video link first landed in her inbox, she was “stunned.”