The Best Cannes Lion Is Actually Bronze, Argues This Creative Who Just Won a Bronze Lion

A worthy, hilarious tribute to a metal that works for a living

Al Patton, executive creative director at 22squared, winner of the noblest Lion: the bronze. Courtesy of Al Patton
Headshot of David Griner

If you work in advertising, your chances of winning any Cannes Lion is incredibly slim. And just think, if you don’t work in advertising, the odds are even worse.

So who are we to begrudge anyone a win, whatever the color? While most of Adweek’s coverage from the festival has focused on Grand Prix, Titanium and gold winners, we received a thought-provoking—and tongue-in-cheek—essay from a creative who sees a singular beauty in the bronze Lion.

On a totally, 100 percent unrelated note, he also just won a bronze Lion.

So open your mind to this celebration of all things bronze from Al Patton, executive creative director of 22squared, whose team just won bronze in the Social and Influencer Lions for the Atlanta agency’s “Built-In Pins” campaign with The Home Depot.

With the 2018 installment of Cannes Lions still fresh in our collective consciousness, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the achievements of our industry and congratulate those who have once again made us proud. This, however, will not be yet another pat on the back of those already swimming in accolades and the adoration of their peers – search “2018 Cannes Recap” and you’ll find no shortage of praise for those who were honored with Lions of the gold variety – but rather a recognition of those whose hard-earned Lions, though of a different metallic composition, are no less worthy of our veneration.

This is a shout out to all the bronze Lion winners.

Let’s reflect for a moment on what a noble metal bronze is. Strong and corrosion-resistant but not so full of itself as to not be malleable, bronze is easily the most approachable of all the copper alloys. Its low boiling point is only further proof that as a metal it isn’t “precious,” and while it may oxidize superficially, those who have spent time with bronze know there’s nothing superficial about it.

The bronze Lion is like the Mark Ruffalo of all the Cannes Lions–recognizable but not intimidating, comfortable sharing the spotlight, and tan year-round. The Gold Lion you put in a glass case in your library. The Bronze Lion you want to take out for a beer.

It’s worth noting too that the bronze Lion takes its place naturally amongst other bronze accents of the home–bookshelf sculptures, maritime bells, chess sets–and can blend into the design language of, say, a family room without attracting the kind of attention drawn by trophies of a flashier sheen. Your friends outside the industry may think it an eclectic piece of art acquired perhaps while on safari, while your colleagues in the marketing world will simply admire the elegance with which you’ve interwoven your professional and personal lives.

For his work in the swimming pool, Michael Phelps received 28 Olympic Medals, two of which were bronze. Which do you think hang pendulum-like in his centerpiece grandfather clock? Exactly.

Of course this is all a long way of saying the bronze Lion is really the one you want to win at Cannes, and for all of you who did so this year, I salute you. The bronze may not get the lion’s share of fanfare at the festival each year, but what it lacks in hype it more than makes up for in character and functionality.

Well said, Al Patton, winner of a bronze Lion. This is truly the third-best take we’ve heard all week, which possibly makes it the best?

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."