×

Eight of the best ad campaigns that won awards at Cannes Lions in 2017

Cannes Lions was originally all about rewarding creativity, starting as an awards ceremony for ad agencies back in 1954. Now the festival – which ended Saturday – has become a huge networking event and conference for the marketing and advertising industry, highlighting issues such as diversity, disruption and transparency in how media is bought. But creativity still counts: Cannes gets around 43,000 awards entries and there were 26 categories to enter this year. Here's our pick of this year's winners.

State Street Global Advisors - Fearless Girl

Fearless Girl, the statue of a young woman confidently facing Wall Street's Charging Bull, was the talk of Cannes Lions advertising festival, winning four Grand Prix awards. State Street Global Advisors partnered with agency McCann New York to create the statue that celebrated International Women's Day 2017.

Channel 4 - We're the Superhumans

U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 wanted to change people's attitudes to disability with its campaign promoting its coverage of the 2016 Paralympic Games. But this wasn't just an ad campaign: the channel ran a competition for a brand featuring people with disabilities in an ad to win £1 million ($1.27 million) of airtime, which was won by Mars with an ad for Maltesers.

Amnesty International – The Refugee Nation

A new team entered the Olympic Games in Rio last year: The Refugee Nation, made up of 10 displaced people from around the world, with a new orange and black flag design inspired by the life jackets worn by those that had travelled across seas hoping for a new life. According to Ogilvy New York, which worked with Amnesty on the campaign, it attracted global media coverage and led to stores and restaurants using stickers featuring the flags to show that they welcome refugees.

Burger King – Google Home of the Whopper

Burger King, working with ad agency David, decided to use Google's voice technology to its own advantage. Its ad features a guy holding a burger and saying: "You're watching a 15-second Burger King ad, which is unfortunately not enough time to explain all the fresh ingredients in the Whopper sandwich, but I got an idea. Okay Google, what is the Whopper burger?" The result? Google Home reacted by reading out the Whopper's Wikipedia entry, and the spot got media coverage way beyond BK's initial media outlay.

P&G Tide – Bradshaw Stain

TV presenters usually look immaculate on screen, so when Fox commentator and former NFL star Terry Bradshaw appeared at the Super Bowl this year with a stain on his shirt, Twitter went into overdrive, with Bradshaw appearing to run across the pitch in search of clean clothes. Turns out the whole thing was a stunt by laundry brand Tide and Saatchi and Saatchi, resulting in record high sales according to the campaign's Cannes Lions entry.

Terry Bradshaw appeared on Fox's Super Bowl coverage with a stain on his shirt, courtesy of Tide
Cannes Lions | Tide
Terry Bradshaw appeared on Fox's Super Bowl coverage with a stain on his shirt, courtesy of Tide

Whirlpool – Care Counts

One in five students struggle with access to clean clothes, according to Whirlpool's Cannes Lions entry for its "Care Counts" campaign, and this has a direct correlation with high school attendance. Whirlpool worked with agency Digitas LBi to try to change this, installing washers and dryers into schools across the U.S. Machines were able to track usage for each student and relate that to their school attendance, and there was a 90 percent improvement in the attendance of students in the program, which won a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions.

Immunity Charm – Ministry of Public Health, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Afghanistan has one of the world's worst infant mortality rates, according to UNICEF and only 50 percent of babies complete all of the vaccinations required. So its Public Health Ministry worked with McCann Health to turn the traditional lucky charm beaded bracelets given to children into a health record. Each colored bead represented a vaccination against a different disease: red for polio, yellow for hepatitis B and so on, so that doctors and parents could easily see which injections babies had. The program won a Grand Prix at Cannes, and will be rolled out to other provinces in the country, after a successful pilot.

Adidas Originals – Original is Never Finished

Getting attention on the night of the Grammy Awards isn't easy, with a host of brands including Nike, Apple, Google, Hilton and Target all releasing ads around the ceremony this year. Adidas worked with agency Johannes Leonardo to update an old classic, Frank Sinatra's "My Way", with artists Snoop Dogg, MadeinTYO and Desiigner remixing music videos as part of it, alongside reimagined images such as Botticelli's Birth of Venus. It got more than 47 million views on YouTube and Twitter, its award entry claims, and won a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.