Cannes Lions Awards 2023: social, media, B2B and direct marketing entrants among those to watch

Many entrants to this year’s awards stood out for their use of strategy to drive sales and engagement – including social media, tech and performance marketing. PMW takes its pick of the best.

Alongside yesterday’s coverage of the Creative Data Awards at Cannes Lions this week, PMW delved into a number of other categories for some gems that captured our imagination with their innovations and results.

This year’s Awards received a staggering 26,992 entries, up 6% from 2022. Here’s our (not exhaustive – but we had to stop somewhere!) list of picks among the Grand Prix and Gold Lion winners across the Social & Influencer, Creative B2B, Direct and Media categories.

Social & Influencer

Flipvertising - GRAND PRIX winner (Audience Targeting/Engagement Strategies)

Turning the tables on the most ad-sceptical generation that marketers have had to face – Gen Z – was no mean feat, but Chep Network decided to power a data-driven campaign with a difference for Samsung’s newly released Galaxy Z Flip4 phone.

Enter ‘Flipvertising’ – flipping the way targeted ads are used. The campaign seeded online videos with clues that led viewers on a series of searches in hopes of being retargeted to eventually win a Galaxy Z Flip4. Viewers had to search three specific terms on Google that linked to the campaign videos, each seemingly a product demo but with a clue for the next search term to enter the retargeting pool. Those that got through all three went into a final retargeting pool to view the winning ad as a YouTube pre-roll.

As people continued their search for the right keywords, their algorithms became filled with organic user-generated content about the Galaxy Z Flip4, including reviews and unboxing videos.

Content was served through paid media to launch the campaign, while over its course the campaign seeded clues for the search terms via social media and content creators. During the campaign the search term ‘Flipvertising’ was the top trending in relation to the Galaxy Z Flip4 – with engagement for search six times higher than the benchmark for paid and two times higher for organic. Flip4 sales were up by nearly a third week-on-week post campaign launch.

Nxt Level – GOLD Winner (Consumer Services/Business to Business)

Despite being North America’s 8th largest bank, Bank of Montreal wanted to connect with a younger demographic on the back of an ageing customer base. But younger people have seemingly turned their backs on traditional banks in favour of fintech and non-banks.

Bank of Montreal wanted to find a new channel to connect with this audience using personalised service. In partnership with streaming platform Twitch, the bank created a unique platform to connect with gamers while they played.

To launch a branch of the bank on Twitch, BMO found one its own – Personal Banker Sean Frame, also a die-hard gamer – and made him a full-time Gaming Relations Specialist. The campaign started with promoting the program to gamers while they played, while gaming, tech media relations, and influencer partnerships exposed the campaign to gamers early in the journey.

Paid units on Twitch, including a training montage of Frame, drove awareness and promoted upcoming episodes.

The results included a 40% improvement in unaided brand awareness but having proven that BMO’s streams and content can live within gaming, did the campaign drive bank account sign-ups? There was a 13% increase in new Everyday Banking accounts, while the number of students opening accounts rose 24%.

Creative B2B

EART4 - GRAND PRIX Winner (Corporate Purpose & Social Responsibility)

The purpose: getting business leaders to invest…in Earth. The UN Global Compact and the Brazilian Stock Exchange decided to turn Earth into a company with an initial public offering to reach leaders in their own arena, by way of calling for companies to align their strategies and operations with UN goals.

Using cross-channel storytelling EART4 came to life as a publicly listed company on the verge of bankruptcy, that became omnipresent wherever business was done. Its website has a stock simulator that reacts to news about the planet in real time, and business leaders were mailed an ‘annual report’ with awful results urging them to invest and in essence, committing their companies to working to UN goals.

Turning Earth into a company put the campaign into the hearts and world of the audience they were targeting, with all scientific data translated into business terms by content professionals. Without urgent investment EART4 will collapse.

The campaign’s results have encouraged the UN’s Global Compact to make the strategy long-term across the globe, including a reach of more than 20,000 business leaders, a 140% increase in new signatories, 58MM earned media, and crucially, 70% of Brazil’s top 100 companies and 40% of the country’s top 1,000 firms signing the Global Compact.

Creative B2B Awards Jury President Tom Stein, Chairman and Chief Growth Officer of Stein IAS named EART4 as a “great example of what B2B can be, with a clear call to action”.


Oreo Codes - GOLD Winner (Use of Mobile)

Bringing together Oreos and Milk – a lifelong relationship – VMLY&R partnered with Albertsons, Safeway and Jewel-Osco, three major US retailers in a mobile-first experience to help lift sales among households that bought milk, but not the iconic biscuit. By turning every mobile into an ‘oreocode’ barcode reader, consumers were able to get discounts on Oreos from the barcodes of every milk pack in America.

Consumers access an app at and take any milk carton from their fridge to scan its barcode with their mobile. They then get offers from the retailers to save on Oreos.

The campaign was intended to halt falling sales in Oreos, meanwhile milk sales were growing. It leveraged influencers to spread awareness, while social media, in-store communications and digital out-of-home ads invited people to sign up on the spot with their mobiles.

Unit sales of 800,000 and dollar sales of more than $3,5m all outpaced Oreo’s competitors in the cookie category. The campaign also drove brand awareness and social engagement among both Oreo fans and milk drinkers – an ongoing potential pool of new customers.


Interface Interruption – GOLD Winner (Best Use of Screens and Audio Visual Platforms)

AVOD streaming service Tubi won the race for audience attention at this year’s Super Bowl by disrupting the fourth quarter of the game with its own Interface.

Despite Tubi being in the streaming market for 10 years, few had heard of the brand. Partnering with Mischief @ No Fixed Address, New York, the objective was to make the brand impossible to ignore and gain legitimacy – both to consumers and to media buyers.

During a nail-biting fourth quarter, all TVs appear to be changing the channel to Tubi, to cycle through its content, for 15 seconds. That 15 seconds turned the service into the most talked about brand at the Super Bowl, with 6.8 billion impressions, more than 4.2 million video views and a 1,196% uplift in social conversations, with Google searches at an all-time high.

The next month, Tubi recorded its most viewing hours and unique views in its 10-year history, breaking into the top 10 on Nielsen’s rankings for the first time, with a 1% share of total US TV viewing in February to become the 6th most watched streaming service.