And the Entertainment Lions Grand Prix Goes to … a Bank | Special: Cannes Lions

WHAT IT IS: A branded content campaign, “Beyond Money” from Santander Bank and created out of MRM/McCann Spain, earned the Entertainment Lions Grand Prix. The centerpiece of the effort is a sci-fi short film, “Cuanto, Mas All Del Dinero” (“How Much, Beyond Money”), directed by Kike Maillo. It tells the story of a woman named Lucia, played by Adriana Ugarte, who sells her most precious experiences. The film debuted in Spain with a Hollywood-style premier and sparked national conversation about the true value of money. The campaign targeted millennials and promoted the bank’s new offering to that generation. It led to Santander’s fastest sign-up rate in 160 years, and helped the company achieve 35% of its annual business goals in two weeks.

WHY IT WON: In a young category that’s going through rapid evolution, “The work that got picked as the Grand Prix is the most perfect example of a how a brand could make a statement about itself but also earn the precious time consumers are going to invest in it,” said Jury President P.J. Pereira, co-founder and chief creative officer of Pereira & O’Dell.

“What led us to ‘Beyond Money’ is that it was a great piece of film that integrated the brand in a truly seamless and meaningful way, but it didn’t just move the positioning of the brand forward. It actually moved the whole category of financial services forward by taking a brave step in getting people to really start questioning whether or not money was more important than experiences,” said juror Jason Xenopoulos, CEO & chief creative officer VML South Africa. “We felt It was an incredibly well-dramatized not just brand idea, but philosophical idea.”

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OTHER CONTENDERS: Two other campaigns were discussed for the top prize. One was Lacta’s “From the Start,” a five-part web series out of OgilvyOne Athens about a man who doesn’t believe in love but ends up enamored with a woman who appears every time he eats a piece of Lacta chocolate. The other was the Werner Herzog-directed documentary “Lo and Behold,” which examines the power and fragility of the connected world. It was created out of the New York office of Jury President Pereira’s agency.

OTHER NOTABLE NEWS: The Santander campaign, at about 17-minutes long, was surprisingly, was “one of the shortest” contenders into the Entertainment category, said Pereira. The entire jury lit up and laughed when Ad Age asked the length of the longest piece of work they reviewed, and if they watch every single minute of each entry. This year, the jurors spent nearly two months pre-judging ahead of the festival, devoting 20-plus hours each week to review the work. The longest entries range from an hour-and-a-half film to a four-hour podcast. Each night during the judging at Cannes, Pereira sent the jurors back to their hotels with “homework” — five or six contenders they had to make sure to review again in their entirety.

INTERESTING TRENDS: The idea of “branded entertainment” has expanded and become increasingly fluid. The term once used to describe, for the most part, branded film, but now comprises a broad array of messaging. This year, the jury awarded golds to short films, commercials, art installations and experiential campaigns.

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