Winning work revealed brands leaning into communities, using collaboration and co-creation to build lasting relationships. And stage sessions offered tips and techniques on how to connect more effectively with audiences, particularly Gen Z ad avoiders.
Involve your audience
According to LIONS’ State of Creativity Study:
of brands are planning to increase their investment in building communities this year.
And speakers advised brands to establish these relationships from the inside out. “The most important role of any CMO is to bring the community into every room you walk into,” said Kory Marchisotto, Chief Marketing Officer, e.l.f. Beauty, at a CMOs In The Spotlight session.
KORY MARCHISOTTO | CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER E.L.F. BEAUTY
Community was a central tenet of winners in the inaugural Entertainment Lions for Gaming.
The Grand Prix winner ‘Clash from the Past’, by Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, invited Clash of Clans fans into an alternate world where the mobile game had existed since 1982. “This was a masterclass in community-building,” said Jury President Francine Li, Global Head of Marketing at Riot Games. “It added value to the player experience in spades.”
CLASH FROM THE PAST | CLASH OF CLANS
WIEDEN+KENNEDY, PORTLAND | 2023 GRAND PRIX ENTERTAINMENT LIONS FOR GAMING
Make the experience multi-layered. Offer the audience something that’s unique to your brand that they cannot get elsewhere.
Create with the creators
The use of creator partnerships is expected to double over the next year in all sectors, according to the Deloitte Creator Economy in 3D Study. And Lion-winning work showed that this sphere of influence is expanding. Sir John Hegarty, Co-Founder and Creative Director at The Garage Soho and The Business of Creativity, compared the rise of creators to the creative revolution of the 1960s.
Mobbie Nazir, Global Chief Strategy Officer at We Are Social, also described "a shift from individuality towards more anonymous and collective influence", a democratisation that was reflected in the winning work.
IT'S NOT CONTENT CREATORS OR ADLAND CREATIVES BUT BOTH
SIR JOHN HEGARTY | CO-FOUNDER AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR THE GARAGE SOHO
Gold Lion-winning ‘#OptInk’, by McCann, Paris, showed how to tap into an unexpected community, recruiting tattoo artists as influencers and offering ink enthusiasts free matching tattoos to opt in for organ donation.
#OPTINK | JUNGE HELDEN E.V.
MCCANN, PARIS | 2023 GOLD SOCIAL & INFLUENCER LIONS
‘Cashback For Your Jersey’s Back’, by FCB Brasil, São Paulo, saw benefit card Flash incentivise widespread co-creation by offering 3,273 Brazilian football fans a sponsorship deal.
CASHBACK FOR YOUR JERSEY’S BACK | FLASH
FCB BRASIL, SAO PÃULO | 2023 GOLD SOCIAL & INFLUENCER LIONS
‘Kami’, by Forsman & Bodenfors, Singapore, is a new, more inclusive model for influencers, created and controlled by 100 women from the community she represents.
KAMI | DOWN SYNDROME INTERNATIONAL
FORSMAN & BODENFORS, SINGAPORE | 2023 SILVER PR LIONS
Be more open to ceding control over your brand, providing creators with the tools to monetise and measure their work.
Let local insights lead
"When you move away from a one-size-fits-all, mass-market approach and tap into niche communities, you have a real opportunity to challenge conventional thinking," said Paula Chowles, Executive Producer, Partner, Godfrey Dadich Partners. And this was seen in awarded work.
Microsoft worked with two members of the Fulani community to digitise their spoken language and make it accessible. ‘ADLaM – An Alphabet to Preserve a Culture’, by McCann New York, took the Grand Prix in the Design Lions and the Creative Business Transformation Lions.
And TBWA\HAKUHODO’s ‘Shellmet’ for Koushi Chemical Industry Co. took Gold Lions in both Design and Innovation. This upcycling initiative repurposed discarded shells as a raw ingredient in a high-quality helmet design.
“This local problem helped us to come up with a recycling idea for new products. Understanding and acting on the problems of local people can offer great opportunities for innovation,” said Kentaro Kimura, International Co-Chief Creative Officer, Hakuhodo Inc.
ADLaM – AN ALPHABET TO PRESERVE A CULTURE | MICROSOFT
MCCANN, NEW YORK | 2023 GRAND PRIX DESIGN LIONS
Understand and interact with local audiences and reassess your relationships with them. “Stop thinking of working with Favelas as philanthropy,” said Celso Athayde, Founder, Central Única das Favelas. “It’s not poverty, it’s power.”
Expand your impact
Successful work often went beyond supporting specific communities to hold others accountable for doing the same. Direct Lions Grand Prix winner ‘Runner 321’ for adidas, by FCB Toronto, challenged major marathons to create a space for neurodivergent runners. DDB Mexico's ‘Rainbow Washing Detector’ saw consulting firm Capaxia launch an open-source tool to measure companies’ true commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. And ‘Inequality You Can’t Ignore’, by Eversana Intouch for The Chrysalis Initiative, used storytelling and localised media placement to urge healthcare providers to recognise racial inequalities in breast cancer care.
RUNNER 321 | ADIDAS
FCB TORONTO | 2023 GRAND PRIX DIRECT LIONS
RAINBOW WASHING DETECTOR | CAPAXIA
DDB MEXICO, MEXBICO CITY | 2023 BRONZE MOBILE LIONS
INEQUALITY YOU CAN'T IGNORE | THE CHRYSALIS INITIATIVE
EVERSANA INTOUCH, NEW YORK | 2023 GOLD PHARMA LIONS
Take the lead on inclusion by providing partners and competitors with the tools to acknowledge and revise their bias.
Design for one, scale for many
Speakers spoke of a cascading effect that occurs when brands innovate for specific communities. “Many everyday tools originally came from the needs and ideas and services of disabled people,” said KR Liu, Head of Brand Accessibility at Google. “Text messaging was created for the deaf community. Today, everyone uses it.” As Jess Vice, Strategy Director at Struck, put it: “When we design for extremes, we find a solution that encompasses all people in every situation.” This scalable approach was demonstrated by the Glass: The Lion For Change Grand Prix winner ‘Knock Knock’, by Cheil Worldwide in Seoul. This two-tap smartphone solution reached out to victims of domestic violence, enabling them to communicate with the police. It also offers the deaf community a simple way to make emergency calls.
Another example came from the Innovation Lions Grand Prix winner. ‘MouthPad^’, by Wunderman Thompson, Lima, helps people with limited mobility to control electronic devices via a smart teeth retainer that translates tongue movements into clicks.
KNOCK KNOCK | KOREAN NATIONAL POLICE AGENCY
CHEIL WORLDWIDE, SEOUL | 2023 GRAND PRIX GLASS: THE LION FOR CHANGE
MOUTHPAD^ | AUGMENTAL
WUNDERMAN THOMPSON, LIMA | 2023 GRAND PRIX INNOVATION LIONS
Global Chief Creative and Design Officer | WongDoody Jury President I Innovation Lions 2023
“This is not just for people with a disability. It also has applications for surgeons who have their hands full and can use ‘MouthPad^’ to control a screen. We think about it as holistic, assistive tech for the disabled, but it has applications for all of us.”
YOUR FINAL THOUGHT:
Brands should work with communities to understand specific groups of people and the platforms where they spend their time. Involving audiences upfront in the creative process will help brands to develop a more authentic and conversational relationship with them.