Cannes Lions film craft and film 2015: Our picks
It’s that time again: the big finish of the biggest adworld blowout of the year. There’s neither space nor time to wax as lyrical as we’d like about all our favourites from the Cannes Lions Film and Film Craft categories this year.
Snickers! The Television Academy! Brother! Among the nominees we’ve really enjoyed Honda’s slew of solid ads this year including The Other Side and Endless Road and its eerie reappropriation of the Kill Bill whistle. Honda Keep Up, OK Go’s Honda-powered music video, Footlocker’s note-perfect takedown of dramatic sports ads and Under Armour’s powerful work. Among the spots already in laurels, we were tickled to see Germany’s Most Involuntary Charity Walk and Geico’s unskippable ads.
So let’s get to it: here is a selection of the music-led spots we took the biggest shine to among this year’s nominees in Film and Film Craft. Many we’ve featured on our regular Ad Digger blog feature. Though we confess we haven’t put our life savings into the Gunn Report’s Cannes Sweepstakes, we’re willing to stand over these ones and their canny use of sync music.
Our favourite Cannes 2015 film nominations
Canal Digital – The Silver Hand
An excellent reuse of a well-known piece: Canal Digital’s tale of unlikely lifelong regret is given a tongue-in-cheek tragedy by dint of Jean Claude Petit’s rework of Verdi’s ‘La Forza del Destino’, known to most from either Jean de Florette or Stella Artois’ similarly dark-hearted campaign. The casting is wonderful too, as that woodwind stays on our sadsack lead’s heels to the bitter end.
Song: Jean de Florette theme
Artist: Jean Claude Petit
Production: Bacon Oslo
Director: Bart Timmer
Southern Comfort – Shark
Southern Comfort have slowed its Comfortable stable since last summer, but the last installment was a winner – the first female among the ranks, resplendent in denim and a dramatic manicure, oozes a carnivorous self-possession that beautifully inverts the accompanying track: a southern drawl of a cover of Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs’ ‘Little Red Riding Hood’.
Song: Little Red Riding Hood
Artist: Bushwalla and Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy New York
Director: Steve Rogers
Our favourite Cannes 2015 Film Craft nominees
Here’s where we come to the nitty gritty, as awards divide into neater categories. Many of these have made it onto our particular bailiwick, the Use of Licensed/Adapted Music shortlist. It’s also worth noting that there have also been some glorious entries in the Original Music section this year – our favourites on the shortlist include Leica’s 100 and Lurpak’s Freestyle.
Guinness Africa: Made of Black
A slightly chancy work from Guinness Africa ad boasted indisputable style, with choppily cut and vivid footage of young creative from all over Africa doing their vibrant thing united under the roof the fuzzed-out drone and confrontational spirit of Kanye West’s ‘Black Skinhead’.
Song: Black Skinhead
Artist: Kanye West
Agency: Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO
Director: Sam Brown, Rogue Films
Nominations: Film, Film Craft (Editing, Use of Licensed/Adapted Music)
Beats by Dre – The Game Before the Game
Given how the World Cup ultimately turned out for Brazil this spot’s tone and initial focus on Neymar seem almost cruel now, but the atmosphere granted by Nabil Elderkin’s deft direction has endured – the thundering swagger of Jamie N Commons and X Ambassadors’ ‘Jungle’ over a tour of players’ and supporters’ pre-match rituals still stirs up a fine sense of anticipation, and was in fact the subject of our very first Ad Digger.
Artist: Jamie N Commons, X Ambassadors
Nominations: Film, Film Craft (Use of Licensed/Adapted Music)
Wins so far: Silver in Cyber Lions
Adot – Lights
Still-mysterious foundation adot produced a brutally different Christmas ad, pulling no punches with its idea nor the accompaniment. The Scala choir’s ‘Creep’ is as bleak as the subjects’ living conditions, but the spot is produced is produced with enough gravity to carry the weight of its subject.
Artist: Scala Choir
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Japan
Director: Dan Nathan
Nominations: Film, Film Craft (Use of Licensed/Adapted Music)
Samsung – Every Day is Day One
This one hit us somewhat out of left field. On paper, one might not have listed a spot about Samsung’s sponsoring of professional surfing as a potential heart-breaker. And yet, here it is, a wondering paean to the self-renewing passion that keeps surfers powering back into the punishing waves. The powerful evocation of the exhilarating churn of the sea and the high-cresting emotion of Angela McCluskey’s cover of Bowie’s ‘Absolute Beginners’ create something breathless and beautiful.
Song: Absolute Beginners
Artist: Paul Cantelon & Angela McCluskey
Nominations: Film, Film Craft (Cinematography, Use of Licensed/Adapted Music)
Sport England – This Girl Can
Another campaign that’s cleaning up, and it’s not hard to see why. Encouraging women to let go of all pressure to conform to the rigours of gym bunny preening or joyless competition and enjoy sport for the sheer fun of it, the spot’s street casting filled the screen with Englishwomen of all shapes and ages giving it their joyful all. The brash copy might have pushed things off-kilter, were it not for the spot’s unexpected saving grace: Missy Eliot. ‘Get Ur Freak On’ powers the spot with bangra-bumping verve, meshing beautifully with the realistic sounds of rubber-squeaking, racquet-battering, hard-panting sport. We covered it here.
Song: Get Ur Freak On
Artist: Missy Elliot
Agency: FCB Inferno
Director: Kim Gehrig
Nominations: Film, Film Craft (Editing, Sound Design, Direction, Use of Licensed/Adapted Music)
Wins so far: A Gold Glass Lion for the campaign
Sainsbury’s – Truce
https://www.tracksandfields.com/blog/ad-digger-14-11-2014/Sainsbury’s proved the arguable sensation of Christmas 2014 with this stirring paean to the events of a century previous: the WW1 Christmas Eve truce. Viewers were divided on the idea of featuring it in advertising of any sort, but the spot itself was inarguably well-crafted and moving as its raft of nominations attests. Key to the build were the use of two hymns: the a capella usage of border-busting Silent Night, and Lean on the Everlasting Arms, tenderly reworked by Carter Burwell into his piece “The Wicked Flee” for the True Grit soundtrack.
Songs: Silent Night; The Wicked Flee
Artist: Carter Burwell
Agency: AMV BBDO
Production: Rattling Stick
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Nominations: Film, Film Craft (Direction, Script, Production Design/Art Direction, Cinematography, Use of Licensed/Adapted Music)
Honourable mentions: Vorwerk’s lovelorn robot and Burt Bacharach, Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s crisp and elegant use of Flume, John Lewis’ and Tom Odell’s sweet cover of ‘Real Love’ for Monty the Penguin’s tale and Spotify’s exceedingly satisfying use of Whitesnake.