21 Incredible Design Projects That Won Awards at Cannes Lions 2016

The best artworks, graphics, animation, illustration, advertising and design work from this year's Cannes Lions winners (with no fakes).


Grand Prix for Good winner: Unicef – Malak And The Boat

This animated short film is part of the campaign for Unicef called Unfairy Tales, which focusses on stories that no child should have to experience.

Malak And The Boat is a heartbreaking true story about seven-year-old refugee Malak's escape from Syria by boat. It's rendered in CG resembling a very solid-looking wax – giving it a unique look that draws you into the film before its emotional pull begins with the narration by Malak herself.

The film was directed by André Holzmeister, through 180LA and House of Colors. You can watch it above.

Grand Prix winner – Cyber: ING – The Next Rembrandt

Having a category called Cyber make it sounds rather dated – but this digital project from J Walter Thomson Amsterdam is as current as it gets. And very traditional in feel.

This painting may look like a real work by Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn, but was actually created using artificial intelligence and 3D printing. Its creators used machine learning to train a computer using Rembrandt's 346 actual works – including using facial recognition to define and create an idealised 'Rembrandt' face.

The resulting image was 3D printed to lay down 'brushstokes' in the same way as the old master himself.

For more on this project, see our story from April.


Grand Prix winner – Cyber: Loterias y Apuestas del Estado – Justino

Justino is an animated Christmas ad that, despite being for a Spanish lottery, was shared and loved worldwide. It's a heartwarming story of a lonely security guard in a mannequin factory who finds a rewarding way to communicate with his co-workers on the day shift. You can watch it below.

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Grand Prix winner – Design: Panasonic – Life Is Electric

This whimsical campaign for Panasonic's Eneloop batteries used a mixture of illustration and photography to 'tell the story' of how 21 rechargeable batteries were charged – from a hamsters on a wheel to a cheerleading team.

Special edition packs of the batteries with books documenting the charging story and the batteries themselves were then sold on Amazon.

The campaign was created by Dentsu Tokyo.


Gold Lion winner – Design: TV Tokyo – World Table Tennis Championships 2015

These beatifully composed minimalist posters bering stillness the usually frentic game of table tennis. They were also designed by Dentsu Tokyo.


Gold Lion winner – Design: Tate Britain – 500 Years of Portraits

Advertising an art museum without using an art is a bold idea by Grey London, but it works because it makes you want to visit (that being the whole point of an ad for art museum).

Each ad contains 100 words describing the story behind a well-known artwork from the Tate Britain, enticing you see how an old master has rendered this on canvas.

This ad is based around JMW Turner's The Field of Waterloo.

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This ad refers to Francis Bacon's painting Triptych – August 1972.


Gold Lion winner – Design: Warsaw Rising Museum – Quantum of Peace

This is a real interactive inforgraphic made of bullets, which explains the statistics behind the 1944 Warsaw Uprising during the Second World War in a powerful way.

Here's how it works. Visitors to the exhibit at the Warsaw Rising Museum select facts that they want to know using buttons on the front of the display. When selected, motors and pneumatic actuators move magnets behind the bullet casings, pulling them into the shape of numbers.


Gold Lion winner – Design: Kamoi Kakoshi – MT Expo 2015

Iyamadesign Tokyo won a Lion for a more traditional experiential campaign for the Kamoi Kakoshi brand of Washi tape – long, thin decorated sticky tape that can also be used to customise your belongings. The agency created an exhibition where visitors could be creative and play with over 80,000 tapes that were hanging from the ceiling - a visually overwhelming array colour and texture.

The campaign also won a Black Pencil at the D&AD Awards 2016.

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Gold Lion winner – Design: Kamoi Kakoshi – MT Ex Yokohama

At another exhibition for the Kamoi Kakoshi brand, Iyamadesign Tokyo covered both huge and small surfaces with blue and white stripes as if decorated with Washi tape.


Gold Lion winner – Design: Honda – Paper

RPA Santa Monica's stop-motion animated ad (below) required the skills of many illustrators who creared thousands of artworks to show over 60 years of Honda's heritage.


Gold Lion winner – Design: Narita International Airport Terminal 3

Party Tokyo's running track-themed wayfinding system for a new airport terminal in Japan is wonderfully pared back. The terminal is for low-cost airlines only and – to save money – has no digital signage (as passengers use their phones for information).

It's a relaxing approach that I much prefer to the stimulation overload of Heathrow or Gatwick – though I'm not sure how Narita's designs  will fare when it's inevitably plastered in ads.

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Gold Lion winner – Design: McDonalds – Originals

This campaign by TBWA Paris turns iconic products into simple graphic icons.


Gold Lion winner – Film Craft: Under Armor – Phelps

This beautifully shot ad for sportswear brand Under Armour shows just what swimmer Michael Phelps has been putting himself through in the run up to this summer's Rio Olympics.


Grand Prix winner – Print & Publishing/Media: Burger King – McWhopper

Proving that there's still life left in print ads, this double Grand Prix-winning inventive campaign for Burger King was linked to the charity Peace One Day, which has created a World Day of Peace. Interpreting this in a clever and cheeky way, Burger King offered to 'make peace' with arch-rival McDonalds and create a burger with the 'best parts' of their Big Mac and Whopper burgers.

This offer was published as a print ad. McDonalds didn't go for it, but the resulting publicity was a real boon for Burger King.

The campaign was created by Y&R New Zealand.

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Gold Lion winner – Print & Publishing: Getty Images – Charles

This series of ads by ALMAPBBDO São Paulo highlights the breadth of portrait images offered by Getty Images. Art directors painstakingly recreated scarily accurate images of well-known people from Prince Charles to the Dalai Lama using parts of other portraits selected over hundreds of hours, which were then expertly Photoshopped together,


The Dalia Lama from Getty's campaign.


Angeka Merkel from Getty's campaign.

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Pope Francis from Getty's campaign.


Gold Lion winner – Print & Publishing: Leica M – Monochrom

This print ad campaign for the Leica M Monochrom digital rangefinder camera makes an asset of what might seem to be a restriction – it shoots only black-&-white photos.

There's a technical reason for this – the lack of a the colour filter used by most digital cameras allow it to capture sharper images with less noise – but the campaign turns the constraint into a challenge that it asks photographers to take up.


Grand Prix winner – Glass: Brooke Bond Red Label Tea – 6 Pack Band

The Glass award is for campaigns that fight against gender inequality, imbalance or injustice. This year it was won by the 6 Pack Band campaign for Brooke Bond Red Label Tea by Mindshare Mumbai.

6 Pack Band is India's first trandgender pop group, producing songs such as this cover of Pharrell's Happy. Songs and music videos appeared across YouTube and streaming music services, reaching over 25 million people.

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Grand Prix winner – Promo & Activation: REI – 6 Pack Band

REI is a big outdoor retailer – think a giant American version of Millets. Last year it created a very different campaign for the sales orgy that is Black Friday, closing its stores and paying its staff to go and do something outdoors instead. This was accompanied by a microsite recommending hiking trails.

OptOutside was called the bravest idea of the decade by the president of the judging panel – and it paid off in positive PR.


Gold Lion winner – Promo & Activation: Contours Baby Stroller

FCB Chicago created adult-sized versions of Contours' baby buggies to see how comforable they are.