by Mimi Nicklin (@MimiNicklin) As June drew to a close it had been hard to avoid following anything but the glamorous and mysterious week in the south of France for which our industry awaits all year long. Facebook pages fill with photos of nightlong parties by a pool, and Twitter feeds clog with daylong gossip from a #darklylitjudgingroom.

[pullquote]This year more than others, there have been various articles from global CMO’s about the power of creativity in selling, but there is still a massive void in the winners when it comes to campaigns that really drive wallets to open and baskets to fill.[/pullquote]

Meanwhile, here we are on the southern tip of Africa awaiting the moment of inspiration and admiration as the news of the winners reaches us. With 35,765 entries across 17 categories this year, and more seminars than ever before, the spectacle doesn’t need to be seen personally to be believed. The power of this awards’, unlike any other, is quite literally one that infiltrates the agency bar and boardroom alike, and as the lucky ones who made it over tred back to SA soil we revel in the tales and tattles of what is ‘really celebrated at Cannes.’

So I am hooked, a believer, a follower and a future attendee (!) but I also find myself asking how we balance the recognition for creativity, with our constant fight for value adding work that sells to shoppers as well as consumers. This year more than others, there have been various articles from global CMO’s about the power of creativity in selling, but there is still a massive void in the winners when it comes to campaigns that really drive wallets to open and baskets to fill. I spent time reviewing the cases across categories and more often than not the work, whilst tweeted, shared, entertaining and envy worthy, could not necessarily claim that it sold anything more than a well loved, and in the case of Coca Cola in India & Pakistan, a much needed and treasured, smile.

Invaluable and undeniable brand value yes, but can this be deemed an entire success if the work didn’t drive shoppers to buy more, more often or indeed more loyally, and change the bottom line?

So, the question I ask myself is, is a Cannes Lion on the shelf (of the agency reception) equal in value to two more cans placed habitually, or even promotionally, in every basket? Quite honestly, I would argue that in fact the real winners are only those that manage to balance the two, proving that the highest forms of creativity not only shift mindsets but shifts stock!

So therefore,the answer is yes, the value of the golden Lion on your shelf can absolutely value the sales that came before it, and these winners do exist. There are brands this year who proved the ability to harness the power of creativity in driving shoppers’ decisions,and make winning at Cannes match the value of the proverbial ‘selling of more cans’ aligning to business, as well brand, objectives.

To prove it and without further ado, here are my top 3 shopper worthy winners:

1) John Lewis – UK

john lewis

A long-standing personal favourite, John Lewis’s marketing is built upon deep human truths that make for compelling viewing. Quite simply this is a brand that has managed to convert pulling at the heartstrings above the line,into pulling you in store and opening up your wallet. The brands’ campaigns since 2009 consistency prove the power of emotional connection in converting shopper behaviour, and with £400m in extra profit (that’s £5 profit for every £1 spent!) arguably no other brand better shows the power of creative marketing that literally makes“million of people cry, and then buy.”

(Full Case & Video)

2) Coca-Cola Share A Coke – Australia


This feels like an old campaign following the sheer number of meetings I have sat in and benchmarked against Coca Cola’s abilityto tailor literally millions of SKU’s and place names on packs, personalizing the brand and giving people a reason to choose Coke at the shelf.  This year however, they were awarded not only for the consumer impact, the ability to create social currency and impact on popular culture, but their ability to drive sales. With the wet summer and poor economic conditions that the brand had faced, they stood to lose 1.5 million unit cases. Not a very happy outlook. However this ingenious shopper campaign saw them quite literally driving people to the shelf on mass, entirely turning around the bottom line forecasts. The campaign generated 2.5 million unit cases higherthan predicted, and a made for happy Australian shoppers and retailers, proving that while price matters, value beyond cost reigns supreme when done creatively, even in tough economic times.

(Full Case & Video)

3) 7Eleven, 7Election, USA

7 election

Finally, and possibly the strongest at driving ‘feet in door’ was 7Elevens phenomenal campaign that used cultural currency of the time, the presidential election, to change people’s coffee choice!

No easy task when the link between coffee and politics is not all together overt on any normal day!

The “7-Election” campaign however made the turning of coffee counters, in thousands of stores, into mock “polling booths” into a shopper choice that made a personal statement well beyond their basket contents.  Shoppers could “vote” by choosing a blue Democratic cup or a red Republican cup and in doing so, their shopping decision became a personal opinion, an expression and a conversation starter. Quite simply, your choice of coffee held much higher value that the liquid in the cup – a lesson in adding value beyond price or prizes.

So, when is the purchase decision of a caffeinated hot drink worth so much more than the heat it is served at? When the brand sees over 7 million coffees bought during the campaign period and media nationwide following the hands of the nation carrying branded coffee cups reaching everywhere from The New York Times, CNN and celebrity homes. This is one campaign that made shopping just that little bit more fun than functional.

(Full Case & Video)

So there we have it, proof that there are cases, and long may it last, where a Cannes Lion on your shelf is absolutely worth the two extra cans it drove into the basket.


mimiMimi Nicklin (@MimiNicklin) followed her passion and experience in the consumer, retail and shopper space from regional roles in Europe and Asia, to South African shores in 2010. Having led global brands through the line for Procter & Gamble, and two of London and Hong Kong’s top agencies, her background gives her an international perspective to add to her depth of SA understanding. She serves as strategic director and a partner at 34 Group. Mimi contributes the monthly “The Sell” column concerning shopper marketing to MarkLives.


Published by Herman Manson is edited by Herman Manson. Follow us on Twitter -

Online CPD Courses Psychology Online CPD Courses Marketing analytics software Marketing analytics software for small business Business management software Business accounting software Gearbox repair company Makeup artist