The Monkeys take home Grand Prix for Play it Safe campaign on the final day of Cannes Lions

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Tara Ford: “It’s not an exaggeration to say this is a dream come true.”

The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song, has won the Film Grand Prix for its Sydney Opera House campaign, Play it Safe, at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

The campaign won one of two Grand Prix awards in the Film category, alongside the WoMen’s Football campaign by Paris-based agency Marcel, for French telecom company Orange.

Play it Safe celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House and was a visual and musical love letter to ignoring the rules. The ad featured Australian songwriter and satirist Tim Minchin and director Kim Gehrig, as well as a host of the House’s resident companies and performers.

Meanwhile, Tor Myhren, jury president for the Film Lions category, described Play It Safe as “a celebration of the creative spirit, of brave ideas and taking huge risks in the face of critics and controversy and cultural norms. Quite simply, it’s the best film of the year and makes you proud to be in this industry.”

Tara Ford, chief creative officer, Growth Markets (APAC + LATAM) of Accenture Song, celebrated the win, saying: “This work is a rambunctious reminder to be creatively brave (just like the Opera House itself) and not ‘Play It Safe’. So, for this work to take out the Cannes film Grand Prix is so gratifying. It’s not an exaggeration to say this is a dream come true.

“So many amazing people were involved, and thanks to all their grit and talent we pulled it off. Special shout out goes to the wonderful Tim Minchin and Kim Gehrig. Here’s to creativity and its enduring power to move and motivate each and every one of us.”

“We really are thrilled to be recognised on the world stage for work promoting the iconic Sydney Opera House,” Mark Green, lead – Australia & New Zealand, Accenture Song, said. “So many people devoted their talents to making this happen and Tim Minchin and Kim Gehrig delivered the magic.”

He continued: “Our client also went on a journey that wasn’t for the faint-hearted. A shout out to Jade McKellar, Stephen O’Connor, Joanne Been and of course Susan Coghill from Tourism Australia. The team at Revolver also sweated this from beginning to end and that’s what makes Michael Ritchie and Pip Smart the best in the business. A final shout out to the team at The Monkeys, what an achievement!”

Tim Minchin in 'Play it Safe' by The Monkeys for The Sydney Opera House - Winner of Gold Clio Award for Film Craft

Tim Minchin in ‘Play it Safe’ by The Monkeys for The Sydney Opera House – Winner of Gold Clio Award for Film Craft

Neil Heymann, global chief creative officer, Accenture Song, added: “We couldn’t be more delighted to see The Monkeys team and Accenture Song and our partners acknowledged in this way. The piece is an ever-necessary reminder of the power of creative ambition and sailing in unchartered waters. And a beautifully written, artfully visualised reminder at that. Makes me proud to work at Song, proud to be a creative and proud to be an Aussie expat.”

Concluding the festival Simon Cook, CEO, LIONS, said: “As we wrap up another year of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, I hope everyone feels an extraordinary sense of pride and a rejuvenated sense of energy and inspiration in our industry. I’d like to congratulate each and every winner – as well as those shortlisted – on being recognised by your peers as demonstrating the greatest, most effective creativity our industry has to offer.”

Elsewhere, Publicis Conseil, founding agency of Publicis Groupe, has been recognised as the Cannes Lions Agency of the Year.

The agency, led by chief creative officer Marco Venturelli and president of Publicis France Agathe Bousquet, has been ranked as France’s top agency. It ranked second globally at last year’s Cannes Lion Festival and built on that momentum over the past 12 months to take the top spot in 2024.

Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Groupe, said: “Seeing Publicis Conseil, our group’s mother agency, named as Agency of the Year at the Cannes Lions is a very proud moment for me, Maurice Lévy and everyone at Publicis.

“It took almost 100 years and over 820km for a hot shop founded in Montmartre by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet to make its way to the Palais des Festivals to receive this incredibly special honour. We are particularly proud to get this recognition for outstanding campaigns that have been seen and loved across France, with some of our biggest and most iconic clients, many of whom have been partnering with us for decades.

“I’d like to thank each of them for always pushing us to raise the creative bar, Marco and the teams for going above and beyond that challenge every day, and Agathe for her outstanding leadership.”

Meanwhile, WPP as named creative company of 2024, Ogilvy crowned creative network of the year, and The Coca-Cola Company, whose global marketing partner is WPP Open X, was named Creative Brand of the Year for the first time.
WPP walked away with multiple wins including a Titanium Lion for Ogilvy’s DAVID and Grand Prix for JCDecaux’s Meet Marina Prieto. While WPP Open X led by Ogilvy won a Grand Prix for Coca-Cola’s Recycle Me and Ogilvy PR (Onefluence) also collected a Grand Prix for CeraVe’s Michael CeraVe.

VML’s Scholz & Friends won a Grand Prix for The 100th Edition for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, as did Grey for Sol Cement’s Sightwalks and Ogilvy and Mindshare for Vaseline’s Transition Body Lotion. AKQA’s Pink Chip for DEGIRO and UN Women picked up no less than three Gold and two Silver Lions, capping a performance that saw wins from every WPP network across every discipline.

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “I am absolutely thrilled for our clients, people and agencies whose brilliant work these awards recognise. To win Creative Company of the Year for WPP and Network of the Year for Ogilvy, with The Coca-Cola Company being named Creative Brand of the Year for the first time in its history, is a remarkable achievement. Thank you to everyone who has made this such a successful Cannes Lions for WPP and our fantastic clients.”

Day 4

DDB Sydney won one of 29 Silver Lions in the Brand Experience & Activation category for The Original Mouthful for McDonald’s.

DDB New Zealand was also awarded two Silver Lions in the same category, one for its Volkswagen NZ campaign, The Greenprint and the other for the Correct The Internet campaign for Team Heroine.

Meanwhile, winning one of 30 Bronze Lions in the same category was VML Melbourne for its work on the FitChix campaign with Honest Eggs Co, CHEP Network Melbourne’s work on Climate Doctor’s Certificate for School Strike 4 Climate, and Auckland’s dentsu Creative’s Aid Aisle campaign for FreshChoice supermarket.

Colenso BBDO continued its winning streak at the festival, winning one of two Silver Lions in the Creative Business Transformation category for the Adoptable By Pedigree campaign.

The Creative Commerce category saw Sydney’s Howatson+Company recognised with one of nine Bronze Lions for its work with brewery Matilda Bay on the campaign, Your 2nd Favourite Beer.

Australia and New Zealand were each awarded one of nine Bronze Lions in the Creative Effectiveness category. VML Melbourne was once again recognised for its FitChix campaign with Honest Eggs Co, while Special Auckland picked up metal for its work with Partners Life on The Last Performance campaign.

The Creative Strategy Lions category also saw VML Melbourne’s FitChix campaign with Honest Eggs Co win both Silver and Bronze Lions.

Day 3

Auckland’s Colenso BBDO won one of 10 gold and one of 31 bronze awards in the Direct category for its work on the Adoptable By Pedigree campaign. The agency also received a bronze for its work on the cat food brand Whiskas with Meowzer.  

In the same category, DDB New Zealand‘s Volkswagen campaign, The Greenprint, won a silver, while Dentsu Creative Auckland got a bronze for its work with FreshChoice on Aid Aisle.

Australia’s M&C Saatchi saw one of 16 silver awards in the PR category for the Minderoo Foundation on The Plastic Forecast.

Australia was represented in the Direct category by Melbourne’s CHEP Network with Climate Doctor’s Certificate work for School Strike 4 Climate, which was awarded a bronze Lion.

There were 1888 entries in the Media category and DDB New Zealand was awarded one of 30 bronze Lions for its Ad-Ons work for McDonald’s.

In the Social & Influencer Lions category, Special Sydney – and its Los Angeles counterpart – was recognised for its work on the Be Honest campaign for Uber Eats with a bronze Lion. 

Day 2

The Monkeys, part Of Accenture Song, lead the winning Aussie pack. The agency won two Silver Lions – one in Film Craft and the other in Entertainment, for the Play It Safe campaign for the Sydney Opera House.

In the Design Lions category, honouring visual craftsmanship, 927 entries were received and 31 Lions were awarded by the jury. The Hallway was among the recipients of the 14 Bronze Lions Awards for its work on The Cardboard Cake with the Wholegreen Bakery.

Ogilvy Australia claimed one of 10 Bronze Lions in the Entertainment Lions For Sport category for ‘Til It’s Done campaign with Football Australia and The Matildas.

The Hallway and Wholegreen Bakery make gluten-free sceptics eat their words with the launch of the world’s first Cardboard Cake

Day 1 

New Zealand’s Colenso BBDO won one of two Grand Prix in the Outdoor category on the first day with its Adoptable By Pedigree campaign.

The aims to democratise dog adoption ads using AI to transform the image of a shelter dog into studio-quality photography, in line with the brand’s ongoing ambition to end dog homelessness.

Elsewhere in the catagory, Dentsu Aotearoa also won a Silver Lion for its Aid Aisle campaign for Freshchoice. DDB Group Aotearoa won two Bronze Lions, one for its Ad-Ons campaign for McDonald’s and the other for Samsung NZ’s Different campaign.

In the audio and radio category meanwhile – which received 759 entries and awarded 23 Lions: four gold, six silver and 12 bronze – Howatson+Company‘s Touch campaign for Mastercard won bronze.

Ogilvy London and Sydney received one of 13 Bronze Lions in the print and publishing category for its 10 vs 10 campaign for Dove.

Plus VML Melbourne‘s FitChix work for Honest Eggs Co won a bronze Lion in the health and wellness category. 

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