Cannes Mobile Lions 2012 – scrutinizing the numbers of entries and winners

mobiThinking’s unhealthy fascination with stats and award-winning campaigns has led to a lengthy trawling through, collating and analyzing of the 957 entries for the inaugural Mobile Lions. This is what we learned. Hopefully this is useful.

1) The large creative/marketing agencies now take mobile seriously.
For years mobile insiders have complained that the mobile marketing/Web business has been held back because the large ‘traditional’ agencies have not been pushing mobile to their big brand customers. The volume of Mobile Lions going big agencies proves this is no longer the case.
Of 54 Mobile Lions handed out, 53 percent went to entries from marketing/advertising agencies, including the large multinationals such as DDB, Ogilvy, TBWA and Y&R; 22 percent went to interactive agencies, such as Grow Interactive (USA) and (Germany); and 13 percent to mobile specialists, such as Mobiento (Sweden), Ansible (USA), XS2TheWorld (Netherlands) and Movement (UK). When you include shortlisted campaigns the proportion going to large creative/marketing agencies is even higher at 60 percent**
NB: These numbers only take account of the agency that entered the campaign – and picked up the campaign. Don’t assume that the large traditional agencies are doing the mobile work in house, when you dig behind the scenes you often find part or all of the development work was actually done by a mobile agency – sometimes not receiving any credit on the award entry. So the numbers above do not include Grupo.Mobi’s work on Medida Certa (Brazil) or Brandtone’s work on Be the Coach (South Africa).

2) Agencies of mobile note include Grow Interactive (US), DDB (multinational), Mobiento (Sweden), Cundari (Canada) and Party (Japan).
Grow Interactive, DDB and Mobiento picked up the most Mobile Lions. US interactive shop Grow picked up three Mobile Lions including the Grand Prix for its Google campaign Hilltop Re-imagined for Coca-Cola. Mobiento, picked up three Mobile Lions for SMS is King and Volvo on Call, showing the diverse skills of this Swedish mobile agency. DBB shows of its international mobile caliber, with three Lions and six shortlists spread across its Danish, Belgium, German and Swedish offices.
The golden boys with two Gold Mobile Lions a piece are Cundari for Pain Squad and Party for Backseat Driver.
It is important to note that there are plenty of mobile campaigns that win in other Lions categories e.g. Promo, Direct, Media, Cyber, but don’t necessarily win in the Mobile Lions. [Take note agencies it is worth entering you mobile campaigns in other Lions categories, where appropriate]. Thus we should also mention George Patterson Y&R (Australia) and VML (USA), which won six Lions for Mobile Medic (see below); Ogilvy (South Africa) with three Lions for Be the Coach; and R/GA (USA) with two Grand Prix and two Lions for Nike+ Fuelband (which included a mobile app).
&#8226 Cannes winners/video case studies

3) USA and Sweden are the Mobile Lion kings; Germany, UK, Brazil, Canada and Denmark also put in a good show.
If Cannes Mobile Lions is indicative of mobile excellence, then we should all be looking to Sweden and the USA for inspiration. US agencies won the most awards, with 12 Mobile Lions (including the Grand Prix and two Gold Lions) and 10 shortlisted campaigns. Perhaps more noteworthy is Sweden, which picked up nine Mobile Lions (including one gold) and four shortlists, as it made fewer entries (see below) than the US and has a population 33 times smaller than the US. The Mobile Lions winners covered 18 countries (26 if you cover the shortlisted campaigns, and entries came in from so many countries mobiThinking lost count), which bodes well for the future internationalism of the Mobile Lions (many mobile awards have struggled to become truly international).

4) US agencies flooded the Mobile Lions with entries.
A staggering 224 entries (23 percent of total mobile entries) to the Mobile Lions came from US agencies, which dwarfed entries from other countries and taking some of the shine off the number of Lions won by US agencies. Sweden and the UK made 91 entries each; 73 entries came from Japan, 66 from Brazil, 62 from Germany, 32 from Canada, 13 came from Denmark. One country that should apparently (see below) be disappointed is Australia, which received no recognition in the Mobile Lions category despite 46 entries.

The Mobile Lions winners and shortlisted entries (which didn’t win) by country of origination
  Entries Grand Prix Gold Lions Silver Lions Bronze Lions Shortlist
USA 224 1 2 5 4 10
Sweden 91   1   8 4
Germany 62   1 1 2 5
Japan 73   2   1 3
Canada 32   2   1 1
UK 91   1   2 3
Brazil 66   1   2 2
Denmark 13       3 1
Other countries 302   1 8 5 15
Total 957 1 11 14 28 44
Sources: Cannes Lions Arithmetic by: mobiThinking**

5) Mobile Medic (Australia): the most highly decorated mobile campaign that didn’t feature in the Mobile Lions.
Despite being entered in four mobile categories, Mobile Medic was only shortlisted once and received no Mobile Lion. Elsewhere it received two Gold Promo and Activation Lions; Gold Direct Lion; Gold Media Lion; Silver Outdoor Lion and Bronze Titanium and Integrated Lion. This clever campaign asked wannabe applicants for military medical scholarships in Australia to diagnose and propose treatment of the ailments of patients. The patients were pictured in outdoor and other media ads and symptoms were revealed by scanning the image with an augmented reality (AR) app.
mobiThinking’s concern with Mobile Medic is that this AR app was only available for Apple device, which if the promotion really was the entrance exam, as claimed by the agency, then this would unfairly jeopardize the chances of medical students that didn’t have an Apple phone (presumably the majority). You have to wonder if, in a more litigious country, such a recruitment policy could actually result in legal action.
&#8226 Cannes winners/video case studies

6) There’s more to the Mobile Lions than branded novelty apps
Cannes Lions received a lot of entries from mobile apps, but this didn’t overwhelm the Lions as much as it has done some awards – e.g. the Webby Awards.
Aside: mobiThinking suspects award entries are as much about cheap promotion, as they are about showcasing mobile excellence. As apps are more tricky and expensive to promote than other mobile media, they are more eagerly entered into competitions. The only way to ensure entries remain more representative of real-world mobile media is to introduce sub-categories for apps, messaging, mobile Web, cross-media integration as Cannes Lions has done.*

The Mobile Lions categories by popularity of entries (with number of awards and shortlisted entries)
  Entries Grand Prix Gold Lions Silver Lions Bronze Lions Shortlist
Creative use of technology 207   4 3 6 10
Mobile applications 204   2 2 6 12
Craft 179 1 1 4 5 5
Best Integrated Campaign Led by Mobile 81     2 2 3
Mobile Websites and Web apps 79       1 5
Tablets and other devices 78   1 1 2 4
Mobile games 50   1 1 2 4
Rich media advertising for mobile devices 56   1 1 3 1
Messaging campaigns 23   1   1  
Total 957 1 11 14 28 44
Sources: Cannes Lions Arithmetic by: mobiThinking**

There’s a refreshing variety among the winning campaigns, covering the full spectrum of mobile:
• Mobile ads e.g. Hilltop Re-imagined for Coca-Cola (USA), Mystery Ad (Germany);
• SMS e.g. Pennies for Life (UK), SMS is King (Sweden), Move to the Beat (UK);
• QR codes e.g. Sunny Sale (S. Korea);
• Mobile Web e.g. AKB48 on Google+ (Japan), McDonalds Pick n Play (Sweden);
• Mobile coupons e.g. Hijack (Guatemala);
• Lots integration with other media e.g. Be the Coach, Hilltop re-imagined, VIP Fridge Magnet (UAE).
Being an advertising festival, branded novelty apps are inevitable, but apps such as Pain Squad (Canada) and Kid Rescue (Columbia) show that agencies are also developing apps that make a real difference to people’s lives.
mobiThinking would still like to see more agencies encouraging clients to use mobile more for long-term mobile engagement. The best mobile initiatives gel beautifully with and are tightly integrated into the brands wider strategy. Thus it’s pleasing to see the latest evolution of Nike+ (with its 6 million members) the Nike+ Fuel receiving two Grand Prix at Cannes.
&#8226 Cannes winners/video case studies

* Disclaimer: mobiThinking was one of the advisers to the Cannes organizers on matters such as categories.
** Disclaimer: to the best of mobiThinking’s knowledge all these figures are accurate. If our arithmetic has let us down, please blame mobiThinking, rather than Cannes Lions.

P.S. (09-07-12) Thanks to Helen Keegan from Musings of a Mobile Marketer for making this piece the post of the week in the latest Carnival of the Mobilists, a weekly roundup of the best in mobile and wireless blogs. (Blushes with pride).

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