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Cannes Lions 2021 report: online-only event rewards brands with purpose

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2021 has wrapped up its virtual run this year with Omnicom, Fortnite, Reddit and Libresse among those brands and agencies winning top accolades for creative ads.

Cannes Lions 2021 report: Online-only event rewards brands with purpose

While the global pandemic meant seafront lunches and late-night parties were not part of the French Riviera-based festival this year, the awarding of what is often regarded as the pinnacle of marketing industry creativity returned during the virtual event that ran all last week.

Going digital meant Cannes Lions 2021 allowed for a more sober focus on the creative award winners. It was a bumper festival, with the awards honouring work from 2020 and 2021 after last year’s event was cancelled.

The winners (featured in our in-depth article here) show an ongoing preference by jurors to award purpose-based work, with the Grand Prix list heavy in examples of brands doing work that aims to make a difference in society.

The festival ended with the naming of the agencies and networks of the year. The winners were decided based on a point system accumulated from shortlisted and awarded entries.

This year Omnicom Media Group was awarded Media Network of the Festival, with OMG agencies PHD and OMD earning first and second place.

WPP was awarded Holding Company of the Festival, with a total of 190 Lions, including a Titanium Lion for ‘Stevenage Challenge’ from David and ‘Moldy Whopper’ from David and Ingo, 12 Grand Prix, 28 gold, 57 silver, and 92 bronze, all told representing 38 different countries.

Four of the Grands Prix were awarded to AMV BBDO’s ‘#Wombstories’ campaign for Bodyform/Libresse that won the top prizes across the categories of Film, Film Craft, Titanium, and Health & Wellness.

Agencies of the Festival

• Communication: Publicis Italy, Milan • Craft: AMV BBDO London • Entertainment: 72andSunny Los Angeles • Experience: McCann New York • Good: VMLY&R Sao Paulo • Reach: FCB Chicago • Creative Brand of the Festival: Burger King • Network of the Festival: FCB • Palme d’Or: Chelsea Pictures • Creative Marketer of the Festival: Microsoft • Independent Agency of the Festival: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland • Track Independent Agencies of the Festival • Communication: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland • Craft: Work & Co., New York • Entertainment: Edelman, London; Gut Agency, Sao Paulo • Experience: Uncommon, London

Microsoft was named Creative Marketer of the Festival. This honour is awarded to an advertiser with a body of creative and Lion-winning work over a sustained period of time, and has established a reputation for producing brave creative and innovative marketing solutions.

You can view the highlights and wrap-ups from each day below and an in-depth look at all 35 Grand Prix winners in our article here.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5


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