MTV Slays at the Cannes Lions Festival: Let’s Hear a Roar of Applause

Every year in June, hundreds of creative agencies, tech companies and media powerhouses converge in the South of France for The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. It’s a celebration of the year’s boldest ad campaigns; a chance to attend seminars with industry experts and drink champagne on yachts along the French Riviera.

The most visionary companies leave with the coveted Cannes Lyon Award—essentially the Oscar trophy of the advertising world.

You might remember 2015’s trippy, GIF-inspired VMA green-screen. The creative encouraged fans to download photos of their favorite VMA artists, such as Miley Cyrus, and customize them with fan art, emojis, and flying tacos.

Now the psychedelic promo has won a Cannes Gold Lion.


Some of our fans’ wackiest inventions made it to the 2015 VMA promo.

The festival has categories and subcategories for every possible niche of the ad business. This year’s Travel and Transport category highlighted Airbnb, and the Home Appliances category recognized an IKEA grill. At Cannes, the breadth of categories reflects the creativity of its submissions.

Given the multitude of brands vying for recognition at Cannes, it’s a substantial feat to even make it through the round of voting, otherwise known as the shortlist. Concepts selected for the shortlist are among the most innovative projects of the year.

The VMA green-screen campaign was shortlisted across several categories including Cyber, Entertainment, Media, and Promo and Activation.

But MTV truly dominated the Cyber category—winning the Gold Lion for its subcategory of Co-Creation and User-Generated Content and the Silver Lion for the subcategory of Media and Publications.

Cannes Screencap of Wins

Fans love the VMAs because the show celebrates unfettered artistic expression. MTV recognized this by letting fans share their own boundless ingenuity. It’s clear MTV has a genuine connection with its audience.

In a recent interview with marketing blog, Strategy Online, Cannes Cyber jury member and CCO at J. Walter Thompson, Brent Choi lauded the VMA campaign as ‘one of the best uses of social and user-generated content’.

“It was brave enough to give people control over green-screen stuff and not directly promote the show. It knew its audience, it fit the brand. And then to use it in a way that went offline to online and back offline, it made it not just about great banners or out of home, it used the flow back and forth between those.”

We congratulate the MTV team for crafting one of the most innovative campaigns of the year, and we look forward to seeing what they come up with next for the upcoming VMAs on August 28 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Check out the website for more information.

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