What happens when you win a lion?

A cannes Lions case study

Every year thousands enter the Lions. But only a handful are honoured with a Grand Prix. 

McCann London become a member of this elite group when their work for Xbox won the first ever Creative eCommerce Grand Prix at Cannes Lions last year.

This is their story...


We'll start at the end: the moment McCann won the Grand Prix

On 19 June 2018, the Creative eCommerce Lions Grand Prix Jury President Nick Law revealed that his jury had picked 'Xbox Design Lab Originals: The Fanchise Model' as the first Creative eCommerce Grand Prix. Produced by McCann London, the work was designed to address concerns within the gaming community around the high cost of gaming and to increase sales of user-customised Xbox controllers that cost 50% more than the standard product.

McCann did this by fundamentally changing the shopping journey, letting gamers claim ownership of their design. This meant that users could earn money when others purchased their designs. At a stroke, this turned gamers into entrepreneurs. They started to identify gaps in markets, claiming designs that would sell within their communities and doing their own marketing

"Even UX, experiences and back-end software can win. That’s the new advertising."

Daniel Bonner, Global Chief Creative Officer 



But why did it win? We asked the people who judged it

At Cannes Lions, unique 'Inside the Jury Room' sessions give our delegates the opportunity to hear from the jury to get their take on why the winners did so well. When it came to the Creative eCommerce Grand Prix, Nick Law was joined by Wunderman’s Daniel Bonner to explain why they selected The Fanchise Model.

Nick and Daniel praise the way that the work meant the brand was able to sell a premium product through a network of communities. They also picked out the network effect that the work created: the controllers were used in traditional advertising to make people aware they could create designs, which in turn generated more designs to use in future marketing.

“You need an insight that others just don’t have. Try to join the dots that people have never connected before.”

Sanjiv Mistry, Executive Creative Director

McCann London

The team behind the idea share where the idea came from

The morning after their triumph, Sanjiv Mistry and Laurence (Lolly) Thomson from McCann London explained exactly what goes into making a piece of work worthy of a top prize at the festival: a killer insight, a true understanding of your audience's behaviour, an understanding of your client and a healthy dose of luck.


Sanjiv Mistry specifically mentioned the power of giving consumers a reason to engage as a way to build better work. Laurence went on in the interview to explain just how excited the team were when they heard Cannes Lions was launching a Creative eCommerce award, because they knew they had an idea that fit perfectly into the section.

“A Grand Prix is seen in the industry. If you perform at this level then brands see it and say ‘Oh, I want one of those’.”

Laurence Thomson, Co-President & CCO

McCann London

What happened next...

Six months after the success at Cannes Lions 2018, we caught up with Laurence at McCann’s offices in London to find out what happened next. He said that his experiences at Cannes Lions reinforced his view that the Awards remain a benchmark for good work. He likened the Lions to a catwalk show whose influence trickles down and impacts culture and brands.

In the new film, he tells us that Cannes Lions "sets the agenda for the best-in-class creative" and that this means that success - whether that's a Grand Prix or just a shortlist nomination - can be a career-defining moment".


“A Grand Prix is seen in the industry. If you perform at this level then brands see it and say ‘Oh, I want one of those’.”

Laurence Thomson, Co-President & CCO

McCann London

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