The Fanchise Model: A Grand Prix winner's case study with McCann London

McCann London made history in 2018 when their work for Xbox won the first ever Creative eCommerce Grand Prix at Cannes Lions. Here's the inside story on what happened and how the win impacted the agency.
Nick Law introduces the new Creative eCommerce Lions

The Creative eCommerce Jury President introduces the new Lion...

Nick Law is one of the industry’s most progressive and versatile creative leaders. For years he led the strategic and creative vision at R/GA: one of the most storied and innovative companies in the world. Over this time he worked with clients such as Nike, Beats by Dre, Samsung, HBO, Johnson & Johnson, IBM, Verizon, and Google.

Then in 2018, joined Publicis as Chief Creative Officer of Publicis Groupe and President of Publicis Communications. In his new role he became responsible for leading the group's creative vision, while leveraging the power of data and technology. His expertise meant that he was a clear choice to lead the new Creative eCommerce Lions when they launched.

“This is the pointy end of the industry. It's also where the new economy's battleground is.”
Nick Law, Chief Creative Officer Publicis Groupe; President, Publicis Communications at Publicis Groupe

Before the awards, Nick was clear about the importance of the new category, explaining that "we should never forget that, if we do our job well, it ends with someone buying something".

"Creative eCommerce is persuading and then enabling that purchase in the marketplace that defines modern life; the glorious, boundless internet," he said. "Whether the journey takes a meandering year or a hot second - it should be fun, easy and leave the customer feeling great about the brand."

It was this guiding belief that helped Nick and his jury set a new benchmark for eCommerce through the Lions they awarded in 2018. As he told the audience at the Awards Show, "this is the pointy end of the industry. It's also where the new economy's battleground is".

Check out the case film for the Grand Prix winner as the team behind it celebrate their success

The Grand Prix winner is revealed...

With all that in mind, Nick revealed on stage at Cannes Lions that his jury had picked 'Xbox Design Lab Originals: The Fanchise Model' as the first Creative eCommerce Grand Prix. Produced by McCann London, with MRM, Foreal and Craft for Microsoft, 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

The results were impressive:

  • Design Lab controller sales increased by 350%
  • 41% of site visitors claimed a design
  • Average amount earned was $95.24
  • The top earner made $1,131

"Even UX, experiences and back-end software could win. That’s the new advertising."
Daniel Bonner, Global Chief Creative Officer, Wunderman

Why the work won: the jury's view

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 Law and Daniel Bonner shine a light on what made the work stand out

They summed up its appeal succinctly when they said it “ticks so many boxes. It was neat and complete". In particular, 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. Finally, the pair said the jury loved the way the work was essentially advertising a service, rather than a core product or the brand.

The team behind the Creative eCommerce Grand Prix mapped out what goes into a Grand Prix winning idea

How to craft a Grand Prix winning idea: the team's view

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 .

“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
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.

“It just felt like this is what good advertising leads to.“
Laurence Thomson, Co-President & CCO, McCann London
The creative duo were making an appearance on Cannes Lions TV as part of our 2018 Digital Pass content
“I love what winning does for the type of work we do. Success has led to us being quite pointed in the type of ideas we pursue.”
Laurence Thomson, Co-President & CCO, McCann London

The story continues...

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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