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Cultural context at Cannes Lions

For 2023’s Cannes Lions Awards, we introduced a question around the cultural context behind the work – designed to help the Jury better understand why it was worthy of winning. For 2024, the cultural context question is a compulsory part of every Awards submission.

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Why is your work relevant for this brand, in this market, at this moment of time?

Why is cultural context important?

Cannes Lions Jurors come from all over the globe – bringing their diverse worldviews to the judging room and comparing submissions from countries at different stages of their creative journeys. This means that work could be revolutionary in one country, but commonplace in another – and picking up on these nuances can be difficult.

Cultural context helps explain what it is about the work that makes it effective to the people, society and moment it’s aiming to impact. To help the Juror see the work as intended and judge it accordingly, cultural context is a must.

Here’s how Lion winners have used it to bolster their submissions, and how you can do the same.


Australia | Grand Prix, Social & Influencer Lions

‘Flipvertising’ turned the traditional targeted ad campaign on its head.

They encouraged viewers to search for specific Galaxy Z Flip4 terms and find unbranded content around the phone – in the hopes of being retargeted with an ultra-rare ad that’d gift them one.

Samsung took advantage of the fact that Gen Z Australians hate ads, but are much more likely to be influenced by real people doing unboxings, reviews and tests. Z Flip4 sales shot up 32% week-on-week post-campaign.


Japan | Gold, Design Lions

‘My Japan Railway’ gamified rail travel for a nation.

__By tapping into traditional stamp culture rooted in temples and shrines, the work encouraged Japanese travelers to see all 47 prefectures – with woodcut-style stamp collectibles gained by visiting stations up and down the country by train. __

Since launch, more than 2 million stamps have been collected from those stations.


Kenya | Silver, PR Lions

Small local brand Zeva launched Kenya’s first-ever act of fashion activism on International Women’s Day 2023.

Challenging the country’s difficult history with period shaming – and supporting calls from more than 4 million Kenyans to punish it by law – the brand launched a limited collection that drew attention to stains, rather than hid them.

Sales rose 280%. But more importantly, period shaming penalties took a huge step toward becoming a legal reality across the country.

Ready to enter the Cannes Lions Awards?

Submit your work today – or if you need assistance, reach out to the Awards team.

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These submissions are just three of thousands that successfully used cultural context to tell stories from across the marketing world.

You can explore them all and create better with The Work. Home to the world's best work, insights, and outcomes. All in one place.

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