President’s Playlist: Favourite Entertainment Lions

Jae Goodman, CEO of Observatory and Entertainment Jury President for 2021 shares his top ten favourite pieces of work from the Entertainment Lions over the years, with insights on why these pieces are powerful, original examples of creativity that turns content into culture.

5B, Johnson & Johnson

Such a powerful expression of a brand’s higher purpose. Most of us think of Johnson & Johnson as Band-Aids and baby shampoo, if we think of them at all. This film changed that. I wish it had a bigger audience and campaign built around it, especially in light of healthcare workers’ roles in the world at this very moment, endangering themselves while caring for us all.

Broadway the Rainbow, Skittles (Mars)

I assumed pre-Cannes Lions that this was an Entertainment Grand Prix contender. Dig beneath the on-brand silliness of the idea, and what you find is an incredibly complex endeavor; a brilliantly self-referential take on the world of advertising, and an insurgent piece of Super Bowl marketing, perfectly executed. Watch the full case study and a good chunk of the performance itself (and prepare to be singing the refrain for weeks afterward).

The Displaced, The New York Times

A brilliant evolution of old-world to new-world media. Dissenters say it was just a content company creating content in a new form. In my opinion, the New York Times turned this into marketing by packaging one million Google cardboards with the Sunday Times, thereby using the content to re-position themselves as modern media. To me, this is entertainment as a brand extension.

Uncle Drew, Pepsi

A perfect case study in brand entertainment. Pepsi developed and launched the idea through a digital series. With that series’ wild success as proof of concept, Pepsi then commissioned a script and sold it to a top-shelf Hollywood studio, Lionsgate, for production and distribution. This is brand entertainment at the highest level.

Rise: House of Mamba, Nike Basketball China

Chinese work, in general, is under-represented in the Lions Entertainment medal count, perhaps because global juries miss the cultural context? With “Rise,” Nike and Kobe Bryant rose above that.

Love in the End, Lacta (Mondelez)

Lacta Chocolate from Greece has consistently created breakthrough entertainment. This link has multiple years of brilliance, including a feature film that was the biggest film of Valentine’s weekend. If Lacta were a better-known brand globally, I believe one of these campaigns would have won a Grand Prix. I bet they have one in their future.

Unseen Stars, GE

GE has its own Entertainment Lions “Greatest Hits’ including the Podcast “The Message” and VR series “The Possible” but this is by far my favorite —perhaps because I just happened to walk into Grand Central Station the day that it launched. Everybody was staring at the ceiling like it was the Sistine Chapel. True story.

The Beauty Inside, Intel/Toshiba

Complex and nuanced storytelling is difficult enough let alone on behalf of a technology brand.

House of Little Moments, Uni-Noodle

As the title suggests, it is the subtlety that makes these stories special.

Cultivate A Better World, Chipotle

I was torn about including our work on the list, but not so torn as to leave it off! It’s here for all of the people who brought this work to life – our clients at Chipotle, many, many Observatory, and CAA Marketing colleagues and partners – and for the work’s (ahem) 4 Cannes Lions Grand Prix and 22 Cannes Lions.