The Digital Craft Lions Grand Prix winner: a case study

How a piece that "confused the jury in the most interesting way" illustrates the purpose of the Cannes Lions Awards
Virtue Copenhagen’s ‘AdDress The Future’ for Norwegian clothing brand Carlings picked up the 2019 Grand Prix for Digital Craft, with Jury President Rei Inamoto calling it ‘the most intellectually stimulating piece of work in the entire category’. Here, we dive into the story behind the work and explore why many who judged it believed it was a great example of a Cannes Lions winner.

The Lions exists as a creative benchmark for this industry. ‘Standard candles’ that let others assess their own work in their light. They serve to highlight emerging trends and to spark conversations. And because companies enter from all around the world, the winners also provide a chance for people to see work from outside their own territory that they might otherwise have missed. Finally, because Cannes Lions honours applied creativity, the pieces that win also demonstrate exactly how bold ideas can deliver incredible business results.

In 2019, one campaign emerged as a perfect example of everything the Lions are built to celebrate: ‘AdDress The Future’ by Virtue Copenhagen. The work was created in response to a brief from Norwegian retail brand Carlings, as they prepared to open their first webshop. They wanted an idea that would create traffic and market share for an average webshop in a giant ocean of e-commerce.

"It was magical, memorable and groundbreaking"
Rei Inamoto, Founding Partner, IxCo
The agency’s solution was bold and innovative. They decided to re-imagine the idea of an online shop, moving the category from being 10 years behind, to be 10 years ahead of its time. To do this, Virtue leveraged mobile photo meta-data to create a digital collection that customers could purchase and have customised by a digital tailor so the could be used across social media. And because all the clothes were digital, the collection had no negative impact on the environment.
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On stage as he revealed the piece as a Grand Prix winner, Digital Craft Lions Jury President Rei Inamoto revealed that ‘AdDress The Future’ had sparked a lively debate during judging. In fact, he said that it was perhaps “the most intellectually stimulating” discussion he’d ever been part of in a jury room. The discussion happened because "the work confused the jury in the most interesting way".

"Why is it brilliant? It's not immediately obvious. It's gradually obvious... Yes it's for a specific audience, but the ambition this piece has is by far the biggest out of the winners we had."
Rei Inamoto, Founding Partner, IxCo
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Asking big questions of our industry

Later in the Cannes Lions week, Digital Craft Lions Jury member Christian Waitzinger, Vice President, Executive Creative Director at Publicis Sapient, provided a little more detail around the debate. He explained that the piece forced the jury to ask themselves big questions about the relationship between the physical and the digital world.

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For him, the work highlighted a new trend in how the attitudes of Millennial consumers is starting to have a profound impact on how retail functions. From this, the work prompted Christian and the jury to ask where this tension between the physical and the digital will end. “The fact that you still had to pay for the crafting” was interesting for the jury, and suggested that this piece was simply “the beginning of something… as it relates to our digital identity”.

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