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Time Tunnel: food and drink

A journey through seven decades of brand creativity

To celebrate the work of previous generations of fearless marketers and creative visionaries, we take a look back through Cannes Lions winners from previous years, and discover that creative bravery isn't a new phenomenon.

created on Wednesday 29 Mar 2017

To celebrate the work of previous generations of fearless marketers and creative visionaries, we take a look back through Cannes Lions winners from previous years, and discover that creative bravery isn't a new phenomenon.

Food and drink brands have been regular winners at Cannes since the 1950s. Records that far back are incomplete, but it appears the first food brands started winning Lions in 1955, just a year after the Festival launched. 

Elsewhere in the world, 1955 was the year of the first Guinness Book of Records, Walt Disney released Lady and the Tramp, and a very young Jim Henson built the first incarnation of Kermit the Frog. It was also the year in which Shippams - a UK meat and fish paste company - became one of the first food or beverage companies to win a Lion (for animation). Proof, if any were needed, that creativity can be found even in the most mundane products. 

Here's our tour of Lion-winning food and drink brands through the decades...

1969: Pepsi

Nino, by Pepsi
Nino, by Pepsi
Grand Prix Cinema Lion, 1969 (Argentina)
Argentina's Macdonald Publicidad S.R.L took home the Grand Prix Cinema Lion with this charming film in which a small boy struggles with a large bottle of Pepsi. We never get to see what happens to the enterprising tyke after he's downed a litre of fizzy pop, but we're guessing the results weren't great. 

1979: McDonalds

Mary Ryan, by McDonalds
Mary Ryan, by McDonalds
Gold Television Lion, 1979 (USA)
Also won:
  Diploma - Actor Television Performance
This tale of young love in the 70s, complete with a Carly Simon-soundalike song composed especially for the film did well for Needham Harper & Steers and McDonalds, scoring them at Gold Television Lion. The actress playing the eponymous Mary impressed the Lions judges so much, they awarded her the 'Television Actor Diploma', and accolade which doesn't seem to have been given out again. 

1988: Heinz

Margaret, by Heinz
Margaret, by Heinz
Gold Film Lion, 1988 (UK)

This does of political satire from Young & Rubicam for Heinz Beans at the height of the Thatcher government is arguably braver than most brands would consider today. Judges appreciated the double ententre gag and gave this a Gold Film Lion. 

1990: Nestle

Ping Pong Lady, by Sunkist California Pistachios
Ping Pong Lady, by Sunkist California Pistachios
Gold Film Lion, 1995
This sort of clip - eccentric person doing eccentric things for the camera - can be found all over YouTube these days, but back in the 90s this simple slice of the bizarre captured the imagination of the Film jury. Chiat/Day took home a Gold Lion for this, and a Silver Film Lion for another execution (called Sound Toner) in the same series.

2007: Four'N Twenty

Magic Salad Plate, by Four'N Twenty

Magic Salad Plate , by Four'N Twenty
Gold Promo Lion, 2009
Four'N Twenty had a great Cannes in 2009 when it took home three Lions (two Golds in Promo and a Bronze in Direct). Proof that you don't have to be a glamorous product to succeed creatively, this was the year Clemenger BBDO Melbourne made meat pies creative.

2015: KFC

Drumstick, by BBDO Malaysia 
Gold Outdoor Lion, 2015
KFC and BBDO Malaysia enjoyed a lot of success with several executions in this outdoor campaign, taking home seven Outdoor Lions (three Golds, four Silvers). Other foodstuffs to receive the same graphic treatment included 'French Fries' and 'Burger'.  

Every year the Cannes Lions speaker programme features brave CMOs and pioneering brands. Nothing hearing these stories live on stage. Find out more about this year's line-up here or find the perfect Cannes Lions experience for you in the Pass Picker

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