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Time tunnel: alcohol

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 explore creative bravery in the alcohol sector.

created on Wednesday 3 May 2017

Right from the very start of the Festival, alcohol brands have been major players at Cannes. Within the alcohol sector, beer brands perform extremely well, with brands like Heineken and Guinness scoring 117 and 63 Lions respectively. In fact Heineken is, to date, the only brand to take home the Creative Marketer of the Year award twice - once in 1995, and again in 2015. 

Here's our pick of seven decades of alcohol advertising from the Cannes Lions winners archive...


See the full credits in the Cannes Lions Archive
Serie Rouge, by Vin du Postillon
Grand Prix du Festival, 1955
This arty film for Vin Du Postillon was made by Cinema et Publicite, and took home the Festival Grand Prix back in 1955. We think it was the first alcohol brand to win a Lion. 


See the full credits in the Cannes Lions Archive
Countryman, by Guinness
Category 19 2nd Prize, 1965
Sometimes known as 'Farmer', this campaign was by S.H Benson, which eventually ended up being acquired by Ogilvy & Mather. S.H Benson held the Guinness account for years, and to date is one of only five agencies to work for the brand. S.H Benson was also famous for coining the 'Guinness is good for you' phrase. The snappily titled 'Category 19 2nd Prize' is equivalent to a Silver Lion. 


See the full credits in the Cannes Lions Archive
Black Pot, by Guinness
Grand Prix Television, 1976
Another Guinness example here, this time from John Walter Thompson, who took over the account after S.H Benson. Behind the cheesy music, it's easy to how the trademark esoteric visual approach was already part of the brand's DNA from the 70's. 


See the full credits in the Cannes Lions Archive
Tiger's Head, by Cinzano
Gold Film Lion, 1983
Cinzano's series of ads featuring Leonard Rossiter, one of the most famous faces on British TV at the time, and Joan Collins were extremely popular with audiences. The series was produced by the highly regarded agency Collett Dickenson Pearce, albeit towards the tail end of its creative heyday. It would eventually become part of Dentsu. 


Cherub, by Smirnoff
Bronze Press Lion, 1994
This Bronze Press Lion winner for Smirnoff was produced by Lowe Howard-Spink. 


See the full credits in the Cannes Lions Archive
The man who walked around the world, by Johnnie Walker
Gold Film Lion, 2010
So although this technically should be in the 2010's section, we really enjoy the film craft at work here. And it came out in 2009, even though it was awarded in 2010. So it counts. 


See the full credits on the Cannes Lions Archive
Brewtroleum, by Heineken New Zealand
Titanium Lion, 2016
Turning beer into a selfless act of environmental heroism sounds impossible, but DB Export managed it by creating a biofuel from yeast leftover from the beer brewing process. By rallying its fans together to 'save the world' through drinking beer, the brand produced 300,000 litres of Brewtroleum, which was then sold on pump at 62 stations in New Zealand.


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