An Apple ‘Underdogs’ ad and Channel 4’s ‘Super.Human’ win 2022 Cannes Lions Film Grand Prix

Along with Apple and Channel 4's Film wins, a funny, ‘excruciating’ film for the Humane Society earned Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Good.

An Apple ‘Underdogs’ ad and Channel 4’s ‘Super.Human’ win 2022 Cannes Lions Film Grand Prix

U.K. broadcaster Channel 4's Paralympics film that corrected its previous flawed, award-winning messages and Apple's well-crafted product story that jumped on the "Great Resignation" earned the Film Grand Prix at the 2022 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. 

What the Grand Prix-winning ads were

U.K. broadcaster Channel 4’s “Super.Human” campaign promoting its coverage of the 2021 Paralympics depicted the multi-faceted struggles and joys of Paralympians’ road to athletic greatness. The idea showed the athletes with all their flaws and everyday frustrations, correcting the idyllic yet distorted of Paralympics—what some might describe as “inspiration porn” of the brand’s previous Grand Prix-winning ads “We’re the Superhumans” and “Meet the Superhumans.”

The film was created by Channel 4’s in-house agency 4Creative and directed by acclaimed cinematographer Bradford Young out of Serial Pictures and Somesuch. 

Apple earned a Grand Prix for the third episode of its ongoing “Underdogs” campaign, “Escape from the Office,” which saw a scrappy crew of entrepreneurial office workers come up with an exciting new product, partake in the “Great Resignation” and break from the shackles of their tyrannical boss. All the while, various Apple tools are put on full display, captured in-camera without any visual effects trickery.

The spot was created in-house at Apple and directed by Smuggler’s Mark Molloy. 

Why it won

Jury President David Lubars, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO Worldwide, explained that the criteria for selecting the winners were fairly simple: “I'm immediately filled with jealous rage and hatred for whoever did it. And then I’ll go from hating whoever did it to hating myself for not having done it. And then, I go to grabbing the first person I see and say, “You’ve gotta see this,” and that all happens inside of 10 seconds.”

Joking aside, Lubars noted that the jury was proud of the films selected because “this is really work that sells products, and we are here to move clients’ business.” The work was entertaining as well, and in the case of the Apple film, “If they turned it into a show, I’d tune in every week,” Lubars said. 

Gold winners

As for other contenders, the jury awarded eight Gold Lions. Apple continued to score with the comedic “Detectives” spot and the “Shot on iPhone” Chinese New Year film “The Comeback” promoting the iPhone 13 Pro’s cinematic capabilities.

The daring Norwegian Postal Service  (Posten Morgen) film starring a gay Santa from Pol Oslo earned Gold, as did art collective Meow Wolf’s bizarre “Convergence Station” film from Wieden+Kennedy Portland.

Also honored were Heineken’s surprising post-pandemic film about vaxxed seniors living it up, as well as Samsung’s “The Spider and the Window” ad from Leo Burnett Frankfurt about an adorable spider and its unexpected crush.

A pair of charity ads also took gold: Change the Ref’s “The Lost Class” from Leo Burnett and the Humane Society’s jarring animated tale about a bunny with a dark backstory.

The Grand Prix for Good

"Save Ralph" also earned this year’s “Grand Prix for Good,” awarded to the year’s top campaign created for a charity. The Humane Society tapped director and writer Spencer Susser to create the stop-motion animated film that shows the effects of animal testing along with a cast of celebrity voice talents including Taika Waititi as Ralph the rabbit, Ricky Gervais and Olivia Munn. 

The Titanium jury selects the Grand Prix for Good from among the Gold-winning charity campaigns that won throughout the week. “We went into it thinking there was only one clear winner, but that’s the power of juries,” said Titanium Jury President Rob Reilly. “This piece of work—your minds are going to be blown. The craft and writing are incredible. It’s so jarring, so seductive.”

“It was literally a head-snapper,” added Lubars. “You can’t not watch, and yet it’s excruciating. We purposely gave it Gold so it would make its way to Rob’s jury.”