In the CaNNes — 2019 Review

In the CaNNes — Our Top Picks for 2019

Another year, another flood of creativity, smart thinking and amazing experiences coming out of the 2019 Cannes Festival of Creativity.

At Neonormal, we really get into the Cannes Lions. Every year we create our shortlists, form our internal jury panels, open a few beers, make some popcorn and host a little rooftop Cannes Film festival of our own — complete with heckling and heated debates. It’s basically our Oscars Party.

So we’re sharing the tradition with you again. Welcome to the annual Neonormal ‘In the CaNNes’ — 2019 Edition!

Emma, Dan and Joel have rounded up their favourite shortlisted entries below, in three categories — Innovation, Design and Brand Experience & Activation. Here are the ideas and experiences that won over our creative team this year…


1. See Sound \ Wavio + Area23


See Sound is a new way to help people who are hard of hearing understand the sounds around them at home.

The mobile app — enabled by machine learning through a collaboration with Google to identify everyday sounds — notifies users of normal and abnormal sounds in and around the home (like a crying baby or a fire alarm) and sends text-based notifications to their smartphone.

Behind its beautifully simple design, the device is powered by an AI-learning model (trained using the sound data of more than 2 million YouTube videos) and can detect 75 different sounds.

“Excellent creative problem-solving — using Youtube as a data source to mine the sound samples required for the technology to be super accurate. Minds and machines working in harmony to improve the lives of people living with hearing loss.”

Emma Holder, Senior Designer
Emma Holder

Senior Associate Creative





2. The Tampon Book \ The Female Company


In Germany, there are luxury goods (like caviar, truffles and oil paintings) that are sold with a 7% tax. Yet tampons incur a 19% tax.

To right this imbalance and change the antiquated laws behind it, The Female Company decided to hide their tampons inside a book (which is only sold with the 7% tax) and cleverly sidestep the legal system.

Not only was this a smart way to get their product into the hands of their consumers and create passionate brand fans, but The Tampon Book itself is full of bold illustrations and strong messages of empowerment — educating, inspiring and subverting with every page. All this, while demonstrating the power of a good book — showing that the medium still carries gravitas to change policy and provide agency for over half of the population.

“Some of the most provocative movements in history came about by subverting authority, and this project manages to openly engage with both sides of power: those that wrote the rules; and those that have the power to change them…”

Dan Pike, Environment Designer
Dan Pike

Art Director, Environments





3. UberToys \ Uber


For Christmas (I’m already onboard!) in 2018, Uber tackled their dwindling user sentiment by bringing a bit of magic back to the drive across 3 European cities. They recreated 6 iconic toy cars and sent them out on the streets to give lucky riders the drive of their (childhood) dreams.

They hit the nostalgia sweet-spot, leading to huge boosts in sharable moments and awareness out on the roads. But more importantly, a unique and memorable customer experience was the message.

Uber Toys is by no means revolutionary. We’ve all seen a deals-on-wheels activation, giveaway car or pop-up truck. Even Uber themselves have successfully leveraged novelty rides before. ‘Toys’ was an effective stunt campaign, yes. But it worked so well because it utilised Uber’s greatest double-edged sword — the experience of the drive itself — to capture their audience’s imagination, make them feel something and move them to engage.

Now, if I could just request a 1974 Blue Rodger Dodger for my next ride share…

“While there were many clever campaigns and PR stunts vying for this year’s Brand Experience & Activation Lion, few of them were actually built around the tangible experience of the product, service or brand itself. UberToys doubled down on an activation that worked because their audience could physically experience it.”

Joel Cogger, Senior Associate Creative
Joel Cogger

Creative Director