Qantas ‘The great crusade’ wins gold in first branded content award at Cannes, ‘Australia strong at non-fictional storytelling’

The great crusade, a campaign for Qantas by Wonder Sydney, has won a gold lion in the inaugural year for branded content at Cannes, which saw Australia win three awards and New Zealand claim two.

Avi Savar, founder and chief creative officer of US content shop Big Fuel said: “Some of the best work we’ve seen this week has come out of Australia, which has been particularly strong for non-fictional storytelling. The great crusade was a contender to win the grand prix in this category.”

“It was a perfect example of strong tactical execution in branded content. It showed how to drive and motivate audiences, not just in creating video but taking the idea offline through events,” he said.

Host’s Kiwisceptics campaign for Air New Zealand and a campaign for Jacob’s Creek by Melbourne independent shop CumminsRoss claimed a bronze each.

New Zealand won two lions in the category, with Special Group Auckland winning silver for The Smirnoff Night Project, and Colenso BBDO’s Skate Pinball claiming a bronze for Mountain Dew.

The US won the grand prix with Cultivate campaign for fast food brand Chipotle, which also won top honours in the Film Lions.

Savar noted: “The Chipotle campaign shows us that a brand can truly build itself around content. There was no moment in this work that talked about special offers. It was about an emotion connection with the audience that is true to the brand.”

Cannes festival CEO Philip Thomas commented on the new category: “The worst thing we can do is launch a category that is either too late or too early in its development. We decided that time is right for branded content. We thought we’d get 400 entries – we got 800.”


  1. Kay
    24 Jun 12
    2:59 pm

  2. Can we please draw a distinction between branded content that plays online to 200,000 people and branded entertainment series on network tv (in prime time) that attract a 1 million plus audience over multiple weeks who also sit thru traditional ad breaks?

    Totally different in my opinion.

  3. dch
    25 Jun 12
    5:06 am

  4. Awesome work for The Great Crusade, glad to see the recognition. Well done guys.

  5. max
    25 Jun 12
    8:58 am

  6. that qantas thing got gold and air nz got bronze? what the?

  7. Joe
    25 Jun 12
    9:05 am

  8. Great Crusade = Unfunny.

    Air NZ Skeptics = Answering a business problem in an engaging way

  9. WTF
    25 Jun 12
    1:32 pm

  10. Great Crusade…in name only.
    You must be joking…Gold?
    It deserved Brown.
    Views measured in hundreds for most of the films. Embarrassing…unfunny, lame and worst of all, chronically un-involving.
    The Jacob’s Creek Agassi spots were a far more deserving winner.

  11. archie
    25 Jun 12
    2:05 pm

  12. Great crusade was excruciating. Canne is a joke.