Lionel Messi May Have Just Saved The Mobile Lions

The steady decline in the entries for the category had put its future at Cannes Lions into question but the quality of work this year may be a great save

The Mobile Lions category was introduced at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2015 to reflect the growing presence of the medium in communication and marketing. Over the last five years though, the entries in the category have seen a steady decline. From over 900 entries in 2018, the category saw only 348 entries in 2023,  a drop from 543 entries last year.

Last year, Cannes Lions in consultation with jurors redefined the category to be more specific and keep up with the changes in the space itself. 

“I will be candid, we considered whether this category will continue and that would depend on the results and experience this year,” says Simon Cook, the CEO of Cannes Lions.

The jury experience this year however has been positive and some of the winning work reiterates the role that mobile can play in effective brand communication and reaping results. “We have seen the evolution of the category in real-time,” says Shannon Washington, the US Chief Creative Officer of Connected Communication for R/GA US, who was also the Jury President for the category this year. 

“We have seen the difference in the kind of work and much of this has to do with the redefinition of the category. The Grand Prix winner, PediodasYa’s World Cup Delivery was essentially a text message. It was a surprise to me personally. It is the kind of work that makes people happy,” Washington says. 

As Argentina won the FIFA World Cup, PediodasYa tracked the plane bringing the players and the trophy back to the country and the food delivery app used this to send a text notification to its users ‘Your order is on the way’. The panic from an order not being made to realising that the message was for tracking the trophy’s travel back was a pleasant surprise for all Argentinians, bringing significant returns back to the brand at zero media cost. The agency was Gut Buenos Aires.

“As creatives, we sometimes forget to applaud the work that makes you happy. This was one such work. And the bravery to sell an idea like this to the client for a mobile media native technology is something to learn from as well,” says the jury president.

She explains that while the decline in the number of entries was true, the quality increased significantly. “It was not as if what was left of the budget was put into mobile but a marked difference in the kind of work entered could be seen,” Washington informs.

In all 12 Lions were awarded in the category this year. Publicis Conseil’s work for Renault Plug Inn and AKQA’s ‘Transparency Card’ for Congress O Em Foco were the Gold Winners in the category.