Cannes Lions 2024 recap: Brett Colliver

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Cannes Lions 2024 recap: Brett Colliver

Brett Colliver, chief creative officer at Dentsu Creative represented New Zealand on the Cannes Direct jury. Here, Colliver shares his final thoughts on some great campaigns that didn’t quite make the top, exclusive to CB.


For 3 days during the Cannes Lions, on the upper floors of the Palais, you’d have found 10 jurors discussing and debating the Direct category. For the duration of judging we were all sworn to secrecy and definitely maybe adhered to it.

By now, however, everyone knows the results so I’m going to assume it’s safe to reveal some specific insights that came from the room. If it’s not safe, well I suppose I’ll end up in the Cannes equivalent of a shallow grave in the desert. Perhaps I’ll be entombed under one of those lovely sand sculptures on Croissette Beach. Could be worse…

Anyway, rather than rehash the big winners though, I thought I’d shine a little light on some great pieces that didn’t quite make it to the top.

Below are just three pieces of work, but I could honestly talk about plenty more. Rather than ramble on though, I’m going to pull together a deck of learnings specifically from our Direct category. If you’d like to hear more, whether you’re a marketer, a creative, or just someone who stumbled onto this site, drop me a note at and I’ll let you know as soon I’ve got them ready.

Doritos Silent ‘The World’s First Ai Augmented Snack’ by Pepsico And Sips & Bites London

This campaign rose to Silver but I’d love to have seen it take Gold. To me it stood out amongst the gaming entries because it went so far beyond just making a piece of tech for gamers.

That’s where most gaming ideas seem to stop, which limits their interest to that community. What I loved about this campaign was that the tease phase made the idea way more visible to the mainstream. Things like billboards and TV ads mean that even non-gamers can be brought into the joke.

By comparison, Sprite also had a great idea that saved streamers from being banned from platforms when they swear. There are some similarities, in that it prevents gamer’s audio causing problems, but to me Doritos feels much bigger because of the way they promoted it way beyond the world of gaming

Stream2Sea ‘Reef Relief’ by McCann Demand, London

This is a potentially huge idea. What held it back in our room, however, was the fact it doesn’t yet have the mass distribution, nor the time it needs, to actually help reefs.

At our jury president’s request, we held back on awarding ideas that are great “proofs of concept”, but need time to take effect.

In fact, he jokingly suggested Cannes needs to start awarding “Frozen Lions”. An idea like this would receive a “Gold Frozen Lion”, which the creators can unfreeze and win in two, three, perhaps even ten years, once the product is on shelves around the world and is really starting to work.

And Reef Relief wasn’t the only idea that landed in this space. “I think it’s a Frozen Lion” actually became a rather common phrase within the walls of Auditorium G.

Uber Eats ‘Horror Codes’ via Rethink, New York

I’m guessing this idea will look very similar to a lot of people in New Zealand. That’s because in September last year Special did exactly the same idea, but for the Rugby World Cup with Uber Eats ‘Cliché Codes’.

I’m not sure if the rugby version was entered in Direct, but it wasn’t in the room in Cannes so unfortunately we couldn’t judge it. But it was definitely discussed and carefully considered.

The verdict was that both campaigns came out within mere weeks of each other, and given ‘Horror Codes’ had to have been in negotiation with the film studios for a chunk of time, there’s no way they copied each other. It was just one of those bizarre situations that happen at awards shows sometimes.