Cannes Lions judge reveals three tips to cracking the Festival of Creativity’s social code


80% of Gold and Grand Prix winners from Cannes Lions’ 2021 Social & Influencer category involved Twitter in their campaigns. 1

Alex Josephson, Global Head of Twitter Next and Cannes Lions judge, shares the trends behind some of the brands that shortlisted, medaled, and won by starting with Twitter.

1. Provoking participation to connect with communities

Burger King: #StevenageChallenge

“#StevenageChallenge was designed for the video game FIFA 20 but made waves on Twitter,” explains Burger King’s creative agency, David.

The agency had the foresight to sign an endorsement deal with Stevenage F.C., the English Football League club with the absolute worst record. The sole intention was to hack the Burger King logo onto the jerseys of football’s most famous players in the world’s most famous video game, FIFA 2020.

Awarded the Grand Prix for Social & Influencer: Sponsorship & Brand Partnership, the meticulously engineered stunt incentivized FIFA gamers around the world to share their in-game goal highlights — donning the Burger King branded Stevenage jerseys — on Twitter in exchange for free menu items. Striking gold within the cultural sweet spot of #GamingTwitter and #FootballTwitter, Burger King saw more than 25,000 videos shared on Twitter.

The partnership amassed over a quarter-million global impressions and $2.5M in earned media. Ultimately, it led to selling out of Burger King-branded Stevenage jerseys worldwide with sales in France, Brazil, Germany, United States, Mexico, China, Russia, and Spain.

Amazon: #AmazonBingeShopping

Shortlisted for both Social Commerce and Single-Market campaigns, Amazon France created international fanfare with their attempt to steal market share from streaming competitor Netflix. Netflix is the undisputed category leader in France as Amazon Prime Video, at the time of this campaign, had 40K followers versus Netflix’s 2.7M. Amazon crafted a never-before-seen experience surrounding the season two launch of the series “Jack Ryan.” 

In France, 70% of Prime members are unaware that their membership also gives them free access to the Prime Video platform. So, Amazon invited fans to Tweet pictures of products seen on screen in “Jack Ryan” episodes with #AmazonBingeShopping and a link to the product for a chance to win it.

This first-of-its-kind activation drew the attention of Twitter’s first-to-try, first-to-buy, streaming-happy audience. Within 24 hours, it sparked more than 5K #AmazonBingeShopping Tweets and trended number one on Twitter France.

As a result, it generated 30M impressions on Twitter while driving an increase of views on Amazon Prime to the tune of 160% — and more than 50 press mentions worldwide in the days that followed. Not to mention, the boost in the number of free trial Prime memberships.

Wendy’s: Super Wendy’s World & Spicy Profiles

The Wendy’s Super Wendy’s World strategy took home a Gold Lion for Audience Targeting/Engagement Strategies and a Silver Lion for Innovative Use of Community by integrating their iconic Wendy’s mascot into an array of high-profile gaming environments.

Through a masterfully orchestrated community management effort, Wendy herself appeared in everything from “Minecraft” to “Animal Crossing.” She invited fans to compete with her, to play as her, and to engage in a series of on-brand, in-game activities in exchange for menu discounts and delivery promotions.

While Wendy rose to the top 1% of all Twitch streamers, the dining brand also was shortlisted twice in the Social & Influencer category for its Spicy Profiles activation. Wendy’s offered to redesign the Twitter profile pictures of fans, brands, and even competitors with a comically rebranded Wendy’s look and feel.

Wendy’s revamped so many Twitter profiles throughout the duration of the campaign, they exposed their brand to an estimated 30M incremental followers.

They also saw a 9% increase in their “4 for $4” menu sales as a result (one of the brand’s most successful value promotions of the year).

2. Listening carefully to launch loudly

Oreo: Doomsday Vault

Twitter conversational insights are known to influence everything from a brand’s customer service strategies to its product development. For Oreo, it was a single Tweet from a loyal fan that inspired their next unmissable ad campaign that would take home a Bronze Lion for Real-time Response.

Within the span of a few weeks, Oreo went from observing an obscure Tweet from a fan to building an actual vault in permafrost region Svalbard, Norway, to house and protect a supply of Oreos from the pending arrival of asteroid 2018 VP1.

What started on Twitter led to a full-fledged multi-platform marketing activation yielding more than 40 pieces of custom content and 178K engagements in just five days. It was coupled with 415 media placements all of which drove 78M impressions across outlets including Ad Age, Adweek, Fox Business, CNET, Food & Wine, and more.

3. Being unapologetically you

Vita Coco: Out-Trolling The Trolls

Understanding your brand voice and having a willingness to bring your full self to Twitter will rally support for your company in unthinkable ways even if it takes you to places you never expected.

When Vita Coca’s community manager was being trolled on Twitter, her response was unique.

In the end, Vita Coco not only won over new fans on Twitter, but the entire Internet — generating 1.3B media impressions along with a 37% increase in sales — all on a budget of zero dollars. It earned the brand a shortlist nod for Real-time Response in Cannes.

Popeyes: #ChickenWars

When Popeye’s launched their new chicken sandwich on Twitter and drew some good-natured competition, they knew exactly how to respond in a manner that would stay true to their Louisiana roots and brand voice. Simultaneously, they resonated with loyal fans and communities on Twitter. What may have originally seemed like a simple Quote Tweet ended up sparking an eruption in conversation and advocacy behind the Popeye’s brand, led most notably by #BlackTwitter.

The buzz accelerated at such an unprecedented rate, it catapulted well beyond the Twitter platform and into the cultural mainstream and national news coverage. It created a groundswell of demand for the new chicken sandwich which consequently sold out in record time with a 300% lift in store traffic, the most ever for the brand.

In addition, Popeye’s response earned 8B impressions worth $87M in earned media which was the company’s best sales ever at +42% along with Silver Lions for Retail and Audience Targeting/Engagement Strategies, and a Bronze Lion for Real-time Response.

Twitter Next is a team of strategists, technologists, designers, and producers who partner with marketers and agencies to create ideas worth talking about on —and beyond — Twitter. Whether you’re launching something new or trying to connect with what’s happening in culture, our team is here to help you understand conversational trends and audience behaviors that inspire new, creative uses of Twitter.

1: Cannes Lions Gold and Grand Prix 2021 Social & Influencer data sourced via, June 2021

Related Content