5 Cannes contenders you've probably never heard of

Keep an eye on these deserving Cannes entries that might not be on your radar.

It’s just two weeks until Fearless Girl starts raking in Cannes Lions with her tiny bronze fists. Glass in one hand, Outdoor in the other, maybe a Titanium at her feet? Meet Graham isn’t pretty, but Clemenger BBDO Melbourne is surely dusting off some space on the shelf, too.

But not every entry at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has garnered headlines, and some have gotten less attention than they warrant. Here are five Cannes contenders to keep an eye on this month.

One Book for Peace –  Y&R and New Moment Belgrade for the Interreligious Council of Bosnia & Herzegovina

The Balkans have earned their reputation for intractable divisiveness. While the region has been wracked by ethnic conflict, religious differences only inflame tensions. But are Christianity and Islam, the two main religions in the Balkans, all that different? 

Two religious scholars, one Christian and one Islamic, and a journalist set out to show just how similar they are. The result is The One Book, a tome that lays out the fundamental principles of each religion side by side. "Today it is so much easier to stir up hatred and intolerance rather than to create and build positive steps. That's why the One Book is a unique challenge and an invitation for us to rise together as 'the one' against the pestilence that threatens the only future we have," said author Mirnes Kovac.

Quest to Legoland— VML, Media Monks, and The Zoo at Google for Legoland

Road trips with kids can be a nightmare if parents aren’t prepared with an array of activities and distractions. But families headed to Florida now have a slew of fun options to keep cranky kids occupied. Lego’s free app uses GPS to make the trip itself a game. 

"Instead of the traditional step-by-step navigation made to assist and reassure adults, this GPS was designed so that kids can see exactly where they are in relation to Legoland, and learn about a ton of stuff along the way," said Craig Elimeliah, MD for creative technology at VML. The app is preprogrammed with thousands of landmarks kids can track as they pass by and trivia customized to any route to Legoland.

As American As — SS+K for Fusion

Apple pie is quintessentially American, but so are diversity and acceptance. And censorship. When Fusion tried to showcase the American diaspora in all its forms, Philadelphia’s transit system rejected an image of a drag queen, and a shot of gay men kissing was refused, ostensibly because it showed men’s nipples.

"To modernize an old adage seemed a great way to show how we as a brand accept our country's rich diversity of ideas and behavior," said Bobby Hershfield, chief creative officer at SS+K. In response to the censorship, the agency created another billboard showcasing the "objectionable" images.

Bullet Hole Transplant — Energy BBDO for Off the Street Club

Gun violence plagues Chicago, but only some parts of it. To bring the reality of the situation to the rest of the city, Energy BBDO excised real bullet holes from windows at the Off the Street Club and set them up as art installations by Chicago landmarks.

"This bullet hole is from one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America, located just miles from here," read a plaque at Tribune Tower.

Signed by Steve — KBS for Answer ALS

Former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason has been battling the degenerative disease ALS for years. Rather than give up, he founded Answer ALS to search for a cure. And to raise money, KBS and Microsoft created a way for him to sign NFL memorabilia with the only part of his body he can still move—his eyes.

"The point of the campaign is to show what Steve is able to do even though he only has the use of his eyes, and what his friends are going to do to help him," said Deb Maltzman, creative director at KBS. "We wanted to use his video as a way to launch this auction and say, ‘Hey, I just signed a jersey with my eyes. What are you guys going to donate to change the game for ALS?’"

This story first appeared on campaignlive.com.

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