Digital disruptors will have pride of place at the Cannes Lions, where online giants will receive two major awards. Google will be honored as the Creative Marketer of the Year, while Spotify is to be crowned Media Brand of the Year.
Jose Papa, managing director of Cannes Lions, says Google has “crafted a reputation for marketing campaigns that are bold, courageous and creative.” The tech company has won 127 awards at the Lions, including Grand Prix honors for campaigns including NYT VR, Google Deepmind Alphago, Google Cardboard, Google Voice Search and Hilltop Reimagined for Coca-Cola.
Spotify, which launched 10 years ago and went public in April, has “transformed the way we engage with music,” according to Philip Thomas, chairman-elect of Cannes Lions, and CEO of its parent company, Ascential Events.
The streaming service, which has more than 170 million monthly users in 65 countries, has helped “reshape the future of media and transform how artists and brands communicate with their audiences,” Thomas adds.
Ek will accept the award on behalf of his employees. “I am energized daily by the creativity, bravery and passion our team brings to work,” he says. Spotify won six Lions last year for its marketing campaigns, including “Thanks, 2016 … It’s Been Weird” and “President of Playlists.”
Both Spotify and Google have had to deal with public relations challenges recently. Spotify suffered a setback over its policy against “hate content” following a backlash from the music biz.
“We rolled this out wrong and could have done a much better job,” Ek said at the Code Conference. Google recently decided not to renew a contract to undertake artificial intelligence work for the Pentagon — on a drone project called Maven — after opposition from thousands of its employees.