HOW WE “STOLE” $160.000.000 FROM CANNES LIONS IN 3 DAYS?
The story started when Quynh had to run around asking to share a Cannes Lions Live account with an HR lady at the agency where she was soon to be a Junior Copywriter. Then we jumped on many calls in order for us to view and discuss all shortlisted and winning cases that made it to the festival in 2021.
This was unnecessarily a lot of effort, and it bugged us to think about how many cash-strapped and hungry creatives out there are going through the same hardship.
So we ended up compiling all Lions-winning cases in a Google Document that was shared across our home country, Vietnam, and it spread like wildfire. And we went bolder: constructing a global and permanent website, LoveTheWorkMore.com, that saw more than 80,000 visitors in 150 countries in the first 3 days. The name is a dig at Cannes Lions which owns the URL LoveTheWork.com.
THE REST WAS HISTORY.
✓ 140,000+ unique visitors from 150+ countries until now, and was most famous in Brazil (Obrigado, amigos).
✓ Featured on Adweek. Then Adweek again. Then Adweek again.
✓ Offered to display the idea in Times Square. For free.
✓ Got Cannes Lions to free their archive to all creatives under 30 globally.
✓ An ex-employee of Cannes Lions told us we did a good job.
✓ Contacted by Atlantic New York, Grey New York, Ogilvy London, Wunderman Thompson Singapore, R/GA London, TBWA Auckland, McCann Bucharest, Impact BBDO, FP7/McCann Dubai, AndUs Dubai, TBWA\Raad, MullenLowe Dubai, and TBWA\Chiat\Day LA.
✓ Won 0 awards, but millions of hearts.
Creative team: Quynh Tran, Toan Mai.
OUR CURRENT SITE
Here’s a little crazy story of how we got to where we are today.
On June 28th, 2021, we started to fuck with Cannes Lion.
Got tremendous positive reactions from the whole industry overnight.
Had to throw our phones away.
. . . . especially this guy:
…. And Cannes reached out to us:
We jumped on a call together with her and their Managing Director, smiled, and negotiated to open up their archive for free permanently to all students and creatives under 30 in the world – in exchange for us taking down our content and replacing it with a tiny “manifesto” addressing this compromise.
They said yes. Quite historic that they did.
We switch to this new look.
This billboard is not a mock-up. It’s real. Live. In Times Square. We didn’t pay a single penny on it. Love you Matei Psatta (Co-founder & CMO TPS Engage).
But things started to get ugly. As soon as the truce with Cannes Lions went live, we received tons of mixed reactions, and floods of complaints from students and Young Lions – those who were promised to be the “exceptions” for the free access to the Lions archive. Here’s the reason: in order to claim that access, those who are deemed “qualified” for it had to submit rounds and rounds of impossible-to-acquire documents, while a simple Student ID could have easily done the job.
Lots of young creatives eventually gave up and turned to us to ask if we could, in any way, grant them secret access to our original Google Docs where all the links are, though taken down from the site, still saved.
Out of frustration and disappointment, we acted on impulse and created a backup site for LoveTheWorkMore, but sheltered it right under Quynh’s portfolio – with a discreet way to reach.
And this sudden move from us was once again brought into Cannes Lions’ attention, driving them to request to jump on yet another call with us. And it was not a pleasant one. At all.
We made it very clear in this conversation how disappointed we were with the way they intentionally made it extra challenging for Young creatives, and in a desperate attempt, we once again proposed to stop all the madness we had been creating IF they agreed to rethink their decision and opened everything free of charge for creatives of all ages.
They said no. Because they are not a charity.
So we made our final call: Let’s split ways from here.
Finally, a happy ending for everyone (probably not for you-know-who).