Sweden takes a bite out of Cannes as McCann’s ‘Eat a Swede’ earns Entertainment Grand Prix
A provocative advert that confronts its viewers with cannibalism has been lauded at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, securing the Entertainment Lions Grand Prix and a first-ever win for Sweden.
The Entertainment category this year received 655 entries, 25 of which received Lions. The Grand Prix, however, went to McCann Stockholm’s mockumentary entitled ‘Eat a Swede’ for the Swedish Food Federation.
“I was mesmerized, disturbed, entertained, amused and hungry all at the same time!" commented Maria Garrido, Entertainment Lions jury president and global chief marketer at Vivendi France.
The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.
Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.Sign up
McCann's 18-minute mockumentary opens on a scene of forward-thinking business man with questionable ambitions, who's seeking to cultivate lab-grown human meat and bring it to market as "Swede meat." In an effort to advance the product, the entrepreneur reaches out to Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård for his meat, but his request falls on deaf ears.
He brings in a group of individuals to try his product during a blind taste test. Once they taste the food before them, they're told they're eating human meat. The response is of course one of resounding disgust — one person spits out a bite, while another is left speechless before walking out.
"I believe that you are what you eat, and if you take Swedes, for example, [they] are, in general, quite righteous people," he says. "We love being out in nature, we care about the environment, we try to stay fit and eat healthy food..."
The film, which premiered last November, is undoubtedly satirical. But it's what the businessman says that underscores the campaign's real message: the global population is expected to reach 10 billion people by 2050, and with it, the planet’s food demand will skyrocket nearly 100%. As such, the time to act on climate is now, and Sweden is ready to lead by example.
“We need to speed up, all of us: farmers, producers, retailers, consumers. The more we share and cooperate, the better,” chair of Swedish Food Federation Lars Appelqvist said on the campaign’s website. “If we work together, we will succeed — and not a single Swede will have to be eaten to do it.
The Cannes Lions Festival is back after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. It will run through June 24.