Cannes Lions 2017: MailChimp wins Cyber Lions with name mix-up

Droga’s MailChimp campaign has won one of the 3 top Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes this year.

The “Did You Mean MailChimp?” campaign reimagined the brand name in playful and creative ways.

The campaign, which launched in January, invented the names MaleCrimp, MailShrimp, KaleLimp, FailChips, VeilHymn, SnailPrimp, JailBlimp, WhaleSynth and NailChamp, and included all sorts of wacky ads and activations paid off with the line “Did You Mean MailChimp?”

The work was originally inspired by the girl who mispronounced MailChimp as “MailKimp” in the introduction to the podcast Serial in 2014.

The agency collaborated with Riff Raff Films and British directorial duo The Sacred Egg on the unbranded one-minute spots, each of which dreams up a bizarre scenario riffing on a mistaken version of the brand name.

In “Mail Shrimp,”a shrimp sandwich croons to a mail boy about his hopes and dreams. “Jail Blimp” sees a little girl freeing tiny prisoners from a blimp pinata at a birthday party, while “Kale Limp” features dogs made of kale providing the ingredient for a romantic dinner.

The films are part of a wider integrated campaign taglined “Did You Mean?” that centers on the fact that people (apparently) regularly mispronounce the MailChimp name or get it wrong, and, according to the agency, aims to position MailChimp as a “beacon for not blending in.” They are running in select theatres in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta, among other cities, and will also air on television starting Feb. 20.

The MailChimp campaign was one of three Grand Prix awarded this year. And it was the one that the jury recognized for being the year’s best example a full-blown campaign with digital at the centre.

“We really looked at … what does a major mass campaign look like these days? How do you reach people? How is that constructed?” said jury president Colleen DeCourcy, chief creative officer at Wieden + Kennedy. “We looked for something that you could truly say had Cyber at its core, and that we felt did the job of any mass campaign you could possibly think of. It did it creatively, with charm and wit, and the style of the medium in which it rode.”