Beyonce's 'Formation' Music Video Wins Grand Prix at Inaugural Cannes Lions Entertainment for Music Awards

Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage For Parkwood Entertainment
Beyonce performs during "The Formation World Tour" at the Citi Field on June 7, 2016 in New York City. 

Beyonce can now add the Cannes Lions’ most prestigious honor to her awards shelf: her music video for “Formation,” surprise-released in February, took home one of two Grand Prix Lion Awards at the inaugural Cannes Lions Entertainment for Music, awarded Friday night (June 24.)

“Formation” was the top winner in the highly competitive Excellence In Music Video category, which shortlisted 13 music videos on Thursday and awarded eight with prizes on Friday. Other honorees included Silver Lion winners “Voodoo In My Blood,” by Massive Attack feat. Young Fathers; “Luminous Freedom” by New Build and “Blackstar” by David Bowie; as well as Bronze Lion winners “Hello” by Adele; “Runnin” by Naughty Boy featuring Beyonce & Arrow Benjamin and “Wide Open” by the Chemical Brothers featuring Beck.

Beyonce isn’t the only member of the Carter family with a Cannes Lions Grand Prix under their belt: in 2011, Jay Z took home two -- from the Integrated and Outdoor Lions -- for Droga5 and Bing’s “Decoded” campaign, which hid all 320 pages of Jay Z’s autobiography in 13 cities across the globe.

Though “Formation” doesn’t represent the typical Grand Prix-winning campaign in that no corporate brand was attached, Grey Group’s evp-director of music Josh Rabinowitz, jury president of Lions Entertainment for Music, argued that the video’s re-positioning of Beyonce’s personal brand was just as powerful. “[You have] the biggest artist on the planet taking serious risks,” Rabinowitz said in a press conference earlier in the day, announcing the winners. “This is a mainstream pop artist pushing the limits on the way we perceive things of race in culture, and the perception of women in culture.”

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Lions Entertainment for Music’s other Grand Prix winner was German supermarket Edeka’s “Time To Come Home,” scored to singer Neele Ternes’ affecting song “Dad,” which took home the top honors for Use of Original Composition for a Brand or Campaign. The holiday-themed commercial, created by Hamburg-based Jung von Matt, is centered around a grandfather who fakes his own death in order to bring his family together for Christmas. The campaign’s twist ending went viral in December across the globe, with coverage from outlets like USA Today, Fortune, NBC’s Today and CNN

Other winners among the 30 Lions for Music categories include: Gwen Stefani, Deutsch LA and Target, whose estimated $12 million live music video at the Grammys won a Silver Lion for Artist Associated Stunt or Activation in Partnership With a Brand; Grey New York and the NFL’s “Super Bowl Babies Choir,” set to Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose,” which won a Gold Lion for Best Music/Brand Partnership; Justin Bieber and SB Projects’ “What Do You Mean,” awarded a Bronze Lion for Use of Social/Digital Platform; Beats By Dre and R/GA Hustle’s “Straight Outta Compton” social campaign, with a Silver Lion for Use of User Generated Content; Usher and AKQA Sao Paolo’s “Don’t Look Away,” which took home the Gold Lion for Excellence in Interactive Music Video; And Haley Reinhart and Energy BBDO's commercial for Extra Gum, "The Story of Sarah and Juan," which featured the American Idol alum's cover of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love With You" and won a Silver Lion.

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More than 700 entries were submitted for the first Entertainment Lions for Music, and winners spanned more than 15 countries. In addition to Grey’s Rabinowitz, the Music jury included Roberta Medina, vice president of Brazil’s Rock in Rio; Omar Johnson, chief marketing officer of Beats By Dre; Olivier Robert-Murphy, global head of new Business, Universal Music Group; Prasoon Joshi, chairman of McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific; Toshihide Kimura, creative director of Japan’s Dentsu, Inc.; Paul Brazier, chairman and chief creative officer of the UK’s AMV BBDO; Marcie Allen, president and founder of MAC Presents; and Peggy Walter, VP, director of celebrity services at Leo Burnett.

A full list of winners is available here.

Andrew Hampp is a vice president and music experiential and sponsorship agency MAC Presents.