Kaepernick billboard does it for Nike in Outdoor awards


Nike and Wieden+Kennedy Portland’s iconic ‘Believe in Something’ billboard, featuring NFL star Colin Kaepernick, was the unanimous choice of the Cannes Lions Outdoor jury as their Grand Prix winner.

Jury president John Patroulis, also chief creative officer of Grey, said the simple static image secured the top prize despite being up against “incredible work… including immersive outdoor experiences that people even paid for.”

The billboard’s power derived from the fact that it showed Nike’s willingness to stand alongside black NFL players taking part in the league’s controversial kneeling protest. The brand stuck to its position despite seeing a drop in its share price and experiencing calls for a boycott by some sections of US society.

Patroulis said the jury was looking for “simple, well-executed work that was perfect for the brand and elevated the space it was in. A key filter for us was the idea that outdoor advertisers are not invited into public space. So they need to contribute to their environment, not detract.”

Like his fellow jury presidents, Patroulis praised the diversity of his jury, saying “it’s why we got to where we did.” There were also Gold Lions for eight campaigns, including Nike’s arch-rival Adidas.

Harriet Palmer