Highlights from the 2020 Golden Lion Awards
A night of celebration in Shanghai, honoring the best in video advertising.
The 4th edition of the Golden Lion International Advertising Awards was held in Shanghai bringing together some of the top talent in the Chinese advertising scene to celebrate the best video ads for TV, film, mobile and more awarding gold, silver and bronze statuettes in over 40 categories, covering a wide range of genres and styles.
The Awards were held as a strategic partnership between TVCBOOK, the leading video sharing platform for advertising professionals in China, China Advertising Magazine, and the Shanghai International Advertising Festival, hoping not only to pick the boldest and brightest spots from the past year, but also to showcase the increasing development and confidence of Chinese advertising. The Golden Lions are signaling that the region is moving away from traditional and well-tested formulas and maturing into producing increasingly more engaging and risky campaigns with an international outlook.
The awards also had the participation of the popular video platforms VPHOTO and BiliBili, which live-streamed the ceremony online, and marked the debut of Inspiration –a new app for sharing creative videos that is quickly increasing in popularity in the country–, as a tool for online voting, allowing viewers to choose the winners of the Audience Choice Award and other honors granted outside of the main competition (and letting them cast over 2.5 million votes this year.) Another new addition was the “Golden Lions Engage” broadcast, in which several of the winners were invited to discuss the ideas, stories and experiences behind their outstanding work. This was a welcome addition that allowed for the event to expand its audience
Above: This year the Golden Lion Awards included a variety of online activities and several new sponsors and partnerships.
The Golden Lions awarded more than 200 trophies –selected from 1,064 submissions– to brandowners, agencies, VFX studios, MCNs and many more, covering pretty much all the sides of the business. Some films received multiple awards in different categories while, from the first time ever, some categories were left void and did not award any prize as a decision of the Jury to guarantee a more stringent selection process for this and future editions.
During the opening remarks of the ceremony, Shen Hong, Vice President of the Shanghai Advertising Association, stressed the importance of the Golden Lions as a key component of an overall strategy to “promote the improvement of the level of production and creativity in China” and added that the event will definitely “keep playing an important role as a platform to let the world understand Chinese advertising.” Adding to these remarks, Lu Peikang, the editor of China Advertising, said that “moving towards internationalization” is a must for anyone hoping to contribute to the industry’s growth.
Referring to the impact of this year’s pandemic, River Wong, the founder of the Golden Lions, said on his address to the audience that although it has brought unprecedented challenges to creatives and advertisers alike, the industry is nonetheless starting to show signs of recovery “through strengthening its unique style of competitiveness” and that these difficult times have actually offered alternatives for growth “to those who can adapt and are really capable of standing out.”
Above: The ceremony took place at the Shanghai Bellagio on July 21
On the competition front, the short film Pujie’s Winter a collaboration between China Union Pay and the director Liao Yiyuan, was one of the biggest winners of the night, taking home the Golden award for best director and the Jury Prize. The film, which tells the story of a child poet and introduces a charitable effort by Union Pay to support young literary talents from impoverished areas, was highly commended by this year’s Jury President, Sheena Jeng, CCO of
McCann China, who hailed the film as a piece that “discusses universal values that transcend national borders and requires only empathy to be understood.” Other highlights of the night included the Golden award for best visual effects to the mesmerizing piece Transphere created by Polish studio Juice for the Japanese company Cinema Sunshine (one of the winning international efforts of the night), and the Bronze award for best breakthrough director that was given to Mai Zi for her stop-motion spot Elephant created for Huawei. Mai, who, in her own words, is a “very rare” presence in the industry as one of the few female directors working in China, expressed on her thanking remarks that although less than 15% of the workforce in Chinese advertising is female, her own award gives her great hopes for the future as internationalization and creative open-mindedness are allowing more female talent to “defy the rules and bravely pursue their dreams.”
Above: Director Mai Zi discusses her work “Elephant” and the challenges for female directors with Jury President Sheena Zheng.
The 2020 Golden Lion Awards ceremony was one of the few major events that managed to go ahead with its plans in spite of this year’s numerous challenges and its success marks an important moment for China’s advertising, displaying the industry’s resilience, its intent to continue welcoming a diverse range of creative work and its thirst for innovation.