Cannes Lions honours AB InBev with 2023 Creative Marketer of the Year

  The world’s leading brewer is awarded for a second consecutive year, the only brand to achieve this in the history of the Festival
The award recognises AB InBev’s sustained creative excellence that has driven sustainable business growth

16 March 2023 – Cannes Lions has announced that it will honour Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) as Creative Marketer of the Year for a second year in a row. The honorary accolade is presented to a marketer that has amassed a body of Lion-winning work over a sustained period of time, and has established a reputation for producing brave creative and innovative marketing solutions.

AB InBev is the first brand in the Festival’s history to be honoured with the award for two consecutive years after embedding creativity at the heart of their business. Simon Cook, CEO, LIONS, said, “AB InBev have raised the bar once again and embedded a culture that ensures continued success is inevitable. This win bucks the trend and demonstrates an on-going commitment to creativity as a driver for growth.” Their published business results show that AB InBev has achieved an all-time high in sales volume in 2022 as well as brand power. 

After years of driving growth through economies of scale, cost efficiencies, and mergers & acquisitions, in 2018 AB InBev embarked on a journey to develop a creative excellence programme and set a five year strategic goal to improve their creative marketing capabilities and drive organic revenue for the business. This programme saw them introduce an embedded, sustainable system and culture that put creative problem solving at the centre of their business – leading to organic growth and improved creative and financial performance including all-time high full-year volumes for FY22.

At last year’s Cannes Lions, AB InBev won an outstanding 49 Lions – 1 Grand Prix, 10 Gold, 19 Silver, 19 Bronze – across 10 brands and from seven countries. The Grand Prix was in the Creative Effectiveness Lions, the award that recognises effective strategy rooted in creativity that drives sustainable business impact over time. ‘Contract for Change’ was said by Jury President Raja Rajamannar to go “above and beyond – it is disruptive, game-changing and has impact lasting into the future”. 

Cook added, “AB InBev’s commitment to creativity and the role it plays in business value creation is further supported by the clear buy-in from the company board, including CEO Michel Doukeris, which has been critical to their success. They’ve also scaled, using the best practice established in the US as a blueprint for their approach across other markets. All of this has delivered incredible business results, and the fact that they now use the number and breadth of Lion wins as a core measure of success shows just how powerful creativity is in driving progress.”

Speaking about receiving the award AB InBev’s Michel Doukeris, said, “This is truly unprecedented to win such a prestigious award two years in a row. It is a testament to the creativity of our entire marketing organisation and the relentless focus on connecting in meaningful ways with consumers. Investing in organic growth is our number one priority and this recognition of creativity further demonstrates our brand building excellence.”

AB InBev will be honoured at the final Awards Show of the Festival on Friday 23rd June. Additionally, their seminar, taking place on Monday 19 June, will democratise their learnings for the good of wider industry growth, breaking down their five year journey and sustained success.

This year, Cannes Lions is offering a Creative Brand Marketer Pass. Exclusively for brands, the pass is designed to help brand marketers learn how to unlock creativity with learning opportunities, insights and exclusive networking invites. Additionally, LIONS, the global benchmark for creativity, and WARC, the authority on marketing effectiveness have launched Creative Impact – a co-curated stream of content aimed at marketers that will run every day and across multiple stages as part of Cannes Lions. Attendees will learn how to apply creative effectiveness in their own work amid a challenging climate for marketing budgets, as well as how to tackle the urgent need to prove the role creativity plays in supercharging sustainable commercial growth.