History made as Saudi Arabia wins its first ever Cannes Lions Grand Prix


Wunderman Thompson Saudi Arabia‘s ‘Subconscious Order‘ campaign for HungerStation has won the Grand Prix in Creative Commerce at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2023.

It is a historic festival for Wunderman Thompson as the global network also took home a Grand Prix in Innovation, marking it the first time Wunderman Thompson has won two Grands Prix in one year.

Combining innovative thinking and cutting-edge technology, ‘Subconscious Order’ is an app which taps into the subconscious mind to help the user decide what food they’re most in the mood for – eliminating the frustrations of decision fatigue that we all know so well when trying to pick food.

In fact, according to a study by Seated, as quoted by the New York Post, the average adult spends around 132 hours a year looking at menus online.

Saudi Arabia

‘Subconscious Order’ is designed for customers of HungerStation (Saudi Arabia’s version of Doordash or Deliveroo) and uses the camera on a mobile or desktop along with in-app eye calibration and vision AI to track the user’s eye movement.

It then uses topic modelling AI to organise food options and present an instant report of what the eye lingered on the longest, to reveal the subconscious craving – generating a list of local restaurants where HungerStation customers can then order the food they desire the most.

Rayyan Aoun, ECD for Wunderman Thompson KSA said: “This is a truly historic win for both Cannes Lions and Saudi Arabia, as it is the first time a campaign from the Kingdom has won a Grand Prix – one of the most prestigious awards for creativity in the world.

“As the first – and still the leading – food delivery app in the Kingdom, HungerStation is a pioneer in its field. It feels fitting then, that, along with Wunderman Thompson, our innovative campaign has won a Cannes Lions Grand Prix – a groundbreaking achievement for Saudi Arabia.”

The inspiration behind the work stemmed from a study from The Biology of Belief by Dr Bruce Lipton, that found ‘the conscious mind can only process 40 bits of info per second. While the subconscious mind can process information up to 500,000 times quicker.’

That prompted the team to ask: “What if we help people connect better with their subconscious mind, and let it find the answer they’re looking for”?

Jason Carmel, Global Lead, Creative Data at Wunderman Thompson, said: “We are incredibly proud to have been part of such a momentous occasion and to have worked alongside HungerStation to deliver a powerful tool which is not only forward-thinking and smart, but that also taps into a genuine desire for the decision-making process to be simplified.

“This technology signals a step towards the future of ‘Zero UI’ interfaces, whereby users control a device through their voice, movements, glances, or thoughts.

“But it’s not tech for the sake of tech, it also addresses a need to cleverly address decision fatigue and help people with an important decision – choosing dinner!”

Commenting on the work, Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Jury President of the Creative Commerce Lions said the campaign: “turns transactional into emotional, and solves a pain point about choice overload which drives discoverability of new foods and places to order”.

“In today’s world, brands have to apply meaningful value in order for people to offer use of their facial data, and ‘Subconscious Order’ did this beautifully.

It’s a wonderful example of AI being applied to commerce and is a bold, brave way to change the user experience, which is no mean feat.”

The Cannes Lion 2023 Grands Prix wins mark yet another successful year for Wunderman Thompson, as the agency received the first ever Creative B2B Grand Prix for its ‘Speaking in Color’ campaign for Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings in 2022, and received the Innovation Grand Prix for Degree Inclusive, the world’s first inclusive deodorant built with people with visual impairment and upper extremity impairment in 2021.

Wunderman Thompson was also named Cannes Lions Most Innovative Network in 2020/2021.