Cannes Lions

Cats and Pandas

215 McCANN, San Francisco / MICROSOFT / 2019







Minecraft is a game that is almost a decade old. In a world where a new games launch regularly, Minecraft keeps players engaged by introducing new features and creatures to the game. We were asked to help introduce two new characters to the game that had never before been in Minecraft - cats and pandas. The goal was to excite the player community about the new characters, enough to get them talking about it with their player friends.


To announce the super-colossal, world-altering arrival of cats and pandas into Minecraft, we told the (heretofore) untold story of what took them so long to get in the game, on the smallest of scales.

The tale of an ancient nap-off gone horribly wrong played out across handcrafted sets with puppets and props, translating the blocky aesthetic of Minecraft into scale miniatures.

As a further extension of our Build a Better World brand campaign, Minecraft and Microsoft matched the millions of bamboo stalks that players fed to Pandas in-game with a donation the World Wildlife Fund.


Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the world, and the only one without instructions. Players have built a community to build and share experiences. The goal was to excite players about an in-game update that added cats and pandas - two characters that were not only new to the game but also have never been known to be friends in the real world. We set out to show how Minecraft can truly bring everyone together to Build a Better World.


The Minecraft Cats and Pandas film took months of work to craft miniature scale models that maintained the essence of the iconic digital world, adapted into an entirely new, real-life space. We synchronized music and voice-over storytelling to exacting camera paths to simulate in-game parallax using a variety of in-camera techniques -- from mirrors and pulleys to a dozen animators pulling strings and rubber bands just out

What resulted was a fun, imaginative long-form film that debuted at XO18, an Xbox event, on November 10, 2018. It thereafter ran on owned and operated digital channels.


Cats & Pandas surpassed the benchmarks set by the previous year’s campaign in the same time-frame with 80% less paid media. This included:

- 4x Organic social reach

- 5x Social engagement

- 6x Video views in paid and organic channels

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