Gender Equality, Push Against Discrimination Among Cannes Lions Themes
Volvo's "The E.V.A. Initiative" won the Creative Strategy Lions Grand Prix honor.
  • CANNES, France
  • --

On day 3 of the Cannes Lions, gender equality and pushing back against sex discrimination were themes that emerged in award competitions, prime examples emerging in the Creative Strategy Lions and the PR Lions.

In the former, the Grand Prix was bestowed upon “The E.V.A. Initiative” for Volvo automobiles from agency Forsman & Bodenfors, Gotenberg, Sweden. “E.V.A.” stands for Equal Vehicles for All, the point being that women are 71 percent more likely to be injured in car accidents--and 17 percent more likely to die. This is due primarily to most vehicle manufacturers basing their safety measures on male test crash dummies. Volvo has bucked that norm and introduced an initiative to share its crash test research to help other automakers produce safer cars.

Creative Strategy Lions jury president Tracey Follows, founder, Futuremade, said: “Starting from one hereto unobserved data insight about how women in the world were catered for, it transformed how we saw the whole world and gave a fresh take on safety to refresh and reinvigorate Volvo.”

The Creative Strategy competition--which celebrates how strategic planning can redefine a brand--drew 848 entries, with 22 Lions being awarded: 3 Gold, 7 Silver and 11 Bronze.

Meanwhile the PR Lions Grand Prix recipient too struck a blow for women’s rights. The winning entry was “The Tampon Book: A Book Against Tax Discrimination” for The Female Company, by Scholz & Friends Berlin. The work was created in protest against the unfair taxation of feminine hygiene products, still considered luxury goods and taxed at a higher rate in Germany.

PR Lions jury president Michelle Hutton, managing director, global clients for Edelman, commented, “We are proud to have chosen ‘The Tampon Book,’ a book designed to highlight tax discrimination. At its core we believe it is a perfectly formed public relations campaign--from conception of the idea, to the impact it delivers. It represents a modern take on communications combining creativity and the art of PR. It is a call out to the creatives of the world to show public relations has some of the most interesting challenges. It demonstrates that a campaign that sets out to change law can be ‘super-powered’ though creativity.”

In the PR Lions, which celebrate the craft of strategic and creative communication, 1,857 entries were received and 55 Lions awarded: 6 Gold, 22 Silver and 26 Bronze.

From gender equality we go to racial equality as work conceived towards that end topped the Creative Data Lions.  The Grand Prix was awarded to “Go Back to Africa,” for Black & Abroad, by FCB/Six Toronto. The work helped to reframe the way people think about Africa, by creating a platform that displaces the hate surrounding the racial slur “Go Back To Africa.” Creative Data jury president, Yasuharu Sasaki, head of digital creative and executive creative director, Dentsu Inc., Japan, said: “In this digital age, there are a lot of negative data like fake news, privacy violations, or hate messages. The Grand Prix winner tackled this issue with a bold and impactful way. It changes negative messages into meaningful contents. It created a new community with the power of data and contributed to the culture.”

In the Creative Data Lions, honoring the interplay of ideas and information, 429 entries were received, and 13 Lions were presented: 1 Grand Prix, 2 Gold, 4 Silver, and 6 Bronze.

Burger wars
Burgers were hot in the Social & Influencer Lions and Direct Lions competitions. For the latter, the Grand Prix was presented to “The Whopper Detour” for Burger King by FCB New York. The work created an app enabling people within 600 feet of one of the 14,000 McDonald’s locations in America to unlock a deal for a 1-cent Whopper.

Direct Lions jury president Nicky Bullard, chairwoman and chief creative officer, MRM McCann, said: “Our Grand Prix was completely brilliant--‘completely’ being an important word. It had everything. Targeting, amazing execution, a clear call to action and results. On top of that it’s one of the most audacious campaigns any of us had ever seen.”

In the Direct Lions, celebrating targeted and response-driven creativity, 2,005 entries were received and 42 Lions awarded: 1 Grand Prix, 5 Gold, 12 Silver, and 24 Bronze.  

Honored with the Social & Influencer Lions Grand Prix was “Keeping Fortnite Fresh” for Wendy’s by VMLY&R Kansas City. The work saw the fast-food chain going after fictional rivals on Fortnite, which highlighted the fact they use fresh beef.

Social & Influencer Lions jury president PJ Pereira, co-founder and creative chairman, Pereira O’Dell, said: “Wendy’s doesn’t try to sneak into anyone’s life, doesn’t try to attract the audience or even invite them to do anything. It just joins the audience and minds its own business. Simple, resourceful, funny, and incredible. This idea made us smile and stood out, not only because of its unpretentious sense of humor (something very refreshing in this world of brands taking themselves so seriously), but also because it made us all realize we still have so much to learn.”

In the Social & Influencer Lions, which laud creative social thinking and strategic influencer marketing solutions, 1,519 entries were received and 47 Lions awarded: 1 Grand Prix, 7 Gold, 14, Silver and 25 Bronze. 

Rounding out the day’s proceedings was the Media Lions competition, the Grand Prix going to Nike’s “Air Max Graffiti Stores” from AKQA, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Media Lions jury president Karen Blackett, OBE, WPP UK country manager and MediaCom chairwoman UK & Ireland, WPP, explained that the work demonstrated brand bravery, benefiting the brand and the community. Blackett described it as “a brilliant piece of work that tapped into local culture with ecommerce intertwined with geo fencing to create a new store opportunity--the media is the message. Great creativity, partnerships to make the media idea come to life and a brave client with phenomenal results.”


Client Volvo Agency Forsman & Bodenfors, Gotenberg, Sweden


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