News & Views

Cannes Lions / Promo and Activation Awards

by Contagious Team

Brazilian football club's donor drive wins top prize matching emotion to effectiveness

Ogilvy, Sao Paulo's poignant organ donation campaign, Immortal Fans, for football club Sport Club Recife picked up the top gong for Promo and Activation at the Cannes Lions festival, one of a trio of purpose-driven campaigns that won the biggest prizes.

Tasked with tackling the endemic shortage of organ donors in the country, Ogilvy came up with the novel idea of creating a donor card for the club's fans, effectively linking their organ donation to an extended, after-death support for their football team. The agency marketed the card with TV spots featuring real people needing organs (more in the full case film above). 

The piece saw a staggering 54% rise in donations, 51,000 people signed up for cards, and the waiting list for some transplants went down to zero

Jury chairman Rob Schwartz, global creative president of TBWA, said the tough brief, and real solution to a big problem that demanded a huge amount from people, won through in judging. 

After five days of judging, three pieces came to the fore, said Schwartz. Immortal Fans beat out the otherwise unstoppable awards force that is Dumb Ways to Die from Metro Trains via McCann Erickson, Melbourne; the agency had to settle for two Golds instead. Similarly Dove's moving Real Beauty Sketches scooped two Golds for Unilever and Immortal Fans agency Ogilvy, Sao Paulo. 

Schwartz told journalists that on the 60th anniversary of the Cannes Lions festival he'd tasked the jury with finding work that was iconic. And, for the Grand Prix, work that would stand the test of another 60 years, that was 'both timely, and timeless'. 

One trend that permeated was an increasing complexity of campaigns that allowed a 'choreography of thought, leading to deeper communications,' said One Advertising SVP creative director Karen Howe. Co-creation, added Schwartz, was 'thankfully gone', although he hurriedly added that this had been replaced by less gimmicky and more thoughtful executions. On a more superficial level, vending machines and hidden camera stunts meanwhile were more prevalent, said Howe. 

Echoing trends Contagious identified last year, juror Arno Lindemann, chief creative officer of Lucas Lindemann Rosinski, said brands and agencies were also moving away from advertising into creating services and hardware: really effective solutions. 

Fellow jury member, Crispin Porter + Bogusky's VP ECD Mark Taylor, added that brands were experimenting with product evolution, changing and altering their goods. He called these 'truly PR ideas' that reached people far more directly. 

On the negative side, too many campaigns led with technology and flashy case studies rather than a real idea or human insight, said one juror. 

Click here for the full list of winners.