News & Views

Cannes Lions / PR winners

by Alex Jenkins

The PR jury has awarded this year's Cannes Lion Grand Prix to Always' #LikeAGirl campaign, via MSLGroup New York and Leo Burnett Toronto.

Lynne Anne Davis, regional president at FleishmanHillard who headed up the jury, said that there was consensus for the Grand Prix being LikeAGirl as 'It marries brand promise with brand purpose and commercial pursuit. It is the very best example of a brand inserting itself into popular culture because it didn't just speak to girls. 

It hit a chord with everyone: women, mothers, fathers. Everyone in every single culture. It spoke to a cultural truth that transcends boundaries.'

Davis outlined that the jury agreed on three key criteria when it came to how to judge the awards: filtering entries by a very high degree of creativity; creating earned trust through influence and authenticity; measurable change in terms of changing behaviour, lives, policies and the way societies are operated and governed. However, the commercial realities of a campaign took priority. She explained: 'One of our key criteria was measurable impact. We gave societal impact as bonus points after sales impact.'

Contagious spoke to Lynne Anne Davis to find out if the jury felt a sense of expectation, given the amount of pre-Cannes chatter predicting that #LikeAGirl would be a runaway success. 'Because we had criteria since the very first time we got together, the Golds represent those criteria. When it came to the Grand Prix, it met all of the criteria in the most meaningful way. It went further, faster, longer, deeper than any other piece of work this year.'

A further 17 campaigns were awarded Gold Lions, including Contagious favourites Clever Buoy from Optus, The Gun Shop from States United to Prevent Gun Violence and Burger King's Proud Whopper. Volvo's Interception campaign, via Grey New York, which had already scooped the Direct Grand Prix, also took home a Gold.

Overall, there were a record 2,000 entries to the category, with 50% of them coming from PR agencies, up from 30% in 2013 and 40% in 2014. Similarly, last year just a third of all awards were won by PR agencies, whereas this year saw more than 50% of all awards going to PR agencies.

Davis also spoke about how PR thinking has evolved dramatically to meet the needs of an audience that has 'never been more accessible but never more distracted'.

For the story of how #LikeAGirl came to be, check out our Insight & Strategy interview with Leo Burnett's Judy John.