News & Views

Cannes Lions / The Glass Lion Winners

by Chloe Markowicz

A tea brand from India has won the 2016 Glass Lion Grand Prix for creating the country’s first transgender pop group.

Brooke Bond Red Label Tea’s 6 Pack Band campaign was designed by Mindshare Mumbai to end the stigma surrounding transgender people in India. Even through transgender people in the country technically have equal rights by law, they are still ostracised from society and suffer from restricted access to education, health and public spaces.

The Hindustan Unilever tea brand’s transgender pop group released several songs, including a version of Pharell’s 'Happy' that has picked up more than 1.9 million views on YouTube since January 2016. These tunes were available on music apps and via mobile phone operators.

The Glass Lion category, which launched last year, was devised to award campaigns that positively impact ingrained gender inequality, imbalance or injustice. In the Glass Lions press conference on Monday, jury president Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, was emphatic that the Glass Lion is about addressing issues of gender inequality, rather than only prejudice or discrimination against women.

‘We prioritised work that could shatter gender stereotypes by examining all aspects of discrimination, marginalisation and types of bias,’ she said, explaining the jury's criteria. ‘Gender inequality is not just a women’s issue. ‘We looked at the discrimination that all genders face.’

Philip Thomas, Cannes Lions CEO, concurred, ‘The Glass Lion for Change has been launched to address gender issues full stop, that means all genders.’

Di Nonno explained that the Glass Lion jury was looking to award campaigns that were authentic, relevant and showed a brand’s power to affect social change by focusing more on an issue and less on product. There were 151 entries in the Glass Lion category, but the jury choose to award the 6 Pack Band campaign because of its message and impact. Di Nonno explained that impact was in fact the most important factor in the jury’s decision and that all the work awarded embodies this.

She commended the Grand Prix winner in particular for being ‘incredibly inventive’. Di Nonno pointed out that the brand is 113 years old and the jury was impressed that a brand that was that established, and was a household product, was embracing transgenderism and combatting gender norms. ‘It speaks to our humanity,’ she said of the campaign. ‘It hit all the checkmarks that we could possibly want for a Glass Lion.’

The jury awarded Glass Lions to five other campaigns and Di Nonno singled out Procter & Gamble’s and BBDO India’s #DadsSharetheLoad campaign for being pragmatic and well scaled. The other Glass Lion winners were: Kafa’s Legally Bride via Leo Burnett Beirut, SK-II’s Marriage Market Takeover via Forsman & Bodenfors Gothenburg, Make Love not Scars’ Beauty Tips by Reshma via Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai and Diageo’s Never Alone via AMV BBDO London.

The Glass Lion press conference ended with a discussion about gender inequality within the advertising industry and the power that advertising has to affect change. Di Nonno said advertising was the ‘original storyteller’ and called it ‘one of the most powerful mediums in the world’ when it comes to influencing popular culture. ‘Media is the only industry that can literally change the world overnight,’ she said. ‘It’s the only business sector in the world that can change the mind of a consumer immediately.’


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