Cannes Lions: Brand Experience & Activation winners 2019 

Microsoft scoops a Grand Prix in Brand Experience & Activation for facilitating inclusivity in gaming. 

The Brand Experience & Activation jury today awarded their Grand Prix to Microsoft for its Changing The Game campaign, created by McCann New York.

Microsoft-owned Xbox recently launched the Xbox Adaptive Controller to cater to the needs of gamers with disabilities. The gaming device serves as a base on which a number of extensions can be added to fit a variety of special needs. The product also comes in packaging tailored to be opened by people with limited mobility.

To promote the new product while emphasising its commitment to inclusivity, Microsoft aired a two-minute film during the Super Bowl 2019 illustrating how the controller had improved the gameplay of several young gamers with special needs.

According to McCann New York, Microsoft's Changing the Game campaign generated $35m in earned media while earning the brand a 246% increase in social voice. The agency’s case study video also said it was the ‘#1 most effective Super Bowl ad’.

‘This project not only transforms the relationship people have with the brand but has a disproportionate impact on their lives,’ said jury president Jamie Mandelbaum, chief creative officer at VMLY&R EMEA. ‘Video games enable us to do incredible things yet these kids found yet another limitation in this new reality. Microsoft's controller not only levels the playing field but generates a completely different relationship between them and their peers.’ 

Mandelbaum also said that brands are no longer what they say they are or promise to be, but are the sum of the parts of the experience they provide to people. 

‘Microsoft’s work goes completely beyond changing the relationship between the brand and consumers and that’s why we chose it as a Grand Prix,’ he added. 

Gold lions in this category were awarded to:

Clear / Guinness / AMV BBDO, London

ThisAbles / IKEA / McCann Tel Aviv

Perussian Prices / Plaza Vea / Fahrenheit DDB, Lima

StorySign / Huawei / FCB Inferno, London

The E.V.A Initiative / Volvo Cars / Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg

People Are The Places / Aeroméxico / Google, Mexico City

Billie Jean King Your Shoes / Adidas / TBWA New York

Paving For Pizza / Domino’s Pizza / Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boulder

Legal-Ade / Kraft Heinz / Leo Burnett Chicago

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