The Grand Prix for Good Lions 2014: four categories of socially-focused branded efforts

Cannes Lions, one of the most respectful events in the advertising and media domain, has unveiled major winners in 18 categories, spanning from traditional Media, Design and Film Lions to Innovation, Product Design, and  Grand Prix for Good Lions. The last category’s winner and contenders as well as trends and niches they stick to are detailed below.

The Grand Prix for Good category debuted in 2012 together with the Film Craft, as a response to the rise of socially benefitting campaigns, powered with technology and marketing genius, across the globe. There were 32 contenders in 2014, with most works submitted by Brazilian and US agencies (5 in each country), followed by the UK (3 entries) and New Zealand, Australia and Argentina (2 each). The implementation ranged from digital campaigns and street ads to product design.

From 30+ finalists entries in this category, the jury have selected just one Grand Prix Winner—Terre des Hommes’s “Sweetie” online initiative developed by the Lemz agency from the Netherlands. This pro-bono effort was initiated to fight the threatening and dynamically growing spread of webcam child sex tourism. The agency approached the children’s aid organization to create a computer model, Sweetie, that looks and moves like a real 10-year girl—all to attract pedophiles from across the globe. Using basic personal info the virtual rapists provided, the technology helped to track them down. In just two months, the team behind the project helped identify the first 1,000 predators and in late 2013 they handed over their dossiers to Interpol, initiating the new era of fast and effective battle against online sex tourism.

The themes of the contenders’ entries range from recycling and climate change to gender equality and amnesty. In general, the entries fall into for major categories—the works illustrating them are featured below:

Environmental twist/Clean water conservation

Landor designed Central Park Conservancy Receptacles, innovative trash containers for NYC’s Central Park that get seamlessly integrated into the park’s background. They are inspired by its visual heritage, feature fewer pets, help reduce the number of compacting trucks in the park area and also help make hand collection easier and more efficient.

350 Action’s Climate Name Change suggested the public to name natural disasters after policy makers and politicians who deny climate change and do nothing to help stop it. Instead of having nice people’s names, hurricanes and severe storms should be called after real people (with both first and family names) who actually could help avoid the disasters, but didn’t do this.


The Heaven Night Shelter’s The Street Store by M&C Saatchi Abel Cape Town is a great example how donations of  used clothes can help restore dignity of the homeless. This effort is based on an open air pop-up store that featured stylized cardboard hangers—any passer-by could hang their old clothes onto them and any homeless person could pick the apparel piece he or she liked from there, not from dirty trash bins.

Bischöflicheshilfswerk Misereor’s project “The Social Swipe” by Hamburg-based Kolle Rebbe offered people in Germany a simple and illustrative way of making a donation to address common social problems in developing countries. To contribute to the social effort, passers-by were encouraged to swipe their plastic card across a special PlaCard and literary cut a slice of bread or cut the binding ropes of contemporary slaves with a piece of plastic.

The Colegio Las Lomas Oral’s “Raising Voices” effort by Ogilvy&Mather that aimed to raise money to teach deaf kids talk, got the children sing the Argentinean anthem in order to raise money. All national radio and TV channels in Argentina are to start their daily transmissions at 00.00 with the broadcast of Argentina’s National Anthem, all performing rights royalties go to the singers—kids in this case.

Depaul UK launched a new cardboard boxes business to spread the word about homeless people who actually use the boxes as their home. The “Don’t raise money, make money” effort got the charity producing and selling boxes for home movers that featured the philanthropic message on the cardboard canvases.

Waterislife’s adorable and tear-jerking “Bucket List” video tells the story of a little Nigerian boy aged 4, who wants to complete his bucket list in limited time to do fast what most of things people do during the whole life. The idea of the film is that 1 in 5 children in the country don’t reach the age of five because of unsafe water, and by donating money to the non-profit, people can give more years of life to the kids in the region.

Support for people with disabilities

The “If Only for a Second” project for MIMI Foundation by Leo Burnett featured 20 women with cancer who were made to forget about their illness for a few seconds. They participated in a project that involved a team of professional make-up artists and hair stylists—during the transformation stage, the women kept their eyes shut. They could open them after the work was finished—a photographer captured the moment of sheer surprise and happiness, that substituted the bad thoughts for a couple of bright seconds.

The “Bald Cartoons” project focuses around the fact that kids who are going through cancer treatment and go bald feel the pressure of the society because they look unusual. The effort by Ogilvy Brazil transformed cartoon heroes, removing hair from their heads to help kids feel more “like others.”

The initiative “Project Daniel” is focused on bringing prosthetic 3D printed arms for children of war-torn Sudan. The initiative features a custom-made on-site 3D printer that gives a new upper limb to kids that lost their arms during the war conflict. The cheap and effective production scheme made it possible to teach people in the region to create the prosthetic arms themselves even after designer and innovator Mick Ebeling left.

Social equity, safety and protection

30 Freedom Candles designed for Amnesty International Freedom symbolize various human rights injustice—as they melt, a symbol of hope gets revealed. The candles were auctioned to support the organization and people it helps.

“Most Shocking Second a Day Video” reveals a story of a girl whose life has dramatically changed because of war in a year. Every day was represented with just one second, so the video that explains what war does to children is a compilation of 365 seconds of the tragedy.

The Ungiven Gifts project for Transport Accident Commission by Grey Melbourne raised awareness of car accidents. The ambient installation featured 209 Christmas presents that were never given because the recipient-to-be died in the road ahead of the holiday. The haunting effect was reached by painting the objects white and putting them onto white boxes along with white burning candles and a heart-tearing story.

There are four major trends spotted in this year’s Grand Prix for Good entries:

1. Do it yourself. When it comes to donation activations, people in need are encouraged to solve their problems themselves, be creative and pro-active, do not wait for anyone to come and find the way out. Contributors are also inspired to look around for the way to help, not wait until someone shows it.

2. Celebration of being different. Diversity is what this world has and will have, but which is still not really accepted by the society. Many of the projects highlighted the simple joys that people still have even in tough life situations.

3. Insights into real stories. Suicide notes, documentary films, notes attached to ungiven presents, story of a kid who may not celebrate his 5th anniversary or a girl whose life has changed in just one year of war, children photos of military men—all this hits an emotional chord and draws people closer to those in need.

4. Responsive environmental solutions that meet several practical goals. For instance, Waterbook educates people on dirty water dangers & purifies water, bins in the NYC Central Park both have smart eco design and reduce the number of trash tracks rides in the park.