Ladyballs takes a Silver Health Lion

Grey's ballsy work for Ovarian Cancer Canada bagged the country's first Lion at the 2016 Cannes festival. Here's why.


We have one Lion in the sack, folks. Grey had the “ladyballs” to nab the first prize for Canada at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, a Silver in the Health & Wellness category during Lions Health.

“We thought ‘Ladyballs’ was an awesome idea,” said Health & Wellness jury president and CMO at Omnicom Health Group, Joshua Prince. One of the things that stood out for him, and for much of the 17-person jury panel, was the idea behind the “power pose” that Grey created to support the Ovarian Cancer Canada campaign, which encouraged women to have courage (or “ladyballs”) to discuss ovarian cancer.

The “power pose” is a hand signal made by maneuvering a person’s hands to create a pose that denotes the female ovaries. Women were asked to take a photo of themselves with the pose, and state that “I have the #ladyballs help end #ovariancancer.” Prince also thought the immediacy and “shareable provocative language” made it sticky enough to be medalled.

“I think it stayed in Silver because, while the idea was very sticky and had a lot of discussion around it, I don’t know if it had the ultimate same level of stickiness that ‘Manboobs’ had,” he added.

The “Manboobs” campaign that Prince references (which has a fortuitously similar name, but in reverse) was created for Argentinian breast cancer charity MACMA, by creative agency David, and which took home multiple Golds.

The campaign addresses the restrictions of showing women’s nipples on social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram, by replacing the female body with a man’s, and using a woman’s hands, from behind, to demonstrate breast cancer detection methods on a man’s hairy chest and nipples.

“That won because of its infectious provocation,” said Prince.

As for “Project Consent,” a campaign by Juniper Park/TBWA for Project Consent that raises awareness for consensual sex and which was the only other Canadian campaign on the 2016 Health & Wellness shortlist — this did not medal at the show because some of the jurors felt that the “discussion of consent went through somewhat of a laddish approach, and a few of the jurors were offended,” he said.

“I had my own personal support for it as a parent of a college age kid, but I think that there was enough polarization in it that some jurors were not comfortable enough [to put it through].”

The Grand Prix for the category is a program out of the U.K. by FCB Inferno for Pearson. It cleverly linked literacy (using letters of the alphabet in a sing-along-song) to health by showing the types of diseases and health problems that could be avoided if there were less illiterate people in the world. For example, the letter “O” signified the “overdose” of a person who couldn’t read the instructions on the back of their prescription pills.

The next round of awards comes on Monday, when the Lions for the Promo & Activation, Glass, Direct and Radio categories are awarded. The shortlists for those categories will be announced Sunday morning.