Cannes 2017: FCB Toronto, JWT take home Bronze in PR

Campaigns about Down syndrome and gender equality awareness earned the agencies their trophies.


By Mark Burgess and Harmeet Singh

The teams at J. Walter Thompson Canada and FCB Toronto have some Lions to add to their bags coming home from Cannes, with both agencies picking up prizes in the PR category on Monday.

JWT’s “#20MinutesOfAction4Change” won Bronze awards in the Social Community Building/Management and Integrated Campaign led by PR subcategories. The work for White Ribbon, an organization centered on men and boys ending violence against women, responded to a rape at Stanford University, where the convicted rapist’s father described the penalty on his son as “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.” The campaign launched on Father’s Day 2016, urging fathers to speak to their sons about consent.

PR juror Asunción Soriano Cuesta, CEO of Atrevia in Madrid, said the campaign was especially effective because it asked men to take the lead on the issue, which she said was “very, very rare.”

“For me it’s one of the better cases in the category,” she told strategy.

Meanwhile, FCB Toronto’s “Down Syndrome Answers” campaign for the Canadian Down Syndrome Society won a Bronze Lion for PR in the Innovative Use of Social Media subcategory, adding to its Gold and Silver wins in Health & Wellness on Saturday.

Jury president Karen van Bergen, CEO of Omnicom Public Relations Group, noted at a press conference Monday that there were a number of entries in the PR category dealing with gender equality, women’s rights and political instability.

After deliberating until after 2 a.m., the jury chose State Street Global Advisors’ “Fearless Girl,” by McCann New York, the now-iconic sculpture staring down Wall Street’s Charging Bull, as the Grand Prix for PR.

The campaign also won the Grand Prix in Outdoor, as well as in Glass: The Lion for Change, which recognizes work confronting gender inequality.

With so many campaigns pushing some kind of social cause, Glass Lions jury president Wendy Clark, CEO of DDB Worldwide, said it’s now common for jurors to evaluate what’s in the case studies against earned media and what consumers are able to know about brands.

“It’s fascinating to watch the combination of these come together to yield an outcome that perhaps wasn’t possible 10 years ago,” she said at the press conference.

“We eliminated some very high-profile brands because their work, in our terms, was just wrapping paper on an issue they hadn’t deeply addressed.”

PR Lions

White Ribbon, “#20MinutesOfAction4Change,” J. Walter Thompson Canada Toronto
Social Community Building / Management (Bronze)
Integrated Campaign led by PR (Bronze)

Canadian Down Syndrome Society, “Down Syndrome Answers,” FCB Toronto; Reprise Media Toronto; Glossy Inc.
Innovative Use of Social Media (Bronze)