Cannes 2018: Three Lions for Canada in Radio & Audio

Rethink and McCann won Silver hardware for using the power of sound and copy to deliver messaging for two non-profits.

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With five nominations for Radio & Audio Lions, Canadian work stood atop the category’s podium a total of three times Tuesday evening.

McCann Canada will return home from Cannes with two Silvers in hand, having won awards for the “Your Friend” and “Yourself” spots for Prostate Cancer Canada, while Rethink collected a Silver for “Stranger’s Voice” for Branch Out Neurological Foundation.

Radio & Audio jury president Jo McCrostie, creative director at Global, called the “Your Friend” and “Yourself” spots for Prostate Cancer Canada “wonderfully uncomfortable to listen to.” The work cheekily invites men who are too uncomfortable to have a doctor perform the exam do it themselves, in the former spot, or with the help of a friend, in the latter.

Rethink’s “Stranger’s Voice” helped younger generations better understand the effects of Alzheimer’s by giving phone cards to young people and encouraging them to call their loved ones. Once the calls were placed, the person’s voice was captured, modulated and rendered unrecognizable by the other person on the line. The work showed how the disease can make strangers even out of family members.

If Rethink and McCann did not place higher than Silver, it was likely the result of having “so much good work” in the category, said McCrostie.

The Grand Prix went to AB-Inbev Africa for “Soccer Song for Change” by Ogilvy Cape Town. The company’s Carling Black Label is a major soccer sponsor in South Africa, where three women are killed by their partners every day, and where the connection between alcohol consumption and domestic abuse is well established. So the brand changed the lyrics to a traditional soccer anthem and had women and girls perform it before a game, calling on the community to spare them from the violence of the drunken men returning from the match.

The jury focused their attention on work that was “really going to change and make an impact on the world,” said McCrostie. Moreover, “people are starting to realize how powerful audio is, and what it can do. And we chose a Grand Prix that demonstrates all of that perfectly.”

Prior to announcing the category’s big winner, McCrostie said the jury decided to lengthen the shortlist to ensure all deserving work would be included. After nearly 12 hours of judging, the jury members awarded more Radio & Audio Lions than ever before, according to McCrostie.

“As a medium, audio has widened. There are so many more opportunities that are presented,” she said, noting that technology has enabled audio to engage audiences in new ways. “We are talking about a medium that is actually free of media plan; as creatives, you can put this anywhere.”