'Fearless Girl' Three-time winner

Bruno Bertelli and Wendy Clark

Bruno Bertelli and Wendy Clark

The Glass Lion Grand Prix for 2017 went to ‘Fearless Girl’, a pioneering piece of work that also picked up PR and Outdoor Grands Prix at Monday night’s award ceremony.

The 'Fearless Girl' campaign from McCann New York on behalf of State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) for a fund to support companies with high levels of gender diversity in senior leadership positions has dazzled juries in three categories in Cannes. To promote the fund, McCann placed a statue of a young girl  in front of Wall Street’s iconic Charging Bull statue.

Glass jury president Wendy Clark, CEO DDB Worldwide North America, said: “Most of us came into the judging hoping the Glass category will one day become obsolescent, that the world will become so gender equitable that it isn’t needed. Regrettably we’re a long way from that but there was an incredible power and breadth to the ideas in this category. ‘Fearless Girl’ was an example of the power of creativity staring down a seemingly intractable problem.”

Clark talked about the fact that the category has seen a big increase in entries this year and said: “Our criteria was to reward fresh, brave, transformational, impactful, aspiring and long-lasting work. We wanted to see creative work would that you couldn’t forget.”

While ‘Fearless Girl’ won because it “transcended culture and geography… and encapsulated women’s hopes and ambitions”, it was run close by a Gold Lion- winning campaign from Nomades Mexico on behalf of Tecate Beer. There was also a Gold Lion for #GiveHer5, a campaign from Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi Mumbai for the Ammada Trust.

Karen van Bergen

Karen van Bergen

Awarding the PR Grand Prix  to ‘Fearless Girl’, jury president Karen van Bergen, CEO at Omnicom Public Relations Group, called it “a beautiful and powerful story on an important issue”. The statue was a big hit with locals and has gone on to be a global PR phenomenon. “It was an amazing idea which addressed the important issue of female empowerment,” said van Bergen, “and it generated very healthy results for the client’s fund.”

Van Bergen’s jury awarded 17 Golds in what she described as a very impressive year for the category: “We imposed strict criteria including the need for data-drive audience insights, strong story and execution and measurable results. So we are proud of all our Lions.”

By territory, the US dominated with nine Golds. Other Golds went to Belgium (2), Denmark (2), Australia, France, India and Singapore. Van Bergen made special mention of ‘The Refugee Nation’, a campaign from Ogilvy New York on behalf of Amnesty International. In terms of category trends, van Bergen said “there was a lot of emphasis on technology and a lot of work around the current air of political instability and uncertainty.”

The Outdoor jury awarded two Grands Prix this year – one for traditional outdoor and one for non-traditional. The non-traditional winner is ‘Fearless Girl’, and the winner of the traditional pool is a Twitter campaign consisting of 10 distinct advertising executions.

In a world where so many people walk along staring into mobile phone screens, Outdoor jury president Bruno Bertelli, global chief creative officer at Publicis Worldwide, said: “We had two criteria for outdoor entries. Would I look up? And would I give a shit? We were looking for work that had the potential to grab attention and engage with our minds.”

Both winners fulfilled the criteria, he said. While ‘Fearless Girl’ generated huge amounts of PR, the Twitter campaign was “simple, engaging, relevant and iconic.”

In addition to the Grand Prix, the jury awarded Gold Lions to 20 campaigns, six from the US, three each from Brazil and the UK, and one each from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Germany, India, Mexico, Singapore and Spain. Bertelli praised outdoor’s ability to “make iconic brands even more iconic.”

Harriet Palmer