Edelman, partnering with the Creative Artists Agency, took the top public relations honor in Cannes this week, for a campaign designed to help fast food restaurant chain Chipotle position itself as a more wholesome alternative to other chains.
Edelman’s role in the campaign breaks a run of PR Grand Prix winners from other disciplines, including last year’s “Dumb Ways To Die” campaign from McCann in Australia and 2012’s winner, a JWT campaign for Banco Popular in Puerto Rico. While this year’s winning effort was entered by Creative Artists, the format of the awards has changed so that partner agencies—like Edelman—are given equal credit in the awards presentation.
(The partner agency rule was brought in last year. In 2010 TBWA won the PR Grand Prix for Gatorade’s Replay, a campaign that was developed in conjunction with FleishmanHillard. Fleishman effectively shared the Replay Grand Prix, although at the time they were not credited as lead agency.)
“The Scarecrow” campaign featured multiple elements, including a film in which a lone scarecrow in a dystopian fantasy world sets out to provide an alternative to the unsustainable processed food from the factory, and a game in which players are invited to help the scarecrow break the crows‘ monopoly on food production and supply in the city of Plenty.
“What was exciting for us, besides the fact that it was incredibly creative and had very strong results, was that this was a content driven marketing platform that was designed to engage consumers in a very emotional way,” said Renee Wilson, chief client officer at MSLGroup and president of this year’s PR jury. “It was about storytelling via a variety of integrated elements and it was launched with no paid media; everything was earned.”
Once again, PR was among the fastest-growing categories in the Cannes Lions competition this year, and Wilson reported a significant increase in the number of entries from PR firms. Those entries now account for close to 40 percent in the PR category, up from about 25 percent the year before.
That increase in entries was not reflected in the winners of the Gold PR Lions, however. Of the 13 Gold winners, none were entered by a standalone PR agency, although three credited PR agencies: ”This Is Wholesome,” the Honey Maid campaign entered by Droga5 and include Weber Shandwick; “The Scarecow,” which won in two Gold categories; and “Live Test Series” for Volvo Trucks, entered by integrated Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors and supported by PR agency Be On.
Other Gold winners were:
Tui Catch a Million, for Heineken New Zealand, from Saatchi & Saatchi and Appollonation
The Fading News, for Radikal, from TBWA Istanbul
Sweetie, for Terre des Homes, from Lemz Amsterdam
The Autocomplete Truth for UN Women, from Memac Ogilvy in Dubai
Rice-Code, for Inakadate Village, from Hakuhodo Tokyo
Samsung Maestros Academy, from Leo Burnett in Milan
Dallas Gas Station, for TNT from Grey New York
Bald Cartoons, for GRAACC from Ogilvy Brasil
Among the 24 Silver Lions winners, the PR industry success rate was somewhat higher, with Fast Horse of Minneapolis sharing the award Heineken’s “If We Made It” campaign with Droga5; Ketchum sharing the award for TNT’s “Dallas Gas Station” campaign with Grey; Eleven PR of Sydney sharing the award for ANZ Bank’s “ANZ Gaytms” campaign with Whybin/TBWA; Prostor PR & Consulting sharing the award for Change One Life’s “Movies That Change Lives” with Y&R Moscow; QMS Madrid sharing the European Women’s Lobby “Abortion Travel” award with DDB Spain; Ogilvy PR partnering with Ogilvy & Mather on the Polish Academy of Sciences’ “Polish Diacritics Campaign”; The Windward of Tokyo sharing honors for “Saddle Blossoms” for COGOO with TBWA and Hakuhodo; and Publicis Consultants of Italy taking home a Lion for “Dacia Sponsor Day” on behalf of Renault.
Addressing the PR industry’s continuing issues at Cannes, Wilson said: “What we are seeing is that all types of agencies are recognizing the power of PR. The kind of thinking that wins these awards only comes from great PR people, wherever they are working.”