Cannes Lions

Whirlpool Wins Creative Data Grand Prix for Putting Washing Machines in Schools

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Whirlpool's Care Count initiative from DigitasLBi won the Grand Prix for Creative Data at the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity.

WHAT IT IS: Whirlpool installed washing machines and dryers at schools around America after research showed that thousands of children every day don't go to school because they don't have access to clean clothes.

WHY IT WON: Jury President Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar, said the Whirlpool initiative used data in a creative way and raised awareness of an issue while changing behavior. The brand didn't just put washers and dryers in schools for a one-year program – it focused on researching the impact that they had on "high risk" students and tracking their attendance records. So far, the data shows that the students using the washers and dryers stayed in schools an additional two weeks more than in the previous year and the class participation rate went up 89% and involvement in extracurricular activities increased 95%.

TRENDS: Salama said the entries had "lots around the use of AI for the first time."

POTENTIAL CONTROVERSY: When asked about whether the Whirlpool effort was considered to be a product placement stunt, Salama said the fact that the brand is doing something for the community should be applauded. And if it "gets some publicity out of it as well, good for them," he said.

NOTABLE NEWS: One of the Gold winners, the Pope bot AiMEN by Canal+, which stands for Papal Artificial Intelligence, was a much chatted-about entry, said Salama. "We laughed every time we looked at it and there were times when we'd break the routine a bit and would watch that for a bit of good fun," he said. Whirlpool took the top prize, however, because of its ability to go from "storytelling to story doing," said Salama.

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