Al Gore receives the first Green Lion

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We all knew former U.S. veep Al Gore was going to speak at Cannes, but who would have guessed that he'd be receiving the first Green Lion, ever? Gore took the stage to make an environmental call to action to advertisers and marketers, in a presentation sponsored by Y&R and CEO Hamish McClennan, who had worked with Gore and Control Room CEO Kevin Wall on the SOS branding campaign, to promote the upcoming Live Earth multi-national concert to be held on July 7 this year.

"I'm personally grateful that Hamish and others in your industry who have sought me out, have brought creative ideas," Gore said, announcing at least one campaign that he's in for the long haul. "The Live Earth concerts will mark not only a fantastic entertainment event worldwide, but the beginning of a three year campaign to deliver increased awareness of the crisis, and more importantly, to deliver the practical messages about how individuals all over this world can help be a part of the solution to this crisis. This is the rare challenge that actually requires a sea change in public opinion before political leaders are likely to have the courage to make the rather sweeping changes in policy and laws that will be required." And that change, he insisted, would need the participation of the audience of marketers and agencies before him. "I would like to ask for your help," he continued. "Those of us who are fighting the climate crisis need your help in delivering these messages. Help us to empower individuals to help be a part of this messaging campaign. Lend us your most creative designers and advertising geniuses and give us their time to help devise the most powerful and compelling message we can possibly create in order to develop these messages."

"You can make the crucial difference," Gore insisted. "As I've said in the past, we have everything we need to solve this crisis, with the possible exception of political will. But in each of our hearts and in our world political will is a renewable resource." The former VP's impassioned words earned a standing ovation from the crowd, after which Live Earth executive producer Kevin Wall took the stage to explain his upcoming project, which he likened to producing "10 Superbowls in one day."

Then in a surprise move, Festival executive chairman Terry Savage appeared and presented Gore with a Lion that looked as if it had been dipped in thick, green paint. "A Cannes lion is the greatest accolade our industry bestows in the area of creative communication," Savage said. "We therefore felt it was fitting to recognize the greatest communicator of the greatest danger our planet faces, climate change. And it's with great pleasure that we'd like to present the first Green Lion in the history of the Advertising Festival."
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