Cannes 07

Solar-Powered Billboard Wins Outdoor Grand Prix

Jurors Swayed by Social Responsibility Message in Network BBDO's Work for NedBank

By Published on .

CANNES ( -- The 2007 Outdoor Grand Prix went to a campaign that quite literally gave power to the people. Network BBDO, Johannesburg, today took home the top prize in outdoor for a solar-powered billboard for NedBank that provided some juice to local buildings.

NedBank's 'Power to the People' campaign from Network BBDO in South Africa won the outdoor Grand Prix.
Click to see larger image

Jury deliberation
In the last hour and half of deliberation, the jury flip-flopped between the South African agency's work and a campaign for BBC World created by BBDO, New York, that featured a single photo of soldiers on a Times Square billboard. The outdoor project allowed passers-by to vote via text message whether they though the soldiers pictured were occupiers or liberators. The billboard kept a running tally of the votes.

"We were torn between the head and the heart," said Porky Hefer, outdoor jurist and executive creative director at Lowe Bull, Cape Town. "Sometimes you get overwhelmed by the technology, but you have to get back to the idea."

What ultimately swayed the jury in the favor of the NedBank "Power to the People" work was that the solar power being collected by the billboard was helping to power several community buildings, including a schoolhouse. That the work made a difference in the community made all the difference to the jury.

Work that 'continues providing'
At a time when it is so common to have short-term promotions, that the "work that continues to work and continues providing" was key, said jury chair Jean-Remy Von Matt, founder-chairman, Jung Von Matt, Hamburg.

There was a strong sense from the jury that corporate responsibility and advertising that supports social responsibility is the example they would like to stress for future creatives.

"This one piece was more than advertising. It was help and it was hope," Mr. Hefer said. "The results and the winners have a big impact on [the creative] youth and they copy the star [we award]. If we award ads that have guns and mayhem, those will be the ads that we will start seeing."
Most Popular
In this article: