Black & Abroad, Volvo grab Grand Prix glory at Cannes
FCB/Six Toronto’s “Go Back to Africa” initiative for Black & Abroad won the Creative Data Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, while Sweden-based Forsman & Bodenfors took home the Creative Strategy Grand Prix for Volvo’s “The E.V.A. Initiative.”
Both campaigns shared a common theme in that they used data responsibly while also creating a global impact from combining tech and creative to share their respective messages.
FCB/Six's “Go Back to Africa” for Black & Abroad, a company that specializes in travel experiences for black people, found that once every minute, someone posts “go back to Africa” on social media. The agency was tasked with reframing the way people think about Africa and created a platform that displaces the hate surrounding the racial slur.
Each time someone posted “go back to Africa” on social media, FCB/Six redacted any context and responded with gorgeous images from all 54 countries within the continent, while also using the hashtag “#GoBackToAfrica.” The agency also found that stock-image searches all-too-often returned stock pictures of white travelers, and so it instead posted pictures on Black & Abroad’s website featuring people from countries such as Egypt, Senegal and Kenya.
“It hijacks real hate as it happens in real time and then hyper-targets it with art from African countries," Yasuharu Sasaki, jury president and head of digital creative, executive creative director at Dentsu, says. “In this digital age we see a lot of negative fake news, but the Grand Prix tackled this issue in a bold, impactful way and changed the message.”
Volvo crash data shows gender bias
Forsman & Bodenfors achieved something similar, but with a completely different message to a entirely different audience.
The agency was tasked with promoting equal road safety for men and women, and set about sifting through decades of crash data that Volvo had been collecting since the 1970s. It found that women are more likely than men to suffer injuries from a crash, in part, because most auto companies use male crash-test dummies to test their cars—which over the years has hindered how car manufacturers design safety features for their vehicles.
Forsman & Bodenfors then released Volvo’s entire catalogue of data to the public, hoping that other automakers would use it to inform the design of their vehicles. So far, it’s clocked more than 11,000 downloads, says Tracey Follows, jury president of the Creative Strategy Lions and founder of Futuremade.
“This was great because it reached back into the brand history and found data to interpret in a new way,” Follows says. “It shared its intel, allowing rivals to work on the benefits the data will bring. They are not only transforming the auto industry, but the world, to make it a safer place.”
Follows stresses that the Volvo initiative stood out because of the opportunity to go beyond the immediate business results. “This was merely the beginning of the strategy,” she says. “They are going to build on this insight and this work.”