A blank edition of Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar earned the Grand Prix in Print and Publishing at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity Monday night.
In the campaign, created out of Impact BBDO, Dubai, the newspaper published a completely blank edition—a response to political gridlock that left the country without a working government for several months. The thinking behind the campaign was that if the politicians aren't working, why should anyone else?
After the blank edition’s release, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief encouraged citizens to use it to write their own headlines and send messages to politicians, over social media.
Ultimately, "The Blank Edition" went on to become the best selling edition of the newspaper, earned global coverage in 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the BBC and achieved 5 million dollars worth of earned media.
“For us, it was the perfect demonstration that print creativity can do a lot for print media itself, for print journalism,” explained Print and Publishing Jury President Olivier Altmann, co-founder, CEO and CCO of Altmann & Pacreau, France. “We thought it was really bold to award a Grand Prix to a white piece of paper that people could fill. It’s almost an interactive tool for real life.”
The idea also had a message that spoke to the larger society. ”At a moment when politicians around the world are not doing their job properly for people, it was a great example for how ideas can change the world for good,” Altmann added.
Altmann explained that the jury’s decision came very easily. “It was really unanimous--a good surprise. It took us about five seconds to award the Grand Prix.”