Cannes Lions

McCann's 'Fearless Girl' Is Monday's Big Winner at Cannes

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Fearless Girl
Fearless Girl Credit: McCann New York/State Street Global Advisors

McCann New York's "Fearless Girl" came into Cannes a heavy favorite and the female-empowerment campaign lived up to expectations on Monday, taking home the first three Grand Prix awards handed out in the morning.

The campaign for State Street Global advisers -- which involved putting a bronze statue of a girl standing defiantly across from the iconic Wall Street charging bull - took home the top awards in the PR, Glass and Nontraditional Outdoor categories. "It's hard to beat three out of three," said DDB North American CEO Wendy Clark, president of the jury for the Glass Lion, adding that it "gripped the world's attention."

Below, a look at why the jurors thought "Fearless Girl" stared down the competition in the trio of categories.


WHY IT WON: Financial firm State Street Global Advisers commissioned the statue to advocate for more women in leadership positions and draw attention to its "SHE" fund, which invests in companies that the company deems as doing a good job of putting females in top jobs. The statue is "extremely courageous" and "did wonders for brand awareness and sales for the company," said PR jury president Karen van Bergen, who is president of Omnicom Public Relations Group. "It is a perfect example of doing well by doing good."

CONTROVERSY OR CLEAR WINNER? The jury debated between "Fearless Girl" and "Meet Graham," the campaign by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne that on Sunday won the Health & Wellness Grand Prix at Lions Health for its rendering of how a human body would survive a car crash.

WHO ELSE DID WELL: van Bergen praised the gold-winning "Refugee Nation" campaign by Ogilvy New York for Amnesty International.

INTERESTING TRENDS: There was an uptick in entries from Japan, Brazil and India.


WHY IT WON: The Glass category recognizes campaigns that produce "culture-shifting creativity" that "positively impact ingrained gender inequity." Clark said "Fearless Girl" transcended geography, language and culture and elegantly captured women's journeys. It symbolized the "hopes and ambitions for every little girl in the world." She also noted that the size of the SHE fund is up by 374%, "which we felt was a palpable outcome."

THE JURY: Females dominated the jury; there was only one male on the panel. But that is not necessarily a good thing, Clark said. "Diversity is about all of our perspectives."

CONTROVERSY OR CLEAR WINNER? "It was not a quick answer," Clark said, noting the jury had a "deep discussion" debating between "Fearless Girl" and a Gold-winning anti-gender violence campaign for Tecate by Nomades of Mexico City.

INTERESTING TRENDS: Campaigns tackled a wide spectrum of issues including domestic violence, breast cancer screenings, infertility, human trafficking and more.

OUTDOOR (nontraditional)

WHY IT WON: The jury opted to give "Fearless Girl" top honors in this category because the campaign "felt, very, very outdoor," said jury president Bruno Bertelli, global chief creative officer, Publicis Worldwide.

CONTROVERSY OR CLEAR WINNER? The jury -- which also gave a Grand Prix for traditional outdoor to Twitter -- came to a quick decision. "It took us five minutes," Bertelli said, joking the jury "wanted to go to beach."

INTERESTING TRENDS: The number of outdoor entries declined this year, especially for classical outdoor campaigns, Bertelli said.

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