The Palau Pledge, a tourism campaign that doubled as an environmental preservation effort, emerged as the most celebrated winner with three Grand Prix on the final night of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. On Friday night, it earned both the coveted Titanium Grand Prix as well as the inaugural Sustainable Development Goals Grand Prix, following a previous win in the Direct category.
The integrated effort called for any tourist to Palau—the 13th-smallest nation in the world—to be environmentally responsible when they stayed the country. Created out of Host/Havas, it required visitors to "pledge" to be environmentally conscious by signing the a stamp in their passports.
"At the end of the day, we had one winner, an idea that really was the freshest and something we can scale and activate geographically around the world," said Leo Burnett Worldwide Chairman and CEO Mark Tutssel, who served as Jury Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals. The award, introduced this year, was created in partnership with the United Nations and all proceeds from submissions go toward sustainable development causes.
Titanium Lions Jury President and Wieden & Kennedy Global Co-Chief Creative Officer Colleen Decourcy noted, "It went beyond messaging—it was not interrupted but integrated into the process. It changed minds of governments and made them do something sustainable. It took pieces from everything we loved in the other Titanium winners and put them into this idea that's world changing. This felt like something we should be thinking about moving forward."
The jury awarded six total Titanium honors. The five other Titanium honorees were Apple's "Today at Apple" retail experience created with Work & Co, which also earned a Branded Experience Grand Prix; Film Grand Prix winner "It's a Tide Ad"; Glass Lion Grand Prix honoree "Blood Normal" for Libresse; Droga5's "Dundee: The Story of a Legend Returns Home," the tourism campaign disguised as a blockbuster film launch and Nike's "Nothing Beats a Londoner" from Wieden & Kennedy London.
DeCourcy said that during judging, the jury set out with "the intention of awarding real work for real clients." The Palau Project wasn't a charity campaign. Outside of the craft categories, charity work is excluded from competition for the top prize in the individual categories, but Palau Project was a campaign that was business-driven as well as socially driven. "It's no more a charity campaign than Tourism Australia is," Decoucy said. "You're driving people to a place, and asking them to be there in a sustainable way. If this works, Palau can take on more tourists and we're ensuring the financial growth of the country."
As for the charity work, the Grand Prix for Good—for work created for not-for-profits—went to "Project Revoice." Created for the ALS Association from BWM Dentsu Sydney, the initiative helps those afflicted with ALS, which includes the founder of the Ice Bucket challenge, to have a voice.