The Palau Pledge, a tourism campaign that also 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 in the country. Created out of Host/Havas, it required visitors to the country to make a "pledge" to be environmentally conscious by signing the a stamp in their passports. The idea completely transformed the entire tourism experience to the country--from the visa and entry process, to the stamping of 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 6 total Titanium honors. The five other Titanium honorees were Apple's "Today at Apple" retail concept, which also earned a Branded Experience Grand Prix; Film Grand Prix winner "It's a Tide Ad"; Glass Lion Grand Prix winner "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."
A pledge to preserve Palau, love stories about food and a battle against plastic pollution took home top honors in their categories as the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity continued presenting its awards on Thursday night.
It took four full days of discussions for jurors in the Direct category to select the Direct Grand Prix winner, "Palau Pledge," from Host/Havas for Palau Legacy Project.
When it comes to direct marketing, said Jury President Susan Credle, global chief creative officer at FCB, "We had to look at it in a very open and modern way." Direct marketing has become more creative, she said.
While the jurors loved all of the work they selected for Gold Lions, they kept going back to one piece of work, Credle added. While direct marketing can sometimes tend toward "the functional and rational," Credle said, "Palau Pledge" was "human" and made the committee feel something.
The campaign required visitors to Palau, the 13th-smallest nation in the world, to sign a pledge to act in an ecologically responsible way while there. The pledge was written with help of the country's children.