Bensimon Byrne wins twice, Edelman once in Monday’s Health Lions competition

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Canada won only won one Lion in the Pharma Lions competition at Cannes Monday, yet that single trophy represented nearly 10% of all awards in a competition where just 11 Lions were handed out.

The Canadian Bronze went to Edelman Toronto for “Bubl Fashion”—a bubble-wrapped fashion show for Osteoporsis Canada.

To remind people that osteoporosis can lead to easily broken bones, Edelman worked with Canadian fashion designer David Dixon for a fashion show that showcased real clothing made from bubble wrap (top).

The Pharma Grand Prix went to GlaxoSmithKline and McCann Health Shanghai for “Breath of Life,” an effort to raise awareness about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in China. The effort combines China’s massively popular mobile platform, WeChat, with the ancient custom of blow art. Users blow onto their smartphone with their breath captured by the microphone and an algorithm used to assess the breath volume and create a painting of a tree. The size of the tree represents lung volume—the user is recommended to visit a doctor for anything under 70%.

“We were just completely blown away,” said Robin Shapiro, global president for TBWA\WorldHealth, of the campaign. “It wasn’t just tech for tech sake, it was really tactical purpose.”

Shapiro said that the work was both culturally relevant and engaging, and ideal for older people who may not recognize the symptoms of COPD. “How the data was brought to life was very artistic, and then of course the use of mobile technology in an unexpected way…. when you combine those things, we just thought it hit so many of the right [criteria].”

Overall, said Shapiro, there was a noticeable trend by pharma brands towards moving beyond craft and strategy to focus more on creativity with purpose. There were a lot more non-traditional campaigns, including more experiential and events, and a trend toward embracing inclusivity such as more thoughtful portrayals of the LGBT community and what it is like to live with HIV.

Health & Wellness

In the Health Lions’ other group of categories, the Health & Wellness Lions, Bensimon Byrne won two Bronze Lions, including one for Casey House’s “The Healing House”—a spa in Toronto where people could get a massage from one of 15 HIV+ “healers” as a way of dispelling myths about HIV.

The other win came for “Boys Don’t Cry,” for White Ribbon, a short film that tells the story of a boy growing up and the experiences that lead to him adopting some of the destructive traits increasingly associated with “toxic masculinity.”

“Health is now everyone’s business,” said jury president Shaheed Peera, executive creative director, Publicis Lifebrands, United Kingdom. “I think a lot of the brands and type of work that we received, if we go back to maybe seven, eight years ago, we would never imagine those products having a role in health and wellness.”

The Grand Prix was a great example of that: “Thisables” for IKEA by McCann Tel Aviv. The winning idea was to make IKEA furniture more usable for people with disabilities by creating 3D printable hacks (see the video below).

“We would never have imagined IKEA being in a health and wellness show like this maybe seven, eight years ago,” said Peera.

The jury also talked about “politics,” he said. “There’s so much turmoil right now in the world, there’s so much uncertainty, there’s so much lack of hope for a lot of people even in this room. But now imagine what that feels like if you’re the most marginalized set of people.” Marketers are stepping forward to help those marginalized people in really meaningful ways, he said.

“The power of somebody like IKEA—who at their core principle is about democratizing design for everyone—taking that a little bit further to the most marginalized in society, was just so inspirational for us, and… the scalability of it was phenomenal. There should be no reason why there isn’t a single IKEA in the world that doesn’t do this. And that’s the power of what we do. And that’s the power of health and brands. Plugging that gap of hope that that we desperately need right now in the world.”

David Brown