FCB/Six wins Creative Data Grand Prix for “Go Back to Africa”

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A data-driven campaign that countered racist posts with positive, empowering, user-generated content about visiting Africa won Canada’s first Grand Prix in Cannes this year, in the Creative Data competition.

“Go Back to Africa” was created by FCB/Six for Black and Abroad, a travel and lifestyle brand catering to African Americans. The creative took hateful social posts that used the phrase “Go Back To Africa” as a pejorative and redacted everything around it to turn the phrase into an empowering message. The posts drove people to GoBackToAfrica.com.

“One of the campaign’s goals is to effectively strip the perceived power away from those who use the phrase ‘Go back to Africa’ with derogatory intent,” said Eric Martin, co-founder of Black & Abroad, when the campaign was launched in April.

The campaign also used photos of African Americans travelling in Africa taken from social media, via a digital platform designed to locate and get permission to use the photos. The platform, which was created by FCB/Six, processed hundreds of thousands of images from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and then used Google Vision to filter the content by location, subject, quality and relevancy in real time.

The selected images were then added to GoBackToAfrica.com to produce a showcase of positive imagery of African Americans travelling across the continent’s 54 countries.

Creative Data jury president Yasuharu Sasaki, head of digital creative and executive creative director for Dentsu, said that a time when many people have become distrustful about the ways companies and agencies use data, he wanted his jury to find work that used data to make consumers trust brands more.

“I asked my dream panel to look for a great creative idea that exponentially elevates the value of data,” he said. “A great creative data idea can make a brand look cool and sustainable. And a great creative data case makes users trust the brand and make users provide more data for greater experiences.”

The winning work had to be transformative, have commercial and emotional value and promote more ethical use of the data, he said. “Ethics is an important key word this year about data.”

This is also a time when there is a great deal of concern about privacy, bias and hateful content online, he said. “The Grand Prix tackled this issue in a bold and impactful way. It changed the negative message into emotional content. It changed the meaning of the hate message, to create a new community with a powerful message and contribute to the culture.”

David Brown