BBDO takes home inaugural Glass Lion Grand Prix at Cannes

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Rules gender equality space with 3 of 8 Glass Lions



From left, Cindy Gallop, Glass Lion Jury President; Grand Prix winning agency team from BBDO India Mumbai; Marc Pritchard, Global Brand Building Officer, P&G – courtesy of Getty Images


BBDO Worldwide affiliate BBDO India, Mumbai won the Grand Prix in the inaugural Glass Lion category at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2015 held in Cannes, France recently for its ‘Touch the Pickle’ campaign for sanitary protection brand Whisper. BBDO agencies also took home two of the seven other Glass Lions awarded: Impact BBDO, Dubai, UAE for ‘Give Mom Back Her Name’ for UN Women and BBDO India, Mumbai for ‘Share the Load’ for Ariel Matic laundry detergent.

The Glass Lion was launched by the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, with the active support of LeanIn.Org, to recognise great work that implicitly or explicitly addresses issues of gender inequality or prejudice, through the conscious representation of gender in advertising. According to Cannes Lions, the criterion was marketing that promoted more inclusive, gender-aware forms of brand communication, rooted in creative excellence. It was expected that winners will have achieved this via a range of approaches including clear, progressive messages and less obviously active tactics. Even the composition of the jury – eight women and only two men – was a major departure for an awards show and furthermore, the 2015 entry fees for the Glass category will be donated to gender-equality causes.

The Grand Prix winning ‘Touch the Pickle’ campaign launched by BBDO India, Mumbai for Whisper chose to tackle the challenge of period taboos, and more importantly, giving women a voice to do so. In India, periods are treated as taboo, no one talks about it and as soon as girls hit puberty they are introduced to several ‘don’ts’ such as ‘don’t worship’, ‘don’t enter the kitchen’, and perhaps the most ridiculous – ‘don’t touch the pickle’. Almost every home in India stores pickle in a jar and menstruating women are not allowed to touch this jar as it is believed that if ‘impure’ women touch it, the pickle will spoil. 

The campaign launched with a film showing a young woman touching the pickle jar and went viral as more than 2.9 million women pledged to ‘touch the pickle jar’. It created a national conversation in India that also encompassed a TedX Bangalore talk, an endorsement from a leading Bollywood actress and even a guide – Menstrupedia.

President of the first Glass Lions jury and Founder CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn Cindy Gallop told Ad Age of their decision: “Ultimately we unanimously agreed on work tackling a gender issue that impacts every single woman worldwide; does it in a way that is innovative and disruptive while entertaining and engaging; comes naturally from a brand for whom effecting change in this area is not only its innate social responsibility but of tremendous business benefit; and which has achieved amazing results in one of the most conservative markets in the world.” She added (to Ad Age) that the campaign “does it for a brand, rooted in its brand values, and taking on a responsibility we’d like more brands to take on.”

BBDO India, Mumbai’s other Glass Lion win, for ‘Share the Load’ for Ariel Matic laundry detergent, was designed to get men and women to completely rethink the division of labour, which includes women invariably doing the family laundry. Gallop commented on the campaign (to Ad Age), “The attention to detail delighted the jury, including laundry instructions for men on the packaging, and a partnership with a dating site that let men make clear in their profiles if they were willing to share the load by doing housework.”

‘Give Mom Back Her Name’ by Impact BBDO for UN Women tackled the taboo in Egypt (and in many other Middle Eastern countries) of not disclosing one’s mother’s name in public, seemingly to prevent her name from becoming the subject of shame and ridicule, leading over time to her being referred to merely as ‘the mother of her eldest son’. The powerful initiative was launched on the Egyptian Mother’s Day, 21 March, and urged people to show their appreciation for their mothers’ unconditional love by giving back their mothers their names by changing their Twitter profile picture their mother’s name and the hashtag #MyMothersNameIs……

BBDO Lanka MD Santosh Menon said of the pioneering wins, “There’s an outpouring of commentary about gender representation and the negative impact this has on society. Institutional change and policy reform alone won’t solve gender inequalities; cultural change is paramount. Marketing does not just reflect this culture; it also reinforces and shapes it. As a global meeting place for anyone engaged in brand communications, Cannes Lions is uniquely positioned to bring both industry and global issues to the fore. With a Grand Prix and two other Glass Lions, BBDO, as an agency network, proved itself at the forefront of creative and effective work that shatters gender stereotypes.”