Paul Holmes 21 Jun 2023 // 7:30PM GMT
CANNES—“Self-Love Bouquet,” a promotion created for online food delivery company DoorDash by the Los Angeles office of advertising agency Gut, took home the Grand Prix in the PR Lions category, in another year when public relations firms were effectively shut out of major honors.
Of the six campaigns that won Gold Lions, none featured a creative idea that originated with a PR firm — the winners were all large global ad agencies Weiden+Kennedy, McCann, Grey, DDB amd FCB — a familiar story in recent years.
Only one of the major winners credited a PR firm with even a supporting role: Weber Shandwick providing PR support for DDB Chicago’s “Apologize the Rainbow” campaign for Mars Wrigley’s Skittles brand.
According to Jo-Ann Robertson, CEO of global markets at Ketchum and president of this year’s PR jury, "We collectively set out to award work that was earned at the core, lived deep in culture and had business or societal impact.”
The winning campaign saw DoorDash offer women the opportunity to order a “self-love bouquet” on Valentine’s Day, including 11 red roses and the Rose sex toy, which has become the most popular sex toy in America over the past year.
“It was progressive,” said jury member Valerie Pinto, CEO of Weber Shandwick India. “Too much cause-related work is depressing. This was celebratory in the way it tackled female empowerment.”
Discussing purpose — which has become de rigueur for the big winners at Cannes — Robertson said: “Brand purpose is not enough. We were looking for long-term commitment and legacy, and real-world impact.”
Other elements that helped the winning campaigns rise to the top include simplicity — “teams that are confident to deliver work that is simple but impactful should be celebrated” — and the creation of “content that cannot be ignored.”
Other campaigns in contention for the Grand Prix, Robertson said, included “Home” for Nike by Wieden+Kennedy, which celebrated the success of the England women’s soccer team, and “Runner 321,” from FCB Toronto and adidas, which sought greater inclusion for athletes with Down Syndrome in marathons and running more broadly.
She also cited “Postponed Day” from cancer charity Lalcec and Grey Argentina, which she called “the best PR campaign in this category.
“It was the most simple of PR ideas, that they kept it going for two weeks, dominating the media in Argentina. Each day the story had an additional layer and it was absolute pure PR.”
There were several awards for PR agencies among the Silver Lions, including lead roles for Ketchum (the “Iceland Food Club” for Iceland supermarkets in the UK); Edelman (the “Mayo McHack” campaign for Hellmann’s, also in the UK); and Swedish firm Forsman & Bodenfors (for the Kami campaign on behalf of Down Syndrome International, led out of Singapore).
The Silver Lions also saw several PR firms credited with supporting roles, including Allison+Partners, Hill+Knowlton, Hope & Glory, Ketchum, Weber Shandwick, and Zeno Group.