MSLGroup crowned at Cannes for Always #LikeAGirl campaign

MSLGroup has won the Grand Prix at this year's Cannes PR Lions for its Always #LikeAGirl campaign, in what has been called a "breakthrough year" for PR.

Always #LikeAGirl: Cannes PR Lions Grand Prix winner
Always #LikeAGirl: Cannes PR Lions Grand Prix winner

A total of 17 Gold, 23 Silver, and 38 Bronze PR Lions were awarded.

Lynne Anne Davis, senior partner at FleishmanHillard and lead judge for the PR Lions said: "There was a clear consensus for the Grand Prix being #LikeAGirl. The campaign marries brand promise with brand commerce. It didn’t just speak to girls; it hit a core with everyone and spoke to a cultural truth that transcends boundaries."

When asked about PR's role in the campaign, Davis added: "Starting conversations is where PR can play a role. In this case, it started with self-esteem issues."

Out of the 17 Gold Lions awarded, Edelman San Francisco won for its work on Adobe’s ‘Photoshop Murder Mystery’ campaign and FleishmanHillard St. Louis won for GM’s ‘#TechnologyAndStuff’ initiative. Grey Activation & PR New York won along with Grey New York for The Gun Shop’s ‘States United to Prevent Gun Violence’ campaign.

Alison Brod, meanwhile, was credited as the PR agency on David Miami’s Gold-Medal-winning ‘Proud Whopper’ campaign for Burger King, as was Porter Novelli for its work on The ALS Association’s ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.’ Waggener Edstrom’s work as the PR agency on Grey New York’s ‘Interception’ campaign for Volvo was also credited.

Of the Silver Lions, winners included Fuel Communications and M&C Saatchi for the 'Clever Buoy' campaign for Optus. Edelman won a Silver for Dove’s ‘Choose Beautiful’ campaign.

Bronze Lions winners included Olson Engage Chicago for Oscar Mayer’s ‘Wake up & Smell the Bacon’ effort and Edelman Chicago for the American Egg Board’s ‘Wake Up to Eggs with Bacon’ initiative.

Edelman New York also won a Bronze for the ‘#SpeakBeautiful’ campaign for Dove, as did Ketchum Pleon Berlin for working on Fashion Revolution’s ‘The 2 Euro T-Shirt’. Fast Horse Minneapolis won a bronze for Newcastle Brown Ale’s ‘Band of Brands’ campaign for Heineken USA.

Agencies credited for their work as the PR agency on Bronze-winning campaigns included Weber Shandwick New York for GSK’s ‘Horse Sells Nasal Strip to Humans’ campaign; Havas PR Milan for the Reckitt Benckiser Italia ‘Rocco Siffredi’s Vow of Chastity’ effort; and Freuds London for Vangardist Magazine’s ‘The HIV+ Issue.’ Current Chicago was cited for its work on the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence’s ‘The Unforgotten’ effort. Catalyst PR New York was cited as the PR firm on Paramount Pictures’ ‘Zoolander Returns to the Runway’ campaign.

Grey Activation & PR New York also won a Gold Media Lion for its work on the ‘States United to Prevent Gun Violence’ campaign. Prime Stockholm, a Weber Shandwick subsidiary, won a Bronze Lion in the Media category for the ‘Scandic to Go’ campaign for Scandic Hotels. FleishmanHillard won a Media Bronze Lion for its work for GM.

Davis said Cannes 2015 has been a "breakthrough year" for PR. Out of a record number of entries (1,969), 50 per cent were from PR agencies, up from 40 per cent in 2014.

Speaking about PR campaigns that didn't make the cut, Davis said: "We saw a lot of campaigns where agencies threatened to take something away to build up a huge public reaction. We struggled with the authenticity of this. It’s not the best use of PR."

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