Why this year’s Grand Prix for Good winner is great news for advertising and our world

A much deserving winner of the Grand Prix for Good was announced this week at the Cannes Advertising Festival. “The Ant Rally,” created by BBDO Dusseldorf for the World Wildlife Fund, is not only creatively fresh, disarmingly charming, and strategically on-purpose, but also demonstrates that social purpose can still inspire the greatest creativity in marketing.

I wanted to lay out why I think this campaign does such a masterful job at breathing fresh life into fundraising for the WWF, and into marketing in this very crowded category:

1. The answer was there right in front of us by the very nature of the subject matter, and it took a respect for simplicity to bring it to life.

2. The campaign is instantly relatable on both a global and local level, engaging both the wonder of a child and the intellect of an adult in its execution.

3. As such, the campaign is innately shareable due to its charm and creativity.

4. The campaign taps into a larger movement of enfranchisement that we’re seeing take place around the world, as protestors in Istanbul are inspired by those in the Arab Spring and protestors in Brazil are inspired by those in Istanbul.

5. There is a perfect alignment between the empowerment that social media provides for the citizen or customer and the inversion of power represented by the ants protesting to protect their rainforest. It’s a powerful creative and technology match that propels the success of this campaign.

6. Like all campaigns that go viral, it was not the sensationalism of the film, but rather its humanity that compels people to share it. In a sense, every viewer is the equivalent of an ant in whatever protest they want to make and so the film itself is completely relatable.

7. In terms of capturing the attention of traditional media, the film powerfully leveraged the new bottom-up dynamics of marketing through which a simple film is shared by thousands of people that captures the attention of traditional media that further propels its sharing.

8. The humility of the film is fundamental to its success across social media channels, for only by being accessible and populous can you inspire viewers to share the film using their own social channels because of their shared values and a common purpose.

9. It was a big idea, no matter how small the cast was, for it speaks to the very survival of the planet in which we all have a vested interest.

10. It was artfully executed, avoiding the trappings of overly entertaining or effects-driven marketing, allowing the simplicity of the idea to speak for itself and resonate across all types of media.

What is most exciting for me is to see such wonderfully creative work executed around such meaningful causes. We are already witnessing a powerful intersection between corporate missions and social impact, and when we lay it over world class creativity like this, there is nothing business and non-profit working in partnership cannot achieve.

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