It’s hard to wash away the potentially harmful effects of social media on young people’s mental health.
As such, Dove, a Unilever toiletry and beauty-products brand, worked with the advertising agencies Ogilvy London and Ogilvy Toronto to create a campaign highlighting the ugliness of toxic beauty content.
The 2023 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity honored the Real Cost of Beauty campaign with a Gold Lion in the Health and Wellness – Brand-Led Education and Awareness category and a Silver Lion for another campaign video in the same category.
The campaign launched amidst greater public scrutiny of how social media use can contribute to higher rates of depression, anxiety, body image concerns and eating disorders.
“This is way more than just another issue, it’s a public health crisis,” Daniel Fisher, global executive creative director, stated in response to the awards. “This work is part of Dove’s long-standing commitment to creating awareness around self-esteem in the virtual world, as the world’s biggest provider of self-esteem education. We are honored that our Cost of Beauty work has been recognized by the Health and Wellness jury because this is an issue that deserves all the awareness and attention it can get.”
One of the campaign videos follows Mary as she grows from a young girl who does a comedy show with friends to a teen who gets a cell phone, joins social media and begins to become obsessed with her weight. “You Are So Beautiful” plays in the background and is juxtaposed with Mary developing an eating disorder. The video concludes by showing Mary and other young women who are in recovery from eating disorders.
The 70th festival, which took place from June 19-23, honored Health and Wellness campaigns and a range of other industries, including Pharma.
The Health & Wellness Lions Grand Prix went to a campaign with some dark humor. Special, an Auckland-based creative firm, won it in the Health Services & Corporate Communications category for The Last Performance campaign produced for Partners Life, a New Zealand insurance company.
The campaign shows corpses talking about how they wish they had purchased life insurance.
“First, the autopsy’s bone saw. Now this,” Lynley, one of the deceased, says. “On top of the whole glass bottle and piece of driftwood twice thing. Just shows the lengths some will go to protect their loved ones. Makes me wish I had life insurance to look after little tiger and the people I love.”
The campaign also won Gold and Silver awards in the Creative Strategy category.
“It truly takes a village of creative, strategic, and open-minded thinkers to create a multi-award-winning campaign, and we are so proud of our team who’s showing that world-class creativity really can come from the edge of the world,” Special posted on LinkedIn.
Havas Paris and Fondation Anne de Gaulle won the Grand Prix for Good, the top award for charitable causes, and the Gold in the Nonprofit and Foundation-led Education & Awareness Health & Wellness category.
The campaign renamed and transformed Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in December 2022 to honor the late French president’s daughter, Anne, who had Down syndrome. The foundation encourages the inclusion of disabled people in society.
“On luggage tag, carts, in the queues, on the boarding passes, at arrivals, departures, on all screens — even on road signs,” a video about the campaign explains. The campaign turned a “simple change of name into an international conversation and [made] French society reconsider mental disability and inclusion.”
After winning the awards, Havas Paris posted on Instagram, “Incredibly proud to see this campaign rewarded with a new 🦁 and a fabulous emotional moment.”
Social media is, of course, not all bad. The Pharma Lions Grand Prix went to Dentsu Creative for Scrolling Therapy, an app launched for Brazil-based pharma company Eurofarma that aims to help people with Parkinson’s slow down the progression of the disease while they scroll through social media.
“Scrolling Therapy helps people that have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease to perform facial exercises while browsing their social platform,” the app description states.
The campaign also won a Silver in the Social & Influencer category and a Bronze in the Brand Experience & Activation category.
“These awards recognize the hard work and passion we have invested in ‘Scrolling Therapy,’” Gastón “Tonga” Cánaves and Agustín Alba, general creative directors of Dentsu Creative Argentina, said on the agency website. “We would like to thank our talented team, the U.S. and Brazil teams for helping us make the project a reality and Eurofarma for their confidence in our creative approach.”
Grey also used technology creatively in a campaign for the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The agency won a Gold in the Innovative Use of Technology: Patient or Healthcare Professional category for its The Most Beautiful Sound campaign.
The title refers to a “a scientific breakthrough that, for the first time ever, has captured the sound of cancer cells being destroyed,” according to the project website.
Conor Evans, associate professor at Harvard Medical School Wellman Center for Photomedicine, led a study that “measured the movement of breast and lung cells at the precise moment of cellular death, and transcribed those motions into sounds you can hear.”
“The idea of taking something invisible and giving it sound and giving it perspective, giving it the ability to be perceived struck me as something that could be very powerful for patients in their journey fighting cancer,” Evan stated.
The campaign also received a Bronze in the Patient Engagement category.
“This year’s wins are a great reminder of what we’re capable of at Grey Group,” Gabriel Schmitt, global chief creative officer, stated on the agency website. “We’ll celebrate these as a job well done, but we’re just getting started and I’m excited for much, much more to come.”
Eversana won a Gold for its The Inequality You Can’t Ignore campaign in the Disease Awareness & Understanding: Direct to Patient or Healthcare Professional category on behalf of The Chrysalis Initiative, which aims to counteract breast cancer disparities and breast health inequities. The campaign explored the possible causes of the higher breast cancer mortality rate among Black women versus white women.
“Most doctors are not aware of their own unconscious biases,” Jamil Rivers, founder of The Chrysalis Initiative, says in a campaign video.
Gloria, a Black woman who survived breast cancer, recounts her approach to getting medical care.
“Basically, as you would say, put on your Sunday-best,” Gloria says. “Whatever I wore to church on Sunday, if I had a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, I could put that same thing on. They’ll pay more attention to me. They’ll offer me better treatment.”
The video closes by stating, “Inequality should never be ignored.”
“A Cannes Lion is the crème de la crème in the creative and marketing industry,” Jim Lang, Eversana CEO, stated in a statement. “To be selected is a testament to the world class creative minds across the agency who continuously bring campaigns to life that help elevate brands and impact patient lives. Congratulations to everyone and thank you for inspiring our industry to do more for those who need and deserve more.”
This article originally appeared on PRWeek US.