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PR Lions: Cannes 2022 Decoded

BBDO Belgium takes Grand Prix, Engine and Ogilvy among UK winners

By Ian Darby

The Grand Prix in PR went to BBDO Belgium for 'The Breakaway', a campaign for the sports retailer Decathlon that created a virtual cycling team made up of prison inmates to help their re-integration into the real world.

In creating the first e-cycling team for prisoners, the activity put six inmates from a maximum-security prison in Belgium into the virtual world of cycling app Zwift, racing and riding with people from the outside as part of Decathlon's broader vision to make sport accessible to all.

Engine London won a Silver Lion and a Bronze Lion for its 'Long Live The Prince' entry for The Kiyan Prince Foundation and EA Sports. The work involved the introduction of QPR football prodigy Kiyan Prince as a playable character in the FIFA 21 game, 15 years after he was stabbed to death.

FCB Inferno captured a Silver and a Bronze Lion for the 'Dyslexic Thinking' activity for Virgin Group, and Ogilvy London won Bronze for the 'As Early as Five' entry for Unilever's Dove.

Creative Salon spoke with Tom Beckman, global chief creative officer at Weber Shandwick and a judge in the category, to find out more.

What were the key trends in the PR category?

"There was so much to be inspired by. A lot of the work, even government and PSA-type campaigns, are now expressed in the format of pop culture. There was a lot of work coming out of the Covid crisis, but it's really told in a new voice. It used to come with that political tone of voice, and with studies and reports, but now it's treated more in terms of being a pop cultural movement."

What was your favourite work in the category?

Work like 'Gender Swap' [Women in Games], which I'd encourage people to seek out, and I also liked Michelob 'Save it, See it'. It's smart and adapted to where people are and their behaviours. It has a call to action, while bringing issues to life in an interesting and fun way.

Why did the Grand Prix winner win?

"It ticked a lot of boxes. It created not a moment but a movement in Belgium for justice for all, and to address the prison system. And it's a beautiful, very relevant, example of the early days of the metaverse, which is the buzzword this year for sure. But we don't see many relevant executions, just early attempts to explore what this thing is, and then you see work like 'The Breakaway', which is a perfect, very relevant, activation and crosses between the social world and the real world. There will be early movers in the digital representation of society in places where it makes sense and enhances the experience, which includes sports for instance."

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