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Creativity for good – how a new alphabet preserved a culture

by | Jul 12, 2023

Continuing in our review of some of the 34 Grand Prix Winners from this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2023 – this time it’s the Creative Business Transformation GP Winner and the Glass Lions.

The Creative Business Transformation is a relatively new Lion – the organisers say: “the techniques and working practices for business transformation are as creative as the work they foster – changing business models, re-thinking measurement, and sourcing creative ideas from unlikely places.”

27 campaigns were shortlisted this year, with just 10 being awarded gongs. The Renault Plug-Inn idea that we wrote about last time in our Creative Strategy write up, also won a gold gong here.

Creative Business Transformation Lions

Adlam – An Alphabet to Preserve a Culture, from Microsoft (McCann)

The Fulani people of West Africa are the world’s largest nomadic group, but their language has always been a spoken one. When writing, they have to borrow from other alphabets, and the meaning of their words is becoming lost.

Two young Fulani brothers decided they’d create their own alphabet for the language they spoke, but they were hampered by the fact that, until now, it was completely handwritten. 

The idea: Microsoft, building on a campaign spearheaded by the world-famous McCann agency, set about developing a new digital keyboard so that the language could enter the 21st century. The alphabet was sharpened for ease of use, too, with typeface experts brought in to help refine it.

The delivery: The alphabet – named Adlam – was made available on Microsoft 365 and now underpins the daily machinations of countless Fulani businesses and educational establishments.

The result: A dying language and culture has been saved. Hard to put a price (or social media score) on that. As Shayne Millington, co-chief creative officer, McCann Worldgroup, said:

“We solve problems using creativity all the time, but creating real impact that will last far beyond our years is the true goal.”

Glass: The Lion for Change celebrates culture-shifting creativity

The Glass Lion is relatively new at Cannes – introduced in 2015 – this award recognises work that addresses issues of gender inequality or prejudice, through the conscious representation of gender in advertising.

Cannes say: “Entries will need to demonstrate ideas intended to change the world; work which sets out to positively impact ingrained gender inequality, imbalance or injustice, and should illustrate how the work tackles, highlights or redresses issues of gender representation.”

Arguably one of the most important awards celebrating creativity for good, and problem-solving really chewy and important societal issues. This year’s Grand Prix Winner represents the top prize in a category with 184 entries and just 7 Lions awarded.

Knock Knock – Silent help for domestic abuse victims won the Glass Lions Grand Prix

The Korean National Police Agency’s (KNPA) campaign introduced an inclusive police emergency call solution for people in a situation where they cannot speak. The campaign, aims to reach out to concealed victims of domestic violence, as numerous cases have gone unreported to law enforcement since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The “White Paper on Public Safety to Protect the Socially Underprivileged,” released by the KNPA revealed a significant 9% decline in reported domestic violence cases in South Korea last year compared to 2019.

The idea: Working with advertising agency Cheil Worldwide, they developed a groundbreaking solution, called Knock Knock, drawing inspiration from Morse code, to assist individuals in dangerous situations in contacting the police without uttering a word.

The delivery: Individuals who are unable to speak but require police assistance can dial 112. Once connected to the police, they can tap any number twice, mimicking the rhythm of Morse code. Subsequently, the police call handler will send the caller a link to click, enabling immediate tracking of their location and providing real-time visuals of the scene through the caller’s phone camera. The solution also facilitates a discreet chat mode, featuring a user interface. The initiative was promoted via digital, social, radio, and out-of-home channels as well as ‘secret’ channels to speak to women in particular who may be subject to domestic violence – in nail bars, beauty apps and other targeted routes.

The results: Coverage on every major news channel, and 5,749 links were sent to the emergency services using the service following the launch to people in emergency situations.

Here at Now Go Create we’re obsessive about creative ideas, and unpicking creative strategy, insights and effectiveness. Contact claire@nowgocreate.co.uk if you want a chat about how we can help you and your team develop their creative capabilities.

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