Cannes Lions Ad of the Day Marketing

Cannes Lions of the Day: ‘JFK Unsilenced’ wins Creative Data Grand Prix at Cannes


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

June 22, 2018 | 3 min read

It was the speech John F. Kennedy was supposed to make that fateful day in Dallas in 1963 when he was gunned down and silenced seemingly forever. But, through the power of artificial intelligence, The Times and creative agency Rothco brought JFK’s voice to the speech he never got to make that day, and took home the Creative Data Lions Grand Prix on Thursday in Cannes.

Accenture agency Rothco was tasked with helping launch The Times’ ‘Find your voice campaign’ to its readers and potential readers around the world, with the objective of repositioning The Times as a paper that represents many differing voices.

Rothco spent months researching and collecting every single piece of available Kennedy analog audio. The final piece recreated, in his voice, the Dallas Trade Mart speech Kennedy never got to make 55 years ago, using bits of 831 speeches in the process. Combinations of sounds were selected and smoothed together by months of painstaking sound engineering to make it happen, a first for data enhanced creative storytelling.

In the speech, JFK calls for people to stop listening to nonsense and says that “America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason, or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality…” will continue to confuse what is essentially right and wrong, real and false. He closes with: “We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of ‘peace on earth, good will toward men’.”

Alan Kelly, executive creative director at Rothco, when the campaign came out earlier this year, said: “When we delved into the words JFK had written for the Trade Mart speech, we found they were not only poignant for the time but strikingly relevant today. By bringing his voice back to life to deliver this speech, the message is even more powerful.”

To hear the speech, click on the Creative Works box below.

Other Grand Prix winners Thursday at Cannes included: 'My Line Powered by Google' (Innovation) by MullenLowe SSP Bogota for the Government of Colombia's Ministry of Communication and Technology; 'Kingo' (Product Design) by Ogilvy Colombia and Guatemala and Powell Communications for the company Kingo; 'Palau Pledge' (Direct) by Host/Havas Sydney for the Palau Legacy Project; 'Tesco's Food Love Stories' (Media) by Mediacom and BBH London; 'Trash Isles', for a second Grand Prix win, (PR) by AMV BBDO London for Plastic Oceans/LADBible; and 'Nothing Beats a Londoner' (Social & Influencer) by Wieden+Kennedy London for Nike.

For more of The Drum's coverage of Cannes Lions, click here.

The Times: advert-body-4 by Rothco

By The Times

Overall Rating 5/5

Vote now
Cannes Lions Ad of the Day Marketing

Content created with:

Cannes Lions

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a global event for those working in the creative communications, advertising and related fields. It is considered...

Find out more


Over the past 23 years ROTHCO has risen to become a leading creative agency in Ireland. But they have always been driven by a global ambition. To this end they have...

Find out more

More from Cannes Lions

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +