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Marketing Can Change the World Cannes Lions Advertising

Glass Lions awards honor campaigns for change that challenge gender stereotypes


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

June 21, 2019 | 5 min read

Glass: The Lion for Change honors those campaigns that truly made a difference — where marketing helped change the world — and they were handed out on the last day of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Last Ever Issue

The Last Ever Issue won a Grand Prix Lion at Cannes

The Grand Prix Lion in the category went to VMLY&R Poland Warsaw for its work with Polish news site, Wavemaker, Mastercard and BNP Paribas on ‘The Last Issue Ever.’

For 27 years, ‘Twój Weekend’ (‘Your Weekend’) was one of Poland longest running and most read adult magazines. It was also where many Polish men, who didn’t have any formal sex education, learned about women, but the publication reduced women to sex objects, as did the pervading sexist culture in the country. In December 2018, when it was up for sale, it was bought out and closed down, but not before one final issue.

The team involved used the final issue to challenge the culture of sexism and gender inequality the magazine had contributed to building. They transformed ‘Your Weekend’ into a conversation-sparking magazine promoting diverse and progressive narratives of femininity.

It was published on International Women’s Day, and the format kept the regular sections and columns but reimagined the content around sexual education, gender portrayal, equal rights, sexism and more. It was the symbolic end of an era and a spectacular beginning for a much-needed national conversation, which it definitely sparked.

A Gold Lion for Change went to AMV BBDO for its groundbreaking ‘Viva La Vulva’ campaign.

After destigmatising period blood in advertising, Bodyform's sister brand Libresse unveiled an ad featuring a colorful chorus of singing and dancing vulvas.

'Viva La Vulva' is a joyous and bold ode to the female anatomy that seeks to fight against the myths, insecurities and stereotypes that women are subjected to when it comes to their genitals.

Libresse (known as Essity FemCare brand in the Nordics, and Bodyform in the UK) ran the campaign in Sweden and Denmark to promote its new intimate range of washers, liners and wipes.

The three-minute ad shows a plethora of vulvas ‘lip syncing’ to Take Yo Praise by Camille Yarbrough. The line-up includes a conch shell, a leaf, origami, fruit and a woman in full vulva costume.

Libresse: leaderboard-top-1 by AMV BBDO

By Libresse

Overall Rating 4/5

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Released in Scandinavia and the UK, the campaign immediately received praise around the world, from the US to India. With £0 media support, the brand video garnered more than 5m organic views in under two weeks.

A Silver Lion was won by Skoda and Fallon London for the ‘Tour des Femmes' campaign, showing the gender gap at the Tour de France, where women aren’t allowed to compete.

Tour des Femmes

Skoda selected a team of 13 women to ride all 21 stages, all 3,351 km of the Tour de France – one day ahead of the professional male cyclists. They were joined by hundreds of people that cycled with them in person, and hundreds of thousands more who cheered them on online.

The company supported them and promoted their journey to the world through TV, social platforms, online videos and PR effort.

They proved that it was possible, debunked naysayers, ignited a discussion and set the stage for change to happen.

A second Silver Lions in the category went to Dove, a brand that has long championed beauty in all its forms, and the company states that it should be a source of confidence for women — inclusive of all female-identifying and non-binary individuals.

Dove Show Us

Dove and Publicis Sapient took action with Getty Images and Girlgaze to create ‘Project #ShowUs’. It’s the world’s largest stock photo library created by women – inclusive of all female-identifying and non-binary individuals — to shatter beauty stereotypes by showing women as they are, not as others believe they should be.

Project #ShowUs features 5,000-plus photographs of women from 39 countries. 100% created and photographed by women, with zero digital distortion – available to all media and advertisers worldwide at And for the first time in stock photo history, every woman photographed has personally defined their own search tags, so they can be seen on their own terms.

Bronze Lions were won by Copenhagen Pride and Virtue Copenhagen for ‘The Genderless Voice’; Nike South Africa and Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam for ‘Just Do It: Caster Semenya’; VMLY&R Brazil and Ministerio Publico and ABAP for ‘Next Minute Scene’; and Grey Canada and Gillette for ‘First Shave’.

Gillette : First Shave #MyBestSelf by Grey Canada

By Gillette

Overall Rating 2/5

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Marketing Can Change the World Cannes Lions Advertising

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