By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

June 21, 2022 | 3 min read

Among 298 entries in the Pharma category this year, an innovative project designed to preserve the voices of patients who are losing them took home the Grand Prix at Cannes on Monday.

One of the best ways to demonstrate the power of an innovation is through the lives it touches. Such is the case with VMLY&R’s ad, ‘I Will Always Be Me,’ which earned the Pharma Grand Prix award at Cannes Lions on Monday. The spot, created for Dell Technologies and Intel, does not spotlight a particular product, but rather showcases how an innovative system is changing the lives of people suffering from a rare terminal illness.

Motor neurone disease, or MND, is a disease that strips people of their voices before it takes their lives. For years, those with the condition could create a digital copy of their voice through a process known as 'voice banking.' The problem is that the process takes three months on average.

VMLY&R worked with Dell Technologies and Intel to create a new solution — a way to bank a voice through a short story. When read aloud, the book helps people explain what they’re experiencing, while creating a digital copy of their voice at a much faster speed.

The spot depicts people with the condition reading bits of the intensely raw book out loud. Some patients shed tears; others embrace loved ones. “Everything is changing, but I will always be me, and I will always love you,” says one person.

"This piece of work blew our minds [by] the way in which they manage, through the user experience, to tell a very simple story about their condition to loved ones, friends and family," said Brett O’Connor, executive creative director at VCCP Health UK, who serves as the Cannes Pharma category jury president. "The genius behind the user experience to decrease the process down from three months to 30 minutes for us was just invaluable, especially at a time in their lives when every second counts."

The new system, co-created with partners Rolls-Royce and the MND Association, helped to increase the number of MND sufferers who banked their voices from 12% to 72%.

The Cannes Lions Festival began yesterday and will run through June 24.

Check out all the big winners at Cannes this year.

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