Written by David Griner on June 24, 2017
CANNES, France—It’s official: Fearless Girl is one of the most highly honored campaigns in the history of the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity.
The Wall Street statue, created by agency McCann New York for State Street Global Advisors as a way to encourage more companies to put women in leadership, today won its fourth and final Grand Prix at Cannes, this time in the coveted Titanium category.
The Titanium Lions honor marketing creativity that transcends traditional categories like media, film or radio. The Titanium Grand Prix capped off a week that also saw Fearless Girl take top honors in the Cannes categories of PR and outdoor, along with the Grand Prix in the Glass Lions, honoring work that advocates for gender equality.
Fearless Girl is now one of only two campaigns that have ever won four Grand Prix at Cannes, with the other being Harvey Nichols’ “Sorry, I Spent It on Myself” in 2014. The festival’s most honored campaign was 2013’s viral hit “Dumb Ways to Die”—created by McCann Melbourne—which racked up five Grand Prix.
“We came to Cannes thrilled that Fearless Girl had caught the world’s attention and that gender diversity in the corporate world had a visible champion,” said Devika Bulchandani, managing director of McCann New York. “But winning here, especially the Titanium Grand Prix, is exhilarating and humbling.”
Cannes Lions judges praised Fearless Girl for pulling off two seemingly contradictory successes: being both timely and permanent.
“That is not an ad. That is beyond anything we’ve ever done. That is permanent,” said Titanium Lions jury president Tham Khai Meng, worldwide CCO of Ogilvy.
“We may not be here anymore one day, but that thing, that icon, will stay there forever. That’s what we love about it, that longevity,” Khai said. “In our business, the stuff we do can be fish-and-chip paper the next day. But this thing has a permanence.”
(Adweek spoke to Fearless Girl’s creative team earlier this week in Cannes. Be sure to watch the video interview for the story and surprising details behind the campaign.)
While the statue’s resonance in social media highlighted the fact that digital success can often stem from a purely offline idea, jurors said the lesson to take away is not that marketing needs more statues.
“I don’t think Fearless Girl is about the sculpture at all. We’re not saying as a jury that everyone should go out and make sculptures in the world,” said Titanium Lions juror Chloe Gottlieb, U.S. CCO of R/GA. “That’s the danger—I can imagine briefs coming out to agencies, ‘We want something permanent, a permanent sculpture.’ But that’s not the point. The point of Fearless Girl is her timeliness.”
In all, Fearless Girl won 18 Cannes Lions:
• Titanium: Grand Prix
• Outdoor: Grand Prix, one gold
• PR: Grand Prix, one gold, one silver
• Glass: Grand Prix
• Promo & Activation: Two golds, one silver
• Media: Two golds
• Direct: Two golds, one silver, one bronze
• Design: Two golds
Gottlieb said that Fearless Girl was the only campaign that had become well known in every nation represented on the Titanium Jury.
“It was loved globally,” she said. “That’s because it so simple and quiet in its strength but loud in the message it conveys.”