The big win on Saturday night at Cannes was the Lions Health Grand Prix for Good for Immunity Charm – a campaign made by McCann Health, New Delhi/ McCann Worldgroup India, Mumbai, for the Ministry of Public Health, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It revolves around the idea of colour-coded wristbands for children, that automatically tells doctors their vaccination status in a nation where information about a child’s health records is not always available. It draws on the Afghan tradition of tying black ‘lucky charms’ on children’s wrists to deliver a simple result.
Commenting on the win, Prasoon Joshi, CEO, India and Chairman (Asia Pacific) of McCann Worldgroup, said, “Winning the top honour at a festival like Cannes is really special. I have been fortunate to give this honour to others in the past as Jury chairman, but receiving this honour is unmatchable. Also, making meaningful contribution to people’s lives is what I believe advertising should do, and this campaign does exactly that. I am proud of my entire team that worked on this campaign.” Joshi, however, could not make it to Cannes to receive the award.
Harshit Jain, Senior Vice President & Country Manager McCann Health India, said his young son – then eight months old – gave him the idea for the Immunity Charm campaign. After receiving the award on the Cannes Lions stage, he said, “I am feeling very excited, privileged and honoured with this win, in addition to four golds, four silvers and one bronze. It is not a small win. India has won the Lions Health Grand Prix for Good for the first time ever, and what we are excited about is that the campaign will reach millions of children and actually save lives.”
On crafting the campaign, Jain said, “There was no specific brief given to us. We work with the Ministry of Public Health, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to help them create health communication campaigns. So we know that Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate anywhere in the world and we had to do something about it. It so happened that one day at home, we were having this dinner conversation where talk veered to our eight-month-old son and the fact that we used to make him wear a bracelet everyday, which would protect him from evil energies. And then I said why can’t we use the same method for compliance of vaccination to save children’s lives? And then Immunity Charm happened. I always credit my son Lavit, now 16 months old, for giving me this idea. It took us eight months to make it happen.”
The Lions Health Grand Prix for Good award was judged by Caleb Tiller, Executive Director of Communications & Public Affairs, the United Nations Foundation, and members of the Pharma and Health & Wellness Juries: Mike Rodgers, June Laffey, Christine Abbott and R. John Fidelino. “The Immunity Charm is really a great piece of work because it’s so simple. In big countries like the US and UK, we are talking about wearable tech. What we really have here in a country like Afghanistan is for young children to have the vaccines status as a wearable. That’s a whole different kind of wearable. It’s what they have been using all their lives, from generation to generation, so it’s not something that they have to adapt to and be neutral. It’s a fantastic way in a country where people are moving around, they don’t have any constant doctors; so it’s a way for doctors to keep in touch with each other through this immunity charm.” Rodgers told exchange4media.
On what made the jury pick this campaign over all others, Rodgers said, “One of the filters that we applied is life-changing creativity. Many campaigns do things, many others raise money and many help people in certain ways, but to look for something that really changes the lives and even saves the lives of young children in a country that is so devastated with war like Afghanistan, and then with such a simple idea, it’s both clever, and also incredibly emotional. That was to everybody in the jury a very big point.”
The Lions Health Grand Prix for Good is open to Gold Lion winning entries ineligible for a Grand Prix in their section. Commenting on the Grand Prix, Caleb Tiller of the UN Foundation said, “The Lions Health Grand Prix for Good award sits at the cross-section of creativity and social impact. It’s an exciting time for our community, as cross-pollination between sectors is creating new opportunities to engage people in driving social change and improving lives.”