CANNES, France—U.S. ad agencies got off to a good start at Cannes on Monday, with Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Digitas winning the Grand Prix in the Promo & Activation Lions contest for an American Express campaign designed to give small businesses a boost during the holiday shopping season.
The point of Small Business Saturday, introduced in 2010, was to give small businesses their own version of Black Friday. (The latter, of course, skews toward giant retailers.) In 2011, CP+B and Digitas supercharged the program, giving small businesses a powerful digital took kit that included a YouTube video maker so they could make their own ads, a Facebook page builder and a way to launch online deals through Foursquare. Half a million businesses used the tools.
Meanwhile, consumers who registered their AmEx card on Facebook and patronized a participating retailer got a $25 credit. AmEx also recruited politicians to endorse the idea—from the local level all the way up to the national level. (The U.S. Senate unanimously declared Small Business Saturday to be an official day.)
This campaign is clearly a big idea that goes well beyond advertising, affecting the very structure of commerce for small businesses. It makes last year's Promo & Activation winner—McCann Romania's provocative campaign to anger citizens by Americanizing a local candy bar—look quite provincial by comparison.
In all, 86 Promo Lions were awarded. Among the Gold Lion winners in the category was the Help Remedies bone-marrow registry kit, dreamed up by a Droga5 creative to be packaged with ordinary bandages.