Grey Toronto Wins Grand Effie for Ads Urging Kroger to Change Its Open-Carry Gun Policy

'Groceries Not Guns' takes top prize, a first for Canada

Grey in Toronto nabbed the first Grand Effie award for a Canadian agency tonight at the Effie Awards.

The win, for the "Groceries Not Guns" campaign, makes Moms Demand Action the second nonprofit to take home the top Effie prize. (Work for another nonprofit, Detroit Public Schools, won in 2010 with a campaign from Leo Burnett.)

A jury of five women and seven men awarded "Groceries Not Guns" for raising awareness and helping change gun-carry policies at some of the country's biggest retailers. The campaign targeted the nation's top grocery chain, Kroger, and its policy allowing firearms in stores in states that have open-carry laws. While the effort did not result in a change at Kroger, it did result in Safeway/Albertsons—the country's second largest grocery chain—and Target changing their policies and going gun-free.

Moms Demand Action's efforts created 15,763 no-carry zones, which are frequented by over 7 million Americans each day. The "Groceries Not Guns" campaign garnered 350 million unique impressions from earned media as well as 360,000 petition signatures, 16,000 complaint calls to Kroger and 213,000 new Moms Demand Action members—a total of 1.5 million individual responses to the effort. 

"Overall, it was an example of amazing mobilization and advocacy that had actually gotten results up against some pretty stiff competition," said Effie Worldwide CEO and president Neal Davies.

Jury member Carla Serrano, CEO at Publicis New York, said in a statement, "The Grand Effie winner had an ambitious goal to influence legislation by strategically going after corporate America. There's a lot to learn about how this case reframed the gun control debate and galvanized a million moms in an effective way." 

Six other finalists competed for the top prize: Publicis' "In Support of New Moms" for Abbott Nutrition's Similac; BBDO in New York's "Cigarettes Out. Health In." for CVS Health; Ogilvy & Mather and Terry & Sandy's "Chew University" for Gerber; Epsilon's "Flonase Allergy Relief Over-the-Counter Launch" for GlaxoSmithKline; Deutsch in Los Angeles' "Breakfast Defectors from the Routine Republic" for Taco Bell; and Team Unilever Shopper's "CVS Love Your Skin" for Dove, Vaseline, Simple. 

The award ceremony, which was held at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York, honored work that ran from September 2014 to August 2015. 

Procter & Gamble again topped the Effie Index, making the company the most effective marketer in North America for the sixth consecutive year. CVS Health, Truth and Walmart tied for the Effie Index's most effective brand, while WPP was the most effective holding group and Ogilvy & Mather the most effective agency network. Ogilvy & Mather in New York was the most effective agency office, and San Francisco-based Heat was named most effective independent agency. 

See the full winners' list here.