Whirlpool Wins a Grand Prix at Cannes for Using Data (and Washing Machines) to Keep Kids in School

'Care Counts' wins top honor in Creative Data

CANNES, France—For most of us, having access to clean clothes every day is something easily taken for granted. But for thousands of schoolchildren, the lack of clean clothes is a source of shame so powerful it can keep them out of school.

Whirlpool’s attempt to address the problem, called “Care Counts,” placed free washers and dryers in schools, then tracked whether the donations affected attendance rates. The project was both heartwarming and effective, with student turnout remaining consistently strong in participating schools.

Today, the Creative Data Lions jury at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity honored the Whirlpool effort, created with agencies DigitasLBi and Ketchum, with the category’s top honor: Grand Prix.

The campaign nearly met a very different fate, however. Jury president Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar, said that “Care Counts” actually wasn’t even in the jury’s initial shortlist for Grand Prix. But juror Lisa Weinstein, CEO of Engine Media, made a passionate case for the campaign and won over her fellow panelists, Salama said.

The Whirlpool effort, Salama said, represents an important shift from “storytelling to story doing,” illustrating how brands can have a practical and positive impact.

The other U.S. winners in the Creative Data category were:

• Gold and silver: Marriott International, “M Live International Real-Time Command Center.” Agency: MEC Global.
• Silver: Spotify, “Thanks 2016, It’s Been Weird.” Agency: In-house.
• Bronze: Burger King, “Google Home of the Whopper.” Agency: David Miami
• Bronze: Vidax Center, “AI Buddy.” Agencies: We Believers New York, Nunchaku Cine Buenos Aires.
• Two bronzes: Microsoft, “Microsoft Course IQ.” Agencies: MRM/McCann New York and Carat New York.