AMSTERDAM—U.S. agencies took home a third of the top honors tonight at the Epica Awards, a competition judged by international advertising journalists from Kazakhstan to London.
The Grand Prix for responsibility went to McCann New York for a campaign that empowered survivors of the Parkland, Fla., shooting and other students to speak out against the gun lobby. “Price on Our Lives” calculated the amount of money lawmakers took from NRA lobbyists for every student in Florida—$1.05—and printed price tags for kids to wear at the March for Our Lives.
The printable accessory became a talking point for students thrust onto the national stage after the February shooting. Young activists with large social followings amplified the campaign—they included Emma Gonzalez with 1.5 million followers and David Hogg with 782,400—and kids in every state can calculate and print their own price tags.
Sean Bryan, co-chief creative officer at McCann NY, said Gabrielle Levy, a young producer at the agency who had gone to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and knew the kids, approached him a few days after the Parkland tragedy asking “if there was anything we could do to help.”
“And when we got on the phone with the March for Our Lives team, we found them to be some of the most organized, driven and experienced ‘clients’ we had ever worked with,” Bryan said. “This is an issue we care about passionately, and we’re so proud of the work the team did. If it can help make this crisis we’re facing even a little less severe, it’s more than worth it.”
Meanwhile, 72andSunny snagged the Grand Prix in design for giving the city of Los Angeles a modern new logo. Created for the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles and praised by the jury for its flexible design, the L.A. logo invites residents to riff off it, adding any image they can imagine in the space between the two letters.
According to 72andSunny’s design director, Peter Reid, “This project brought out such passion from our agency. It was an incredible opportunity to brand the city we live in and ignite the local culture while investing in the creative community of Los Angeles as a whole.”
The logo became the star of a campaign called “L.A. Original,” a metaphor for the city’s creative energy and a showcase for homegrown businesses. Items that pop up between the L and the A include the city skyline, Snapchat ghost, graffiti, Space Shuttle Endeavour and a Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts. The spot is set to Kendrick Lamar’s kicky “Humble,” which is anything but.
Interestingly, both Grand Prix winners created something customizable, meant to empower specific groups and capable of living well beyond the release date. “Price on Our Lives” also won gold in public relations and silver in consumer direct, and L.A. won gold in brand identity.
The Epica Awards started 31 years ago and includes jury members from Slovenia, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Paris and beyond. (I represented Adweek and the U.S. this year.) Jurors abstain from voting on bronze, silver and gold work from their home countries, but they can participate in the discussion about Grand Prix contenders.