‘Evan’ and Fearless Girl Wrap Up a Year of Accolades With Grand Prix Wins at Epica Awards

BBDO and McCann take top honors from global ad press

BBDO New York's Evan and McCann New York's Fearless Girl won top honors at the Epica Awards. 'Evan': Sandy Hook Promise via Youtube. Fearless Girl: Getty Images.
Headshot of David Griner

BERLIN, Germany—There might not be many days left in 2017, but two of the U.S. ad industry’s globally celebrated works are still making the most of their year of seemingly endless accolades.

At the Epica Awards here this week, a Grand Prix in film has gone to BBDO New York’s “Evan” spot for Sandy Hook Promise, while the Grand Prix in outdoor went to McCann New York’s Fearless Girl statue for State Street Global Advisors.

Epica, an international award show judged by journalists who cover the marketing industry, caps off a 2017 that has seen many high honors for both works. (Disclosure: Epica jurors cannot vote on work from their home countries, so while I am Adweek’s representative on the jury, I was not involved in voting on these or other U.S. campaigns.)

Launched in December 2016, “Evan” tells the layered story of a budding teen romance, culminating in one of advertising’s most shocking twists:

Created by BBDO New York for gun violence prevention group Sandy Hook Promise, “Evan” has won more than 100 creative awards. At the 2017 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, it took home 10 Lions, including three golds. It also won gold in branded entertainment at the 2017 One Show.

At Epica, the short film won the Grand Prix in film, along with three golds—in public interest, copywriting and storytelling, and online and viral films. It also won silver at Epica in direction and cinematography.

Perhaps most important of all, it has been viewed more than 10 million times on YouTube alone, highlighting that its popularity and resonance extend far beyond award show juries.

“When you create something that engages the viewer, they tend to reward you with their most valuable commodity—their attention,” says Greg Hahn, chief creative officer of BBDO New York. “The global recognition ‘Evan’ is receiving speaks to the growing concerns surrounding gun safety, as well as the universal power of compelling storytelling.”

Fearless Girl takes top outdoor honors

Few advertising works, of course, can aspire to the sort of impact and awards success seen in 2017 by Fearless Girl, the statue placed on Wall Street by McCann New York for client State Street Global Advisors.

Created to encourage the inclusion of more women in corporate leadership—and raise awareness of the client’s SHE Fund, which invests in such companies—Fearless Girl has dominated many of the year’s advertising award shows and frequently taken top honors.

At Cannes, Fearless Girl won an astounding four Grand Prix among 18 total Lions, and it also took home the Clio Awards’ Grand Clio for Branded Content along with three Grands at LIA.

Now the statue has claimed another top prize: Epica Awards’ Grand Prix in outdoor. Although clouds seemed to be gathering over the campaign’s potential legacy after word that the client’s parent company would pay $5 million over unequal compensation for women and minority employees, the winning streak continued unabated at Epica, where it won gold in three categories—financial services, corporate image and events.

“The Fearless Girl became a media sensation in a way we never anticipated, in a very organic way,” says Rob Reilly, global creative chairman of McCann Worldgroup. “What made it so powerful was the amount of support we received from people who recognized the importance of what she stands for and kept driving the conversation forward, during a time when people are striving to reshape existing norms to better reflect their moral values.”

Here are the other U.S. campaigns that won gold this year at Epica:

• Gold, confectionary and snacks: BBDO New York for Mars Chocolate North America, “Recovery Room”
• Gold, product and brand integration: Commonwealth//McCann for Chevrolet, “Chevrolet Lego Batman”
• Gold, online campaign, food and drink: BBDO New York for Mars Chocolate North America, “A 36-Hour Live Stream to Celebrate a 30-Second Live Commercial”
• Gold, online ads: BBDO New York for Bacardi, “Artifier”

@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."