Touching Story of Ice Bucket Challenge Co-Founder Regaining His Voice Wins Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Good

BMW Dentsu Sydney scored top prize for 'Project Revoice'

The ALS campaign itself won the same Grand Prix in 2015. ALS Association
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

CANNES, France—A series of Australian agencies won the 2018 Cannes Lion Grand Prix for good for “Project Revoice,” a campaign documenting efforts to restore basic speech to a co-founder of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The award marks a return of sorts for that viral effort to help combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which won the 2015 Grand Prix for Good after countless celebrities and others around the world shared videos of themselves pouring buckets of ice water over their heads on social media.

Pat Quinn, who is generally cited as one of the co-founders of the Ice Bucket Challenge, received his diagnosis in 2013 and went on to play a significant role in the rise of the movement.

Project Revoice drew its inspiration from the fact that, over time, the disease robbed Quinn of his ability to walk and, eventually, to speak. The campaign shows viewers how a new technology driven by Canadian company Lyrebird worked to recreate his individual tone via “voice banking.”

BWM Dentsu handled creative for the campaign with Finch and Rumble Studios on production and Haystac handling public relations.

The technology used footage of Quinn’s many public appearances discussing ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge to recreate his voice. Oskar Westerdal and René Schultz, two creatives at BWM, spent a year working with Lyrebird, Finch and the U.S.-based ALS Association to bring the project to life.

“This takes speech tech to a whole new level and means everything to how I communicate. I really didn’t like to hear my old computer voice, so I often avoided getting involved in conversations. This technology gives me back a vital piece of myself that was missing,” Quinn said in the project’s initial press release.

“Since ALS/MND is a progressive and sometimes unpredictable disease, we believe it’s crucial to get the message out now and encourage more people to start voice banking while they still can, so they have the voice material necessary to create their ‘Revoice’ when the full application launches,” added Westerdal.

ALS Association evp of communications Brian Frederick called the work “inspiring,” adding, “Our next step is to build this into a program to ensure that people with ALS can maintain that unique part of themselves—their voice—even after they lose the ability to speak.”

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.