Story behind Muhammad Ali's shoes wins Ogilvy the Industry Craft Grand Prix at Cannes

A shoe polish brand that tracked down the footwear of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali has won the Grand Prix for Cannes Lions' first Industry Craft award.

Kiwi Shoe Care, owned by SJ Johnson, won the top prize in Industry Craft for a print ad campaign that explores the lives of historical icons through the shoes they wore. 

The campaign, created by Ogilvy Chicago, photographed the shoes of six notable figures from history: Ali, Amelia Earhart, Ernest Hemingway, Abraham Lincoln, Vince Lombardi and Florence Nightingale. 

The execution that won the Grand Prix, which feature Ali’s size 13 shoes worn in 1959, is entitled "If these shoes could talk, they’d never stop walking" (see large version of ad below).

The copy starts off with a rhetorical style with which UK viewers of Marks & Spencer TV ads will be familiar: "These aren’t just any ordinary boxing shoes. These are Muhammad Ali’s boxing shoes."

The Grand Prix win follows last year’s "Portraits Completed" campaign, which earnes Kiwi Shoe Care and Ogilvy a gold and a silver Lion in Print & Publishing. 

Ogilvy Chicago also picked up a bronze for its "Lyric Opera" campaign, while New York’s Johannes Leonardo was the only other US agency to score a win in the categoy with a bronze Lion for Adidas Originals’ "Crazy is never humble".

Grey London was the sole successful UK entrant out of 47 awards given in this category. The WPP shop won silver for its "Design language" work for Braun.

The inaugural Industry Craft category is one of five new awards at Cannes Lions created this year to "reflect the modern creative marketing challenges". Industry Craft uses some categories that featured in last year’s Outdoor, Design, and Print & Publishing categories.

Brand Experience & Activation, Creative eCommerce, Social & Influencer; and Sustainable Development are also new this year.