'This Girl Can': Sport England's campaign by FCB Inferno
'This Girl Can': Sport England's campaign by FCB Inferno
A view from Al Young

'This Girl Can' exposure at Cannes is good for non-profit creativity

I've just returned from Cannes where FCB Inferno had a pretty good week, picking up a total of ten Lions. The bulk of these were awarded for Sport England's 'This Girl Can' campaign, including an inaugural Glass Lion, three golds and a Grand Prix for Good at the Health Lions.

This is obviously terrific for us as an agency trying to make our way in the world, but it occurred to me on my flight home at 41,000 feet somewhere over France, how it’s even more terrific for a cause-related campaign like 'This Girl Can'.

Responding to Sport England’s brief and the 600 pages of insight they gave us, together we created 'This Girl Can' from scratch. It’s important to remember that it didn’t even exist as a brand nine months ago.

While the campaign was solely England focused, it has achieved amazing fame around the globe.

But getting famous wasn’t the objective of the campaign. The objective was, and still is, to change behaviour. Specifically to inspire women and girls in England aged between 14 and 40 to take part in more exercise.

Winning at Cannes has given 'This Girl Can' a bigger global platform to inspire this behaviour change.

On the back of the wins, our Sport England client, Jennie Price, the chief executive, spent much of last week being interviewed by press and being quoted in widely read global platforms such as Fortune, USA Today and Huffington Post.

The Grand Prix for Good was presented to us by Aaron Sherinian, the chief communications and marketing officer at the UN Foundation. And the much anticipated Glass Lions had the high profile support of Leanin.org with its founder, Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook, sending a personal note of congratulations to us and Sport England.

Such exposure and prestige would add credibility to any advertising campaign, but for one like 'This Girl Can', which has evolved to be a genuine movement, it is wonderful icing on the cake.

As Cannes is the most global of the advertising award festivals it can help an organisation like Sport England in another way. Sport England is a UK government body and therefore has to rigidly justify how it spends taxpayers' money.

Industry endorsement at an international level such as Cannes, from influencers like Sandberg and respected bodies such as the United Nations will certainly help in budgetary conversations at a national level.

For most of us the link between creativity and greater profit is firmly established. But let’s not forget the clear link between creativity and not-for-profit. It’s just as relevant.

So if you’re a client planning a cause-related campaign, my advice is simple. Find yourself an agency that will win you a few gongs at Cannes. It’ll likely make a world of difference to you achieving your objective.

Al Young is the chief creative officer at FCB Inferno.