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Cannes is overrun with guns

By Karen Howe – Senior Vice President, Creative Director,One

Often a theme reveals itself at the Cannes Lions Festival. In 2013 it was organ donation.

This year it is guns.

At the opening award ceremony of the week, guns were golden. “The Gun Shop” entry from NYC picked up one of the first gold lions of the night. This activation was a pop-up gun store in Manhattan with a difference — every gun on display included its history. One buyer considering a hand gun changed his mind when told that the gun had been used by a 5-year old who accidentally killed his baby brother. The gun histories were true, and the human context of each weapon helped to persuade potential buyers to reconsider. New Yorkers Against Gun Violence says its goal was educate. Having a gun in your home often makes you less safe.

“Groceries not Guns” was also awarded. Created by agency Grey Canada, it took aim at Kroger’s absurd policy of allowing open-carry of firearms. Ice creams cones are not allowed in the grocery store, nor are puppies. But an assault rifle is.

The third gold lion went to “The Unforgotten”, an installation by FCB Chicago to commemorate those killed by gun violence. Headless life-sized models wearing the actual clothes of the victims were installed around a city in Illinois. Each, when scanned by mobile phone, brought that person “back to life” to tell their story. Who they were and how a gun ended their life.

Here’s to hoping that the creativity we’ve seen celebrated here goes beyond collecting gold statues and helps the bring about change in what is clearly one of the most profound social issues of our time.

Cannes Lions

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