Social Activism & Brand Purpose

Work in 2019 reflected a move away from short-term campaign mindsets and ‘woke-washing’, as businesses began to make meaningful investments in social causes and sincere commitments to upholding values. 2019 Eurobest Healthcare Jury President, Brett O’Connor, Founder & Executive Creative Director, VCCP Health reflects on some of the winners and we take a look back at what made them great.

Brett O'Connor

Founder & Executive Creative Director, VCCP Health

2019 Healthcare Jury President

“There were some outstanding winners last year and all awe-inspiring in their own individual way. Whether helping people accept and celebrate their bodies like 'Viva La Vulva' for Essity, changing tax laws like 'The Tampon Book' for The Female Company or even sharing valuable data for the good of womankind, like 'The E.V.A. Initiative' for Volvo, in my opinion they were all more than just brilliant ideas – they had the potential to change lives.”

Insight for the future

Humour as a Trojan Horse

Last year’s multi-Grand Prix-winning 'Viva La Vulva' from AMVBBDO London tackled harmful taboos around female genitalia and did so with wit, creativity and outstanding art direction. It was described by 2019 Jury President Fura Johannesdottir as “one of those extraordinary pieces of work that breaks boundaries… and it does so in a playful, ‘don’t feel sorry for me’ style.” Although 2020 is arguably not the time for laughter, it is the time for activism. 'Viva La Vulva' changed minds and made a powerful statement, tactfully wrapped up in humour.

Generosity with Brand IP

Last year’s Grand Prix-winner from Forsman & Bodenfors Gothenburg saw Volvo release 30 years of proprietary data and open source the information to the entire car industry in a move towards keeping women as safe in cars as men are. As Fura, who led the Jury that awarded 'The E.V.A Initiative' its Digital Grand Prix, puts it: “The data, the idea and the execution came together to create a movement towards something new and interesting. These are the kinds of ideas that deserve to win.” So, what’s next? Since 2019, creativity has continued to move beyond purpose. People expect acts from brands, as opposed to empty sentiments. As Brett O'Connor tells us, “2020 has come with the obvious production challenges – but it also gave people the space to craft their work at home, without the normal day-to-day interruptions. And the trend for brands to brief purpose-led work has continued, inspiring creative to go the extra mile for causes they believe in.”