Chicago creatives bring home 15 Lions for their city

“Boards of Change” receives the Titanium Lion – the top creative award

Chicago creatives are the recipients of 15 Cannes Lions International Festival Awards, including the Titanium Lion – the top creative award in the world for the “Boards of Change” work.

In addition to the awarded Cannes Lions, the City of Chicago was recognized at The One Show 2021, receiving one Grand Prix, four gold, four silver, and five bronze in addition to the Titanium Lion.

“Chicago has always been renowned for being home to countless creatives, whose artistic prowess has improved our city from the inside out,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Last year, so many of these creatives chose to partner with the City and use the power of art, media and communication to convey powerful messages that continue to resonate with people to this day. Now, one year later, we are beyond proud to be formally recognized as a bastion of the creative world and are looking forward to finding even more ways to leverage partnerships with our incredibly talented artistic community.”

These awards are a result of the branding work done for the city by various partners, including the nearly 30 agencies that signed onto the City’s “By Chicago. For Chicago” pledge. The pledge, announced October of last year, is a commitment by creative agencies to dedicate one percent of all hours worked towards non-profit, social, and cultural organizations and City agencies. This work includes the development of creative campaigns, social media content, marketing materials, integrated media strategies, and virtual or live events.

“I’m incredibly proud of Chicago’s creative community for coming together in this way, and in this moment in our city’s history,” said Michael Fassnacht, Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago, and President & CEO, World Business Chicago, the city’s economic development agency. “Chicago’s greatest strength is in our diversity – from our people and our authenticity, to our 77 neighborhoods each with their own distinctive character, to the hundreds of languages spoken. At our core, we are a city of creatives, doers, and active citizens of the larger, global community. United is our passion to see our beloved Chicago realize it’s next renaissance, one anchored in equity and inclusivity, where everyone has access to opportunity, prosperity and a life they desire. It should go without saying that I am thrilled to have the City recognized at Cannes which is easily the most prestigious award show worldwide.”

FCB’s “Boards of Change” initiative, where plywood from last summer’s civil unrest was repurposed and transformed into voter registration booths and placed in areas where voter registration was low, has been highly recognized at Cannes.

“’Boards of Change’ transformed symbols of anger and frustration into voting booths that helped inspire hope and amplify voices,” said Andrés Ordóñez, Chief Creative Officer of FCB Chicago. “This transformation served as another reminder of the role elections play in creating change and proved that creativity can fuel meaningful action.”

With COVID-19’s arrival in the city early last year, it became clear that creative communication was more important than ever before. With the help of agencies like Flowers Communications Group, the City, was able to provide targeted messaging to our Spanish-speaking residents through the “Esto Salva Vidas” (This Saves Lives) video, showing the importance of wearing a face-covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This video recently won a Golden Trumpet Award in the “Best Video” category from the Publicity Club of Chicago, the Midwest’s most prestigious awards program.

“We are quite honored to work with the City of Chicago on its marketing efforts to provide information and education about COVID-19 and the vital importance of vaccination,” said Michelle Flowers Welch, Chairman & CEO of Flowers Communications Group. “We’ve been a partner in the work to protect Chicagoans since last year, with a much-needed emphasis on Black and Brown communities. It’s gratifying to have earned a Publicity Club of Chicago Silver Trumpet for the video “Esto salva vidas. Póntela.”

“This saves lives. Wear it.” was a grassroots campaign in Latino communities to reinforce the importance of the simple, yet powerful act of wearing a mask. We truly hope that we helped to motivate and encourage people who watched that video to make the personal commitment to aid in the fight against the virus and wear a mask.”

The City also announced that Ogilvy, a city partner, was recognized at the Cannes festival for their work on The Chicago Design System, Chicago’s public visual identity that is now used throughout all City departments. This design system also enables the public to show their civic pride and can be spotted throughout Chicago.

Ogilvy Chicago has called Chicago home for nearly 50 years. While awards for creativity are rewarding, the bigger reward comes from designing a visual identity that’s been embraced by the city and its people,” said Joe Sciarrotta, Deputy Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide. “Long after many of the rewarded campaigns have come and gone, the Chicago Design System will continue to serve the people of Chicago as a beautifully simple, unified municipal design befitting a global city.”

The “Stay home, save lives” series that encouraged residents to stay home at the beginning of the pandemic was recognized at the Chicago American Advertising Awards, the Shorty, Awards, and the Webby Awards. And, perhaps one of the most recognizable videos of 2020, with millions of views, is the “Stay home, save lives” series that encouraged residents to do just that, stay home and save lives. The series was created by the City and Havas agency.


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