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Is Cannes Ready for a 'Lioness' Category for the Best Pro-Woman Advertising?


A creative team from DDB Sydney gives the Cannes Lions logo a sex change—and proposes a "Cannes Lioness" category—as a way of challenging the creative festival to reward work that reverses the trend of gender-based objectification in advertising.

The 90-second video below, "Sex Sellouts," explains the idea, though the judging criteria for the proposed category are awfully vague. (We're told the Lioness honors work "that changes the culture of objectifying women in order to sell stuff," but that's about it.) Still, using industry awards to inspire ad professionals "to go against the strategy that sells so many hamburgers"—and by extension, fuel a broader media-driven conversation in society—is ironically appealing.

The video was created in response to the brief "Change the conversation around sex," and it won gold in the third round of Young Glory, an ongoing competition for advertising students and professionals. DDB worldwide creative chief Amir Kassaei evaluated the entries. Lest anyone think he simply tossed a prize to his own network, however, Young Glory maintains that the creators weren't identified in the judging phase. (Nepotism in ad awards? Never!)

Philip Thomas, CEO of the Lions Festivals, appears to be a fan. "We love the thinking behind DDB Sydney's idea," he tells AdFreak. "The representation of women in this industry, and in society at large, is something Cannes Lions feels a responsibility to address. Last year, we launched the 'See It Be It' initiative to accelerate creative women's careers in the industry. This year, we've been working hard, together with the industry, on a big idea that we'll be ready to announce in the next two weeks. It's really encouraging to see that the whole industry—veterans, rookies, male and female—is at a stage where we want to fight for the same vision."

It's unclear exactly what that "big idea" will be, or if it will in any way resemble a "Lioness" category roaring into this year's festival.

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