Cannes Lions: Wunderman Thompson’s entries driven by cross-border women’s empowerment

Wunderman Thompson managed to score spectacular wins at the Cannes Lions in 2021. Hoping to pick up more metal this year, the agency nominated three entries to compete against global creative works.

We spoke to the agency for a lowdown on their entries.

Unnamed Women

Warah’s “The Nameless Women” campaign aims to help women find a sense of who they are. The film shows how women from various parts of Bangladesh remain anonymous throughout their lives. They are someone’s mother, wife, or sister, but are rarely referred to by name.

The film highlights the activation by Wunderman Thompson and Warah in the village of Sangamukh in Bangladesh using the traditional Tangail Sari as a medium to convey the message. Handmade by weavers, the sari is a symbol of the country’s culture and patriotism.

Warah took this sari and with the help of the weavers created a story for the women who wore them. Each saree bore the name of its wearer reminding women of their true personality. The recreated sari represented a woman’s birth name, her birthright.

Impact: There was an increased sense of self-awareness and pride in the women who wore these sarees. The activation started a conversation that is slowly becoming a movement in Bangladesh, according to the agency.

lost girls

The Lost Daughters campaign is an attempt to raise awareness for victims of human trafficking and help more girls return home with dignity, according to the agency.

The campaign uses a Durga Puja pandal without the idol as a reminder of the hypocrisy that welcomes the Goddess as the daughter but abandons those who have been rescued from human trafficking. The venue turned into neutral ground for a reunion, where the girls came face to face with their families.

Impact: The empty pandal immediately grabbed attention and became a topic of discussion on social media platforms. In just three months, Sanlaap managed to reunite 12 happy girls with their parents.

Sanlaap, a Kolkata-based NGO, continues to raise awareness of this issue with regular lectures and awareness campaigns. The NGO has partnered with other organizations and prominent figures to encourage families to challenge the social stigma that prevents them from accepting their own daughter’s home.

Hook up the supply chain

This ad campaign takes the agency’s fight against human trafficking to another level. The AI-powered campaign targets the traffic supply chain and also offers a solution.

“From the moment they are sold into the flesh trade, they find themselves caught up in a horrible journey, launched from master to master. A cruel passing game perfected by its authors, making it almost impossible to find and save them. This sad reality is the inspiration for our campaign,” says the agency which represented their supply chains as a football formation.

“We followed a complex and elaborate art style juxtaposing the victim’s journey from a safe environment to the hands of these malefactors. As the eye travels the drawing, the victim’s story unfolds and more details are revealed. The more time you spend decoding every detail, the deeper the connection with the viewer,” explains the team.

Each poster is integrated with AR technology. When scanned, the victim’s journey is broadcast as a video. An interactive feature allows the audience to touch and flip the victim’s story. This reverses her trip and returns her to safety.

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Mara R. Wilmoth