At the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, held between June 17 and 21, 2019, BBDO Pakistan received five lions for "The Bridal Uniform" and "Truck Art Childfinder". While the former won a Bronze Lion, the latter received two Silver Lions and two Bronze Lions.
"The Bridal Uniform" campaign for UN Women aimed to raise awareness for child marriages in Pakistan, while “Truck Art Childfinder” is part of Berger Paints’ initiative to effectively find missing children.
Hijacking bridal couture week with ‘The Bridal Uniform’
To capture the attention of the general public, media groups and parliamentarians, BBDO, in collaboration with designer Ali Xeeshan ‘hijacked’ the Bridal Couture Week show (held in Lahore on December 2017) by introducing an unusual ‘model’ at the end of the fashion show: a young girl wearing a school uniform, embellished with bridal motifs, and wedding jewellery.
Ali Rez, Regional Creative Director for Middle East & Pakistan, BBDO, states: “Our belief is always ‘Acts, not ads,’ something we stuck to with this project. Our culture is obsessed with weddings and marriages, and so we decided to hijack what was the biggest celebration of the custom: bridal outfits. We intended to provide a solution in the form of a school uniform: the longer a girl remains in school, the higher the chances that she will not be married at a young age.”
The Bridal Uniform’s main objective was for this message to reach policymakers, which it did, as a senator from the National Assembly commented on the campaign. Following the fashion show, several on-ground activities took place, which educated the public about the detrimental effects of child marriages. Incidentally, the ‘Bridal Uniform’ won a Silver Effie Award earlier this year; it has previously won two Cannes Lions, a Clio, a Dubai Lynx Glass Award as well as a Glass Spike, and a Gold, Silver and five Bronzes at Spikes Asia.
Creating awareness for missing people with “Truck Art Childfinder”
Truck Art Childfinder aims to find missing children and educate people about how they can report a missing child or person through the Roshni Helpline. This activity required teams to paint the backs of trucks (which are famous for traditional truck art), with portraits of missing children and Roshni’s helpline number.
“Truck Art Childfinder solves the strategic problem of disseminating information about missing children in a nation where not much infrastructure exits to locate them, and where traditional media does not penetrate remote locations,” says Rez. “Using the most mobile form of media possible in the country – trucks – we felt that the usual portraits on the back of trucks could easily be replaced with portraits of missing children and a hotline number.”
Conceptual artist and human rights activist Samar Minallah Khan and her team collaborated with BBDO on the project to create the portraits of 20 missing children on the back of trucks. When asked what drew her to truck art, Khan states, “Beyond the unique aesthetic, it was the idea of a billboard on wheels that blends so seamlessly into any local setting”. Filmmaker Sarah Tareen, who produced a short video to promote the project, adds: “It is an honour to represent Pakistan at such a prestigious platform, and to be bestowed with the recognition. We hope that through this effective campaign more children will be reunited with their families.“
According to Rez, 20 trucks have travelled thousands of kilometres and the response has been “overwhelming.” Roshni Helpline has received over 3,000 calls from 39 different cities, and seven missing children have been found so far.
Rez says that the biggest outcome of this project has been that other missing peoples’ reports have been filed by people “who would not know where to go otherwise.” BBDO plan to paint 25 more trucks next month in Karachi.