Working with Cancer, which was inspired by Publicis Groupe chief executive Arthur Sadoun’s experience of the disease and his desire to change corporate attitudes to it, has won the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Sadoun launched the cross-industry pledge initiative in January, “to erase the stigma of cancer in the workplace” and guarantee jobs for staff living with cancer and other chronic diseases, after going public last year about his own diagnosis during his treatment for HPV-related cancer.
The Publicis Foundation, which is backed by the French-owned agency group, worked with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (which is credited as the brand client) and other cancer charities on the initiative.
Mel Routhier, jury president of the Health and Wellness Lions and chief creative officer of VMLY&R Chicago, said: “Working with Cancer stopped us in our tracks. We not only saw a brilliantly creative idea, but we also saw a globally impactful one—with scale, inclusivity and the real potential to change employee care forever.”
Sadoun said: “I would like to sincerely thank the jury for elevating Working with Cancer to another level of global awareness. Receiving the esteemed Grand Prix for Good recognition further demonstrates what is possible when we come together for positive change. As an industry, there are not that many causes or social initiatives that we can wholly affect. Erasing the stigma of cancer in the workplace is one we can take on and change forever.”
The drive was backed by an ad campaign starring a Super Bowl spot called “Work/life” that showed what people with cancer “go through when they hide their condition from their colleagues”.
Haya Waseem, from production company Object & Animal, directed the film, working with a team led by Andy Bird, founding partner and chief creative officer of Le Truc, the New York-based Publicis agency.
Ads also ran across other media channels such as outdoor and digital, with an image of a person’s face split in two and the message: “Half of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime. All of us should support people with cancer in the workplace.”
Five Publicis agencies are credited as the entrants: Publicis Conseil Paris, Le Truc New York, Digitas New York, Saatchi & Saatchi Health New York and Publicis Groupe UK.
More than 30 companies signed up to the pledge at launch in January. They included Citi, Disney, EE, Google, Haymarket Media Group, L’Oréal, Lloyds Banking Group, LVMH, McDonald’s, Meta, Omnicom, Pepsico, Unilever and Walmart.
Over 600 companies have now signed the pledge.