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Ketchum’s Andrew Ferguson picks the “Pocket Money – Equal Pay” campaign as his Cannes winner

‘Pocket Money – Equal Future’ by ANZ may have won a Gold PR Lion and not the Grand Prix, but Andrew Ferguson, UK director strategic and creative planning at PR firm Ketchum, describes why this campaign completely charmed him!

Pocket Money – Equal Future’ by ANZ won a Gold PR Lion but not the Grand Prix. But ultimately it shared much of the same DNA as Grand Prix winner, Swedish supermarket firm, Coop. Both built around social experiments – hardly new terrain for a PR campaign, but given renewed power and potential in the form of ‘micro-doc’ content.

Where Coop’s ‘The Organic Effect’ focuses on selling the science – measuring a family’s toxins and how they decrease with a switch to organic produce – ‘Pocket Money – Equal Pay’ went big on sentiment.

The campaign exists to make a charming point about the gender pay-gap, with young boys and girls given household chores to do together and then given different amounts of money for same job depending on their sex – boys more, girls less.

Ironically the joy comes from the bemused expressions of the hardworking little girls when presented with a few less notes than their beaming brothers. The point is made with charm and style and effectively, with childlike wonder. It distils an enduring issue down to a child-sized portion, highlighting its absurdity through the innocence of the context.

I’ve spent much of the last few years developing assets for campaigns – videos, still images, physical products and events – to help kick-start or perpetuate the conversation. I love this campaign because it’s light on all those things. It’s a simple idea born of an insight and executed with real charm.

It tackles an issue. It’s about gender inequality. But importantly, it’s entertaining and full of naive wonder. But it’s far from innocent. It’s too canny to be innocent.

Recently at his Cannes Lions talk Alejandro Inarritu said of short-form content, “Telling a story in a minute is like capturing the essence of the ocean in a drop of water.”

I think ANZ has managed to tell an infectious story about a touchy subject with a lightness of touch that brings joy to a problem. Skilful work. But not a Grand Prix winner. So it begs the question, did it really work? How are we measuring success? Is it pure-play CSR initiative unburdened by short-term financial results? That I do not know.

What I do know is that the Coop project, although lacking the pathos, entertainment and wonder, smashed it on the results front. Hats off. Toxins out.

Article written by Andrew Ferguson, UK director strategic and creative planning at  Ketchum.

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