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Cannes’ top prize for innovation goes to Humanium


Whenever illegal weapons are captured and the authorities talk about destroying the firearms, what does that actually mean? That’s the question answered by Humanium, the initiative of IM Swedish Partner and its Stockholm agencies recently awarded with the top prize in this year’s Innovation Lion in Cannes.

The campaign seeks to unite capitalism and altruism by turning gun collection programs, which are often underfunded in the developing world, into a new manufacturing process that creates Humanium metal that brands can buy to produce a wide range of goods like jewelry and tools.

“The global cost of gun-related violence is US$400 billion annually,” notes the Humanium project’s case study video. “The negative impact on society diminishes with each gun destroyed. As a result, Humanium can truly be defined as the most valuable metal in the world.”

A bar of Humanium currently sells to individuals for 25,000 Swedish krona (about US$3,000), with the money going to project creator IM Swedish Partner’s work collecting firearms and helping victims of gun violence in the developing world. Companies interested in using the material commercially are being asked to reach out to IM Swedish Partner via its website.

Innovation Lions jury President Susan Lyne, president of BBG Ventures, said Humanium “showed innovation at every stage of the project—from concept to the procurement process to supply chain innovation to the business model to the partnerships they developed.”

The jury of 10 members was 50/50 men and women and for the first time Cannes expanded the Innovation category to include gold, silver and bronze winners because the category had “matured” enough, said Lyne.

In general, nonprofits cannot win a Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions except the Grand Prix for Good, which honors noncommercial work. However, the Innovations Lions have different rules that allow organizations of any kind to win—and precluding them from winning the Grand Prix for Good at the final awards ceremony.

There were two other Gold Lion winners in this category, out of an impressive shortlist. One was Google’s Tilt Brush, which allows artists to paint in 3D through a virtual reality application.

The other gold winner was “Los Santos Pride”, created by another Swedish agency, Stockholm-based Garbergs. It’s a free unofficial modification for Grand Theft Auto 5 that launched last summer, staging an indestructible pride parade within the game to celebrate Stockholm Pride.

When looking at Silver, the US Postal Service was one of the winners thanks to the campaign “Your voice is your stamp” by MRM and McCann. The International Potato Center’s ad “Potatoes on Mars” by Ogilvy and Mather was also awarded, while the campaign “I’m Ada, I can help” by KBS Albion for Ada Health also received an award.

Cyrcadia Health’s ITBra – a wearable that detects cancer – received a Bronze lion and each woman on the jury took one home. It didn’t win the top prize because Lyne said the jury couldn’t measure impact yet. Other bronze winners were “Earth VR” by Google, “Liam” by Apple and “Gravity light” by Shell.

“We had many conversations about this. I’m absolutely hoping that the fact it won a bronze sill gives it a platform that it otherwise might not have had. Every single woman on the jury took home one of these. Nobody wants this to succeed more than we do,” Lyne said about ITBra.

“Unlimited Stadium” for Nike by BBH Singapore was also highlighted for its innovative work but at the creativity’s Promo & Activation category, in which it won four bronze statues. The campaign saw Nike build a physical stadium in the heart of Manila where runners can engage in a virtual race against avatars of themselves. The avatars run further and faster – pushing runners to really test their limits.

PH: Humanium

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