There’s Cannes Film Festival that honors the best movies and there’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that honors the most noteworthy efforts in advertising. They are equally prestigious award bodies in their respective industries. It’s therefore impressive that Smart Communications, together with ad agency DM9JaymeSyfu, bagged the Grand Prix or the highest award for Cannes Lions this year, the first ever Grand Prix for the Philippines.
More than 1,000 entries competed for the award and while others may be more creative and better made, the simple ad for Smart TXBKS won mainly because it is a practical and effective approach to a pressing social issue which is education in a poor country like the Philippines.
Smart TXTBKS is a campaign that helps students in elementary schools in the Philippines learn subjects using mobile phones. What the project did is condense textbooks and workbooks into 160-character messages that were stored in Smart SIM cards. These SIM cards work even with the most basic mobile phone. The SIM cards were distributed to public schools in the Philippines and will be distributed to more schools in the country. Based on the study of the agency DM9JaymeSyfu, schools that participated in the project achieved 95 percent attendance rate and an average test performance of 90 percent.
Smart TXTBKS help students lighten their daily load since they don’t have to bring all books to school anymore. And in a country where poverty is rampant, mobile phones are practical alternatives to tablets and smartphones.
Here’s the video featuring the Smart TXTBKS campaign.