WhatsApp Campaign Tells Harrowing Escape Story, Wins Entertainment Grand Prix

The harrowing life-and-death story of how the Afghan National Girls Football team escaped their homeland after the Taliban took over the country in 2021 won this year’s Entertainment Lions Grand Prix. 

The campaign, titled “We Are Ayenda” is anchored by a nearly half-hour long documentary that shows how the mobile phone app WhatsApp was secure enough to enable planning that eventually led to the team’s escape on a flight to Portugal.  

The film intermixed chaotic scenes during the Taliban takeover with interviews of the team players and those who plotted the escape along with screenshots of the WhatsApp messaging as it unfolded in real-time.  

“The film represents hope and demonstrates a perfect marriage of narrative storytelling with the brand playing a central and critical role,” said Entertainment Lions Jury President Geoffrey Edwards, managing director, Cceative at Gale US. “Stories like this represent the power that brands and entertainment have to impact real change in the world.” 

Creative X, Palo Alto, and Modern Arts, Los Angeles created the campaign for WhatsApp, which is part of Meta.   

The Grand Prix for the Entertainment In Gaming Lions went “The Everyday Tactician”for Xbox Games Pass by McCann London, UK. The brand listed a new tactician job posting for a professional UK football club that could only be applied for through its newly launched Football Manager 2024 game, creating a documentary that followed the new hire transferring his digital expertise over to a real-world football team. 

The Entertainment Lions in Music went to ‘Errata at 88’ for Diageo by AlmapBBDO, São Paulo, Brazil. Diageo’s whiskey brand Johnnie Walker wanted to celebrate the forgotten founding mother of the Brazilian music genre Bossa Nova, telling Alaíde Costa’s story and returning her to perform at Carnegie Hall after six decades. 

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