Cannes Lions

Mighty Pencil Sculptures

FCB INFERNO, London / PEARSON / 2017

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Digital Proof JPG






To show the positive impact of literacy we created the ‘Mighty Pencil Sculptures’ – genuine and highly intricate sculptures made out of the lead of a pencil.

A single pencil is a hugely powerful transformative device. It can help someone to read and write which can then have an effect on numerous aspects of their lives including health, poverty, gender equality and employment prospects.

Each simple diorama showed the personal, positive power of literacy on an issue that illiteracy was proven by research to fuel – gender inequality, child labour and high levels of incarceration.

The campaign shows that the pencil truly is mightier than the sword.


Each sculpture was crafted in minute detail then photographed, and each of the adverts then ran on a specific date relevant to the issue they dramatized to increase impact. These appeared as magazine adverts.

Each of the sculptures was a diorama dramatizing the proven effects of illiteracy, with the choice of a pencil lead clearly as a fundamental tool for literacy. They show the power of literacy, and by association the power of a pencil, to rewrite lives.

Project Literacy has successfully used art direction as a method to cut through, particularly in the charity sector and particularly to millennials.


This campaign builds on the growing support behind Project Literacy and the increasing awareness of the positive effects of literacy on the world. It is part of the wider narrative of the campaign.

- 5% increase in the number of people concerned about illiteracy as a global issue

- 85% of people say the campaign has made them think about illiteracy in a new way

- 40% strongly agree they want to be involved with Project Literacy

- People likely to donate to literacy campaigns has doubled from 7% to 14%

- 72% of people are more positive towards Pearson as a result of knowing about their involvement in the campaign and 67% are more likely to purchase a Pearson product

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