Cannes Lions

No Is Beautiful

DDB NEW YORK, New York / PURE LEAF / 2020

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Case Film
Presentation Image






Despite the strain, society expects women to say “yes” to everything that comes their way, bowing to compromised social boundaries, mythical archetypes, and pressure mistaken as a choice. It’s no wonder the idea that you could “Marie Kondo” your life became a cultural phenomenon – women were simply exhausted with impossible expectations. While our main objective was to drive awareness and favorability of the new “No Is Beautiful” message, our brief set out to achieve something much bigger.

Over the past few years, Pure Leaf built strong equity on its quality tea credentials and mastery. Though the functional message resonated, growth hit a plateau in 2018. To return Pure Leaf to dominance, we needed to break-through on a deeper emotional level.

We needed to empower women to demand simpler, more equitable expectations of life success, demonstrating the beauty of saying “no” to the things that don’t matter and “yes” to


In order to get at the heart of why women have a such a hard time saying NO, we needed to find out where they learned that behavior. 

Where does it come from? 

And more importantly, why is it that men don’t have a problem saying NO when something doesn’t suit them?


We discovered that one of the first places women learn to say “yes” and not ask questions is as little girls, through fairy tales. Fairy tales continuously perpetuate the notion that young  women are often made victims simply because they went along with the program. So, we decided that these aged old fairy tales needed an update, giving the heroines a chance to rule their own destiny and break the shackles of being sweet, agreeable damsels in distress.


We then examined where in our culture women are taught to say “yes” to everything, which led us to identify fairy tales as a key driver of this behavior. We realized that fairy tales influence girls at a young age to be agreeable and say “yes” to things that aren't beneficial to them.

We wrote three scripts for Once Upon a No fairytales starring Amy Poehler – Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel, and The Princess & The Pea. The scripts are presented in a playful, comedic way that would resonate with our consumer through the stories she grew up reading, but flipping the morals of the story on their head with a resounding “NO” from our heroines.


Launching the integrated campaign early in Q1, our “Ambassador of No,” Amy Poehler, inspired our “Once Upon a No” digital film series. We drove awareness and reach on Television and Streaming platforms. With a diverse mix of Digital Video and Social, we extended messaging in authentic environments online through specific targeting tactics.

Creative that lived contextually with our OOH buy helped elevate our message, while premium Print helped us reach our target during her “me time.”

With her Bravo fandom and recharging interest in mind, we utilized BravoCon and the Sundance Film Festival to put our product and message in the hands of relevant celebrity influencers. We partnered with Hello Sunshine – Reese Witherspoon’s production company – and their newly launched book “Fair Play”. With author Eve Rodsky, Pure Leaf and the New York Times bestseller helped women reclaim their natural gifts and instincts – all in the name of


No Is Beautiful drove beautiful business results. Not only were we able to unify the brand and gain cultural traction for Pure Leaf through the positive power of ‘No’, we were also able to see that impact on Pure Leaf’s bottom line.

The campaign collected a total of 2.4bn impressions. At launch, No Is Beautiful garnered 1b impressions - half of which were earned.

Top-of-mind-awareness increased +40%, from 5% to 7%, while the category held flat.

Pure Leaf reversed deceleration and created momentum with its fastest growth in years after launch, +10.5% sales lift vs. YA.

Pure Leaf Ambient grew +6.1% in sales full year 2020 vs. Ambient RTD tea at +4.2%.

As category leader, Pure Leaf increased category penetration: ~1.5M Pure Leaf buyers were new to the category (+8.4%).

Surpassed internal benchmarks for paid video engagement rate on IG by 415%.

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