Cannes Lions

Smart Forest

MCCANN , Bucharest / VODAFONE / 2022

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Overview

Background

The country of the last virgin forests in Europe is also the one with the most illegal logging. With 20 million square meters of wood disappearing every year from Romania’s ancient woods, understaffed rangers are helpless. But where no man can reach, there’s one thing that can: Vodafone’s mobile network. This kind of proof of the network’s capabilities would differentiate Vodafone in the battle for consideration. Building a new brand purpose of bringing technology solutions that help the planet, Vodafone gave Romanians the means to protect the forest, while also demonstrating the power of its mobile network.

Idea

Vodafone gave ancient trees a voice in Romania’s first Smart Forest. Devices build from phone parts and fueled by solar power were installed at the top of the trees to monitor the woods. With AI analyzing all sounds in real time, the devices alert the authorities whenever danger is detected. Together with rangers and activists, we’ve documented the innovation and put its story on TV. Online people could find out more about the prototype combining nature and tech, while also being able to spread the news and create lobby for the solution to get Government support. With more than 13 million people reached, Smart Forest entered the public agenda, being labeled as “extremely useful and efficient” by the Minister of Environment.

Strategy

In a battle of superlatives, Vodafone needed the public opinion to truly claim its network’s superiority. Caring for the environment is one of Vodafone strategic purpose pillars, while protecting the forest is a strong national legacy in Romania, the country where people consider the woods part of the family. With fighting illegal logging being the number one environmental concern for Romanians, we’ve repurposed our technology to give the forest a voice, for the first time and have demonstrated what technology can do to preserve the legacy of the Romanian people.

Execution

Vodafone’s efforts to give the forest a voice started with a prototype Smart Forest, where 2 rangers had the impossible mission of protecting 4000 square meters of the woods. Together with them and activists we’ve equipped the trees with AI devices that allowed them to detect danger and alert the authorities in real time. The devices are made from mobile phone parts, fueled by solar panels and powered by Vodafone’s mobile network.

We’ve documented the innovation and told the story of the forest as part of the family through the eyes of one of the rangers. The online documentary was also broadcasted on TV, while outdoors called everyone online where they could find out more about the nature-tech synergy and how they could help spread news to put the solution on the public agenda.

Outcome

Vodafone consolidated its position as category leader and surpassed its main competitors in “cutting edge innovation”, creating a lead of 9.8% from its closest competitor.

With a solid 3.8% difference increase from their closest competitor, Vodafone also became category leader as a “brand that creates better lives”.

The campaign reached 70% of Romania’s population, with an earned media value of 142k euro and 261.8% growth on campaign website visits.

The innovation was introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as part of Vodafone’s commitment to create a safer and more sustainable planet for all.

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