Health and Wellness > Consumer Products Promotion


FCB INFERNO, London / HUAWEI / 2019


Gold Cannes Lions
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Describe any restrictions or regulations regarding Health & Wellness communications in your country/region including:

In the UK, all advertising is subject to the ASA – the Advertising Standards Authority – and all broadcast advertising must be vetted by Clearcast. As such, all claims, statistics and partnerships in the StorySign campaign have been independently verified.

Health & Wellness work must demonstrate how it meets the criteria 'life-changing creativity'. Why is your work relevant for Health & Wellness?

Literacy is a massive issue within the deaf community, as they suffer from the health and wellness issues it is proven to fuel, including 2x mental illness, -40% life-expectancy, 4x obesity, <40% employed. An idea that improved deaf literacy would therefore make a significant positive impact on health and wellness.


Huawei are the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer, and their brand promise is to ‘push the limits of what is humanly possible’. They challenged us to bring this to life in way that made a positive difference in society. We realised that by tackling deaf literacy, we could impact of the health of a community. There are 32 million deaf children in the world, and most of them struggle to read. Deaf children can’t learn phonetically, so they struggle to match words with sounds. This has a hugely negative effect on their futures, reducing their opportunities, impacting on their employability, future earnings, even their health. Illiteracy has been shown to fuel mental health issues, offending rates, the spread of infectious diseases, unhealthy lifestyles, and shorten life expectancy.

We agreed two objectives:

•Use innovative mobile technology to open the world of books to deaf children

•Raise awareness of deaf literacy issues

Describe the creative idea

To change the story of deaf illiteracy we needed an idea that offered a life-changing shift to a generation of deaf children, using Huawei’s mobile AI.

We created the first global literacy platform for the deaf – StorySign. Available across all Android devices, StorySign is a revolutionary free app that scans the words in selected children’s books and instantly translates them into sign language, using the most advanced signing avatar ever.

This helps the world’s 32 million deaf children learn to read and sign with their families, which in turn reduces inequalities in school, and will throughout their life have a positive impact on their health and wellness.

Huawei’s AI makes the app faster and more accurate for our core audience, deaf children and their parents aged 0-5 [key for reading development].

StorySign has the potential to genuinely impact a generation, helping them live healthier, happier lives.

Describe the strategy

Our research revealed the impact of deaf illiteracy throughout life. 78% of deaf children attend schools with little or no special provision. 90% of deaf children have hearing parents, most of whom do not sign and so can’t share bedtime stories. 57% of deaf students fail to achieve basic school qualifications, and fewer than 40% of deaf adults are employed.

The problem is that deaf children struggle to read, because they can’t learn phonetically. Our insight - if we helped them link words with signs, it would hugely increase their future health and wellness.

Huawei believe in the positive power of AI. So our strategic approach was two-fold. Change the story of deaf literacy for a core audience of families with deaf children aged 0-5 (key for reading development). And raise awareness of deaf literacy issues with a broad global audience by showing AI solving a truly human problem.

Describe the execution

Available across all Android devices, executing StorySign took an alliance of world-class partners.

11 international deaf charities, and launching in 11 different sign languages, ensured StorySign met the needs of deaf children.

Penguin Random House, the world’s leading publisher, are adding their library of books, so deaf children can enjoy the same stories as their hearing friends.

Huawei’s Kirin AI chip boosts app performance.

Oscar-winning Aardman Animations created ‘Star’, the most advanced signing avatar ever. Every detail appeals to deaf children, from her age (children learn better from siblings), to her hearing aid (to destigmatise deafness).

Select the children’s book, hold your smartphone over the words in the physical edition, and StorySign instantly translates them into sign language, highlighting words in sign language order to make the link between words and signs.

StorySign brings together all of this to increase the health and wellness of deaf children across the world.

List the results

“This technology will change the future health of an entire generation.” - Mark Wheatley, European Union of the Deaf

StorySign has made such an impact for the deaf community that Huawei are keeping the story going, launching the app in China, and adding more books.

Results have exceeded every objective.

Use innovative mobile technology to open the world of books to deaf children:

•Launched in 11 national sign languages

•Supported by 11 international deaf charities

•52 more books coming in 2019

Raise awareness of deaf literacy issues:

•1.5bn+ global reach (target 604 million)

•128m+ app film views (target 40 million)

•1000+ pieces of international coverage (target 340)

•£11.4m estimated earned media

Selected media reaction:

•Forbes: “A portal to a whole new world.”

•Wired: “AI translates kids’ books into sign language.”

•Huffpost: “Deaf children shouldn’t miss out on the wonder of books.”

•Metro: “Transforms reading for millions of deaf children.”

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