Gavin Armstrong from Lucky Iron Fish & the Cannes Lions award

By now you've heard about the controversy surrounding the Lucky Iron Fish Cannes Winner - where several people, and some agencies, are claiming that Geometry Global didn't deserve the PR & Product design lions. One of the protesting voices is Gary Tranter, co-founder of Singapore advertising agency Arcade, who shot a short content film for Google about the Lucky Iron Fish co. Much of the footage Arcade created was used in the case study film, as Gary himself had reluctantly given them permission to use the footage. The footage used in creating the case film for the PR and product design Cannes Lions entry was then credited to those who made it, and others who worked with Lucky on the the fish, including the agency 17 Triggers, Gary's agency Arcade, Grand Challenges Canada, and even The University of Guelph. Credits for everyones involvement was thus shared across the board.

The picture above shows Gavin Armstrong from lucky fish beaming with pride holding his Grand Prix lion. His statement is below.

I would like to clarify the nature of Lucky Iron Fish company’s partnership with Geometry Global/ Memac Ogilvy in the development, marketing and Cannes entry submission of the Lucky Iron Fish campaign.

As CEO of the Lucky Iron Fish company, I engaged Geometry Global in July 2014 on a commercial relationship to help scale up the Lucky Iron Fish and bring our design to the market. Dr. Christopher Charles created the original design and I designed the current innovation prototype that was submitted to Cannes Lions. Christopher is currently on the Lucky Iron Fish board of directors and was fully aware that Geometry were submitting the Lucky Iron Fish design into the Cannes Lions Festival.

Every contributing party was recognized in both the written submission and orally onstage. This list includes but is not limited to 17 Triggers, Arcade, Grand Challenges Canada, and The University of Guelph. It is my understanding Arcade provided written consent that the video footage could be used.

The agency led a comprehensive marketing program to launch the product in Cambodia including creating the communication materials and the PR efforts to boost profile and sales. In short, Geometry Global was key to the current success of the project.

Based on our understanding of the entry mechanism at the Cannes Lions festival, we gave Geometry Global approval to be the entrant for all Lucky Iron Fish entries, with full credit to Lucky Iron Fish and other participating entities. There has been no intention to misrepresent the role of Geometry Global or the campaign in the entry or any communications. I was present during the event and received each of the Lions award on stage. I also presented to the Judges for the Innovation award.

It is unfortunate that the discussions around this project have taken away from its success. I continue to be fully supportive of the campaign, how it was entered and the role Geometry Global played in its development. I hope that Lucky Iron Fish, Geometry Global, and Memac Ogilvy will not be penalized for the remainder of the Cannes Lions Festival.

Gavin Armstrong

President and CEO

Lucky Iron Fish.

Please also read our previous post: Dr Charles Lucky Iron Fish, not as Fishy as you might think.

Updated statement from Geometry Global Friday 26Th June 21:40 CET

Geometry Global Dubai and Memac Ogilvy MENA are proud to have partnered with the creators of the Lucky Iron Fish product to bring wider exposure and commercial success to this important public health innovation. We have been transparent in the Cannes Lions award entries about the contributions of all the players including Gavin Armstrong, CEO of Lucky Iron Fish, Dr. Chris Charles, Director on the Board of Lucky Iron Fish, and all of the supporting agencies. The product design and prototype were created by Lucky Iron Fish; Geometry Global helped to introduce the product to a wider audience.

With the misunderstanding that there could only be a single entrant company across all categories, we entered the Product Design category on behalf of our client and were therefore named ‘entrant company’. Our approach was in full agreement with Lucky Iron Fish company and all partners were credited in the entry. We now understand that Product Design could have been entered directly by Lucky Iron Fish without Geometry Global and Memac Ogilvy as an 'entrant company.' Therefore, we have agreed with the Cannes Lions that Lucky Iron Fish should be the sole recipient of the Grand Prix in Product Design, as accepted by CEO Gavin Armstrong during the ceremony in Cannes on Wednesday night. It is an honor to be partners of Lucky Iron Fish, and we are pleased that it has garnered recognition by the juries at Cannes. We look forward to being part of the continued success of this project.

Update Mon 29th June 22:00 CET
Cannes Lions official statement - same as the above, pretty much.