Accenture wins Cannes top prize for Tuvalu digital & creative campaign

04 July 2023 3 min. read

The A/NZ branch of Accenture has taken home the top prize at this year’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity, recognised for its support of Tuvalu’s claim for digital sovereignty in the face of climate change.

Accenture’s effort to help the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu draw attention to its climate change plight has received further international recognition, with the ‘The First Digital Nation’ campaign awarded the top honour at the 2023 Cannes Lions. Created by the Monkeys, the Accenture Song subsidiary becomes just the second Australian agency to take home the prestigious Dan Wieden Titanium Grand Prix, which celebrates “game-changing creativity.”

Launched during last year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt, the First Digital Nation campaign sought to communicate both the threat to Tuvalu from rising sea levels as well as its potential loss of sovereignty, with foreign affairs minister Simon Kofe delivering an address to world leaders from a palm-fringed island while outlining the country’s planned shift to the metaverse. The island, low-lying Te Afualika, is revealed to be a digital twin in a black void.

“This is such an important project and collaboration, and one where digital transformation and storytelling sit at the heart,” said Tara Ford, chief creative officer of The Monkeys. “Tuvalu has been fighting climate change for over 30 years. Without land, you don’t have a nation. You don’t have a place on the world’s stage. Our mission was to help them protect their sovereignty even when the land has gone. We are honoured to receive this very special award.”

Developed in just six weeks in time for COP27 and inspired by the firm’s previous conservation project success in the Pacific, Accenture’s metaverse consulting technicians had to first digitally recreate Te Afualika using real-world, high resolution pictures and drone footage together with 3D creation tools which incorporate complex physics and geometry principles into the twin – such that its ocean waves, water currents, and sand are ultra-realistic at all times of the day.

The Te Afualika twin is just the first step in a continuing project to build the world’s first completely digitised nation – including the preservation of historical documents and cultural and identity records, along with maintaining government administrative services and reserving the natural resources within its existing maritime boundaries should its 12,000 citizens be forced to relocate.

Here, Accenture is credited with helping to reestablish the tenets of what defines a country.

Already with a swag of awards under its belt, the campaign and its corresponding Accenture-built website has reached more than 2 billion people from around 120 nations, despite the absence of a media budget. A landmark international fund for loss and damages due to climate change was also established in the wake of its launch, with ten countries so far agreeing to legally recognise ongoing sovereignty irrespective of what happens to Tuvalu’s land.

“This work isn’t just a tech idea. It’s far more than storytelling. It’s about changing perception, changing precedence, and reshaping international law,” commented Accenture Song's heralded chief executive David Droga. “By creating digital borders, the team is helping the people of Tuvalu protect their rights and enable climate adaptation and mitigation. I am proud of the team for creating a solution that will contribute to a lasting impact on our world.”