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Cannes Lions

Rehab London Takes Gold at Second Annual 'Change for Good' Hackathon at Cannes

'#Theirs' won at the event hosted by Huge and Amazon in support of Earth Day Network

Rehab London Takes Gold at Second Annual 'Change for Good' Hackathon at Cannes

At Cannes Lions 2019, global experience agency Huge, Amazon, and Earth Day Network - the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement - awarded Rehab London with Gold for its citizen science campaign idea, '#Theirs,' at the second annual 'Change for Good' Hackathon. The Change for Good’s Silver and Bronze winners went to 'Garden Solution' by McCann Worldgroup (Bucharest, Romania) and 'Clean Water' by Wunder Inc (Canada), respectively. The final judging ceremony took place on the Terrace Stage in Palais II 10:30am.

In addition to being awarded at the Festival, the winning teams will receive support from Amazon and Earth Day Network to assist with their go-to-market launch ahead of Earth Day 2020. In its second year, the Hackathon helps to create the technology needed for Earth Challenge 2020, a global citizen science initiative of Earth Day Network, the Wilson Center, and the Eco-Capitals Forum that will mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.


Rehab London won with '#Theirs,' which address air pollution in London. The team - consisting of Neil Cooper, Ryan Grieve, Beth Abel, Claire Medcalf, and Camille Bourdier - discussed their idea, explaining: 

"As Londoners we’re passionate about air pollution and the negative effects it has on future generations. 

An estimated 14 trillion photos are taken every year. A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Technology found that photographs can be used as a measure of air pollution by identifying light scattering on the particulate matter in the air. We want people to leverage the technology they already use to contribute data to Earth Challenge 2020. And initially, they won’t even realise they’re doing it. By simply asking people to photograph a landmark and text, or WhatsApp the image to us, our machine learning algorithm using Amazon’s SageMaker will evaluate each image for air quality and feedback the information to the individual.


Initially focusing on kids, schools and families, we’ll provide them with activity packs educating them on how to take part and become a Citizen Scientist. 

Two weeks ahead of Earth Day, we will launch a Trojan horse campaign, grabbing people’s attention and leading to full Instagram feeds and press coverage. On Earth Day we’ll do the big reveal, showing people that they’ve been contributing valuable data all along. Our campaign, having already hooked them in, will drive them to the app for longer term engagement, breakdowns of air pollution in their area, regional leaderboards and the opportunity to donate towards air sensors for local schools."


This year’s hack consisted of six cross-disciplinary agency teams from around the world, working June 18-19th on the Cannes Lions Festival grounds to ideate and develop products alongside creative, experience design, scientists, business development, and solution architect mentors from Amazon, Huge, Earth Day Network, the Wilson Center and the Eco-Capitals Forum. The teams were challenged to imagine and build solutions, products, and campaigns that advance Earth Challenge 2020’s key research questions around water quality, air quality, local impacts of climate change, biodiversity, plastic pollution and food sustainability.

To demonstrate how small digital acts can add up to global change through citizen science, Earth Challenge 2020 will help mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020 by mobilising people around the world to participate in collecting, integrating, and acting on citizen science data around critical environmental research questions. 

Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network, said: “2020 is a crucial year for the more than seven billion people alive today. Over the 50 years since the first Earth Day many extraordinary transformations have contributed to conserving and more intelligently managing our world. But we know that unless we act now and with urgency and at scale, we may hand over a planet unfit and incapable of meeting the hopes, dreams, and aspirations for future generations. Earth Challenge 2020 offers a huge opportunity for citizens everywhere to get engaged and make their desire for real action heard through the lens of science. We are delighted to be teaming up with the tech industry and many other amazing companies to make this happen.”

After the six teams ideated their solutions and campaign launch plan, they presented to a panel of esteemed judges in two rounds of judging, including: 

-    Pete Stein, global chief executive officer of Huge
-    Mark Lehmann, chief technology officer at Global Citizen
-    Nick Nuttall, international strategic communications director, Earth Day Network
-    Stephanie Smith, social media lead at NASA 
-    Mary Robinson, founder of Climate Justice
-    Lauren Letta, COO of Charity: Water

Influencer and brand mentorship from Accuweather, IAB, NASA, Gary Vaynerchuk and other brands was provided to teams, as well. 

Round one was held in Palais II on Wednesday 19 June from 15:00 – 16:30, in which all six teams presented their ideas, with the winning three teams continuing to the final round. Both judging ceremonies were open to Festival attendees. 
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