Interbrand, Team Gleason & Microsoft to Host “Smackdown ALS”

June 17, 2015


Interbrand, The Team Gleason Foundation & Microsoft to Host “Smackdown ALS” at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 

Creative leaders are encouraged to join a brainstorm to develop ideas for a campaign that could rival the Ice Bucket Challenge

NEW YORK, NY (June 17, 2015) Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy, The Team Gleason Foundation, an organization dedicated to creating a global conversation around ALS, and Microsoft will host “Smackdown ALS,” a creative workshop, on Wednesday, June 24th from 4-6 pm CET during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France. The event will take place in the Microsoft space, located directly across from the famed Palais. All creative executives and members of the media are welcome to attend.

“Interbrand is thrilled to be partnering with Microsoft and Team Gleason to host Smackdown ALS in Cannes,” noted Chris Campbell, Executive Creative Director for Interbrand North America. “It has been a true privilege for those of us at Interbrand to design this special brainstorm experience. We believe that by bringing together creative minds and leveraging innovative technology, we—alongside Team Gleason and Microsoft—have the power to change the world for the better.”

Smackdown ALS will consist of creative leaders putting aside their agency affiliations and lending their expertise to help Team Gleason—using Microsoft Surface and Surface Hub technology. The goal will be to develop a campaign that drives technological innovation for those suffering from ALS and other disabilities. Top concepts resulting from Smackdown ALS will be announced shortly after the Cannes Lions Festival concludes.

A focal point of Smackdown ALS will be Steve Gleason. Gleason, a former NFL player for the New Orleans Saints, was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 34 in 2011.  When Gleason started to lose his mobility and ability to speak, technology became a critical ally as he continued to pursue life’s adventures, namely fatherhood. Gleason and his family were responsible for spearheading a technological partnership with Microsoft—all while raising a son and pursuing filmmaking. (Gleason will soon release The Gleason Project, a documentary video journal for his son, Rivers).

“I’ve always said, until there is a medical cure for ALS, technology can be that cure,” noted Gleason.  “Team Gleason’s mission to provide and develop innovative technology has changed the lives of thousands of people living with ALS. With such a strong creative brain trust at Cannes, I am certain a campaign to inspire young innovators will emerge from Smackdown ALS—one like never before.”

As part of its Empowering initiative, Microsoft has provided technologies like Eye Gaze tracking and Robot Beam to assist Gleason in living an active lifestyle. With Microsoft’s technology, Gleason has been able to communicate with his son and family in ways that would have traditionally been impossible for one suffering from ALS.

“ALS is a devastating disease and we’re happy to help raise awareness with a dream to ultimately find a cure,” said Jeff Hansen, General Manager, Microsoft Brand Studios. “We believe in the power of technology to empower people and change lives, so we encourage the amazing group of creatives gathered in Cannes to come by our space and donate their time, intelligence and creativity to this great cause.”

In addition to welcoming creative leaders into its space from 4-6pm CET, Microsoft is inviting Cannes attendees to visit their space from 10am-4pm to send their own tweets using Eye Gaze technology and to get a first look at the 84” Surface Hub (available for business order July 1).

Gleason himself will be joining Smackdown ALS via Skype and executives from Team Gleason, Interbrand and Microsoft will be available for in-person interviews as well:

·      Clare Durrett, Team Gleason Associate Executive Director

·      Chris Campbell, Executive Creative Director, North America, Interbrand

·      Micha Sprinz, WW Communications Manager (Microsoft on-site media enquiries)

Those not attending the Cannes Lions Festival are encouraged to either join the conversation on Twitter by using #SmackdownALS and #CannesLions or make a donation in support of The Gleason Project Foundation.

To see photos from this event, click here.

About Interbrand
At Interbrand, we believe that growth is achieved when an organization has a clear strategy and delivers exceptional customer experiences. We do both, through a combination of strategy, creativity, and technology that helps drive growth for our clients’ brands and businesses. With a network of 21 offices in 17 countries, Interbrand is a global brand consultancy, and publisher of the highly influential annual Best Global Brands and Breakthrough Brands reports, and Webby Award-winning brandchannel. Interbrand is part of the Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC) network of agencies. For more information, please contact us, or follow Interbrand on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

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