Short List
Product/ServiceCANON R5 & R6
Category B05. Corporate Purpose & Social Responsibility
Entrant UNCLE GREY Copenhagen, DENMARK
Idea Creation UNCLE GREY Copenhagen, DENMARK
Media Placement UNCLE GREY Copenhagen, DENMARK
Production UNCLE GREY Copenhagen, DENMARK
Name Company Position
Kasper Andkjær Uncle Grey Digital Director
Newsha Dalman Uncle Grey Account Manager
Valdemar Mühlhausen Uncle Grey Digital Strategist
Mads Alexander Nielsen Uncle Grey Art Director
Patrick Poulsen Uncle Grey Strategic Director
Clara Prior-Knock Uncle Grey Associate Creative Director
Thomas Rynkeby Knudsen Uncle Grey Motion Designer
Lars Samuelsen Uncle Grey Chief Strategy Officer
Johan Thrane Uncle Grey Digital Strategist
Pernille Tramp Uncle Grey Account Manager
Josephine Winther-Poupinel Uncle Grey Client Service Director
Anna-Sophia Rabe Uncle Grey Strategist

Why is this work relevant for Creative Strategy?

The Truthmark initiative demonstrates how a strong cultural insight can enable a brand to reconnect with a difficult to reach and highly discerning audience. Increasing relevancy by helping to solve a real cultural tension. Truthmark built on the photographer's core purpose being threatened: They are in danger of losing credibility because their images are being misused to fuel fake news and propagate untruths. By launching Truthmark Canon allowed photographers to protect their images by attaching the true story to each of them. The case shows how a category-relevant insight can elevate a brand and infuse it with a new purpose.


Canon has a long tradition of high-quality photography equipment. However, as the professional camera market became increasingly saturated, competitive and fast-paced, Canon struggled to keep up. The brand had lost its momentum. It started to feel outdated and was missing the edge of today’s zeitgeist. Canon wanted a more modern and bold brand strategy for the Nordics. This was our chance to awaken the giant and appeal to professional photographers in a way that would truly speak to them. The following objectives were set: --Reconnect with professional photographers --Leverage them to entice a broader audience (semi-professionals) --Infuse Canon with a new sense of purpose --Spark a cultural conversation The Truthmark project became a new way for Canon to engage with some of the most awarded photographers in the world. Making them a catalyst for our brand and establishing a broader conversation about the influence of photography in culture.

Interpretation (30% of vote)

The professional camera industry is a saturated and contested one. With smartphone camera quality increasing, the amateur camera category is rapidly decreasing. Which in tun led to more brands moving into the professional category. As a result Canon faced the following challenges: Canons business challenge: With new players entering the field, who launched products faster and more frequently, Canon's business was jeopardised. Canons marketing challenge: Canon had become too comfortable in its established position, and was struggling to create a relevant, modern brand perception. Canon had lost touch with its professional audience. The desired outcome: To awaken the giant and appeal to professional photographers in a way that would truly speak to them. We needed to take a stand to stand out.

Insight / Breakthrough Thinking (30% of vote)

Pictures are there to tell the truth. In times of TikTok and Instagram, where we snap pictures within mere seconds, it's easy to forget about that. Our world is full of photoshop, filters and even deep-fakes. Our research led us e.g. to photos of Trump's inauguration that were twisted to show a non-existing crowd, a mis-interpretation of an image of Hillary Clinton... We asked ourselves: How can images be used so easily to twist the truth? And, how can we trust what we see? For photographers, this reality goes even deeper. It not only restricts their job but the mere purpose of the profession. Photographers don’t just snap images; they document reality. They tell the truth. When images are mis-used and mis-interpreted, it's their integrity that's on the line. It was time to give that back and empower photographers: Some call them photographers. We call them truthtellers.

Creative Idea (20% of vote)

We created Truthmark – a platform functioning like an “image bank of truth”, where professional photographers upload their images, attach the story behind the image and thereby reduce the misuse of photos worldwide. How it works: 1. Apply for a verified account (only for professional photographers). 2. Select and upload images or photo-series. 3. Write the story behind the image, which is attached to the photo with an invisible watermark. From here on, the image cannot be used without permission, or shared with third-party accounts. It is stored with one purpose only: to protect the truth behind the image. And for truth-hunters we created a separate universe, where anyone can drag and drop an image onto the website to verify and learn about the truth behind it. Creating Truthmark, we could not only speak to photographers, we could create impact in leading the fight against fake news.

Outcome / Results (20% of vote)

Truthmark was first targeted towards Canon photographers but opened up, and the initiative has received an immediate response from the photographic community. The database now features images from photographers in countries all over the world including Israel, Russia, and The United States. The initiative also caught the eye of photographers and international media and is endorsed and recommended by the Press Photographers Association. The newly launched R5 and R6 cameras from Canon's pro range received immediate attention upon launch, and Canon became relevant to a target group they had neglected. Key results: 50+ million reached 15+ million views 100+ international media pick-ups Marketshare increased from 26% to 33,5% Sales index: 172 (Year-on-Year) In 2018 Canon introduced their first mirrorless camera. By the end of 2020 Canon was number one in the mirrorless category for the first time.

Please tell us how the brand purpose inspired the work

In order to help Canon connect with the best professional photographers around the world we needed to establish a higher sense of purpose for the brand. The Truthmark initiative was a bold move to tackle one of the most pressing issues for professional photographers - the credibility of their photos. The Live for the Truth platform became a purpose-led project creating a utility that would enabling photographs to infuse their imagery with a digital blueprint - making sure that the original intent of the photo was kept intact for the viewer. The initiative has spurned a great response from the professional community positioning Canon as a brand that understands and connecting with the most prominent media outlets in the industry.