Tigo-Une’s “Payphone Bank” by Grey Colombia has won the Grand Prix for Product Design at this year’s Cannes Lions.
The telecom company turned 13,000 cast iron pay phones from the turn of the century into a micro-savings system for the poorest in Colombia, where 8 million people earn an average of $3.50 a day, and are completely left out of the financial services system. Now they can go to a Une store to activate an account, then deposit their earnings, which are mostly coins, into the public phone and their own microsavings account. That account can be used to pay utility bills, buy public transit tickets, and even get microloans at stores to buy basic appliances like a refrigerator.
“It’s helping a lot of people in one country, and could be very meaningful for other countries,” said Ruth Berktold, president of the Product Design jury and owner of Yes Architecture in Germany.
Colombia has won a Grand Prix at a previous Health Lions festival but this marks the country’s first Grand Prix at the main event.