Mark Stewart, Managing Director, OMD Eastern Region

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What was the overall caliber of work in the area you judged this year?

The 2005 Media Lions entries were outstanding, demonstrating the complete breadth and depth of our business today and stretched the way we define media. With category entries up 23% this year, it was not only great to see media rise to such prominence at Cannes but also represent some of the best work of the entire festival.

Were there any trends concerning the kinds of work?

One of the most prominent and also important trends I saw was how a great media idea can capture consumers' imaginations and be a platform for inspired creative work. These huge ideas and executions are also coming from all parts of the globe. There were as many winners from the Middle East and Africa as from South America and Europe; it is safe to say that there are no centers of excellence any more.

Additionally, there is now a fourth partner in the mix when developing marketing communication strategies. As integration within media content continues to expand, what was once a relationship between the client, the creative agency and the media agency has now grown to include media companies in the overall communications mix. Tactics are beginning to drive strategy as much as strategy drives tactics.

Was the work coming more from media agencies or creative agencies?

Entries came from agencies of all types and sizes, integrated and unbundled, and all equally compelling. However, at the heart of the best entries was a powerful media insight that lead to a big idea and was then well-executed from both a media and creative standpoint.

What distinguished the Grand Prix winner?

The campaign for Israel's Biomat laundry detergent delivered a powerful insight, an activation idea, empathy and respect for the consumer, integrated and inventive media, and spectacular results. A complete entry, this work was not only a marketing communications solution but also a whole business solution driven by media; the actual creative execution played a minor role in the success of the campaign.

Did you see the level of innovation you expected beyond "traditional" media usage-for example, embedded content?

All of the winners epitomized the state of media innovation, with traditional media vehicles finding new ways to deliver messaging and get attention, while new and emerging media worked from a clean slate of new and intriguing messaging formats. Regardless of media outlet or country of origin, the Madison & Vine concept of content and commerce coming together was evident in so much of the work.

Perhaps one of the forces that will most dictate the boundaries of media creativity may not be the power of the idea but the power of local media regulators and legislators. Many questions are rising about what is allowable and acceptable within the medium. As this global phenomenon continues, how the idea is executed will make the difference between hit and miss. This year alone, there was as much seamless integration between commercial content and programming as there was of the crass and overcommercialized variety.

How good are awards shows at recognizing new or difficult to categorize types of work?

Categories are critical because you have to evaluate work relative to what it's trying to accomplish. That said, some categories, because of target and media, make it more difficult to demonstrate innovation. Moving forward, innovation has to be recognized in the context of the category and marketplace as well as across categories.

Do you anticipate that creative and media companies will evolve toward a more unified model?

As I like to say, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, and the marketing communications model will always continue to evolve. There is no one set model; the right one is simply the one that works for that company-although if any creative director wants to come work for a media agency, we'll be happy to talk. As we move from a content-driven model to a distribution model of marketing communications, it's good to see creative agencies now reciprocating the need to integrate with media agencies.

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