|'A Channel Hopper,' from automaker Renault Nissan Deutschland and the Hamburg-based agency Nordpol Hamburg Agentur fur Kommunication, won top direct honors.
After viewing 135 short-listed campaigns, the 20-member jury awarded the campaign with a Grand Prix for its creativity, entertainment value and execution.
"The execution just works," said Joel Sobelson, executive vice president and chief creative officer of Wunderman, New York, one of two U.S. jurors. "I've never had such a jaw-dropping experience as I did with this campaign."
Of the three U.S. Lions, Wongdoody in Seattle won a Gold for "Skyhigh Necessities," for Alaska Airlines. Two bronzes were awarded to Rogers Townsend, St. Louis, for "Crisply Folded Shirt," for Pleats Finest Cleaners, and to Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide, New York, for "Pillowcase," for Denny's Restaurants.
"A Channel Hopper," while very much a direct-marketing campaign, complete with the discipline's traditional "call to action" that aims to prompt consumers to engage with the product, impressed jurors because it exemplifies direct marketing's future. For instance, the campaign begins using e-mail, rather than a more commonplace paper letter. ("That's exciting, because people generally think 'mail' when they hear direct marketing," Mr. Sobelson said.) The e-mail tells the consumer about a TV commercial. Then they're encouraged to jump to another TV channel, where they view another commercial, before being led online to a Web site. Only when they get back online are they introduced to the product being advertised -- Renault's Modus.
Multiple media campaigns
Peter Loiseaux, creative director Tequila/Brussels, part of Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide, said one of the factors judges weighed in giving Modus the top prize is that the campaign illustrates a growing trend in advertising: Integration -- executing one big idea in multiple categories -- is morphing into "fusion," where one medium builds upon another, resulting in a far more complex campaign. In "A Channel Hopper," viewers must interact with e-mail, TV and the Web in order to reach the campaign's end. "Great creative invites people to do that," he said.
The jury awarded nine Gold lions, 14 Silver and 25 Bronze. The U.K., which submitted more entries than any other country, with 244, won eight lions (one Gold, three Silver and four Bronze). Germany, just behind the U.K. in number of entries with 206, fared well, bringing home six awards (1 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze) in addition to the Lions Direct Grand Prix.
The U.S. this year had 94 submissions and won three, compared to last year's tally of six Lions from 134 submissions.
Other campaigns that generated plenty of discussion among the judges included "It's Gonna Get Dirty," for Scruffs Workwear by JWT Cheethambell, Manchester, which incorporates pornographic images into the creative, and "Lost Souls Web Ring" for Stella Artois by Draft London. The Scruffs campaign polarized judges by offending some and appealing to others. In the end, it won a Silver Lion because "the fact I would remember 15 or 16 product attributes after seeing the campaign means, for me, it works," said Nici Stathacopoulos, chief executive officer of Tipping Point, South Africa. While jurors loved the Stella Artois work -- "it was beautiful and fascinating," said one judge -- in the end, it didn't get an award because it was too elaborate and too hard to understand.
Of the product categories, one that failed to garner any awards from judges was financial services -- a sector in which direct marketing is dominant. Jurors criticized submissions as being without emotion. One of the criteria to win an award is that judges agree the campaign will be remembered five years from now.