"Bud won the Grand Prix not for the concept, which has already been rewarded, but for eight fabulous new radio ads," said Guillaume van der Stighelen, jury president and creative partner at Duval Guillaume in Belgium.
The work by DDB, Chicago, triumphed over two other contenders on the shortlist: a Norwegian ad for "Guinness World Records" -- which set a record itself as the shortest radio ad in history -- and a South African campaign for Unilever's Axe deodorant.
'It had to win'
Josh Rabinowitz, a judge and senior VP-director of music at Grey Worldwide, New York, said of the Bud Light campaign: "When we put it on, people laughed so hard they were crying. We knew it had to win through in the end."
"It's fantastic to see a campaign so brilliantly written -- it's up with the best of U.S. comedy," said Jim Thornton, juror and executive creative director Leo Burnett, London. "It was originally a radio campaign, and it still works better in radio than it does in any other medium."
Two U.S. campaigns took home Gold Lions -- work for JetBlue Airways by JWT, New York, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association series from DeVito/Verdi, New York. Comcast's "Rabbit" ad by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, won a Bronze Lion.
Mr. van der Stighelen made a plea for more countries to enter their work in the radio category. "A lot of countries don't enter because they say they don't have the time to re-record their ads in English," he said. "But that doesn't help to win awards. All we need is a written translation."
"I worried there would not be time to give proper attention to ads in Norwegian or Afrikaans, but there was," Mr. van der Stighelen said. "David [Guerrero, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO in the Philippines] even performed one for us."
'The power of radio'
He also warned: "Very few markets understand the power of radio in building brands. A lot of the work we saw was very tactical. We don't want radio to be a funny category where weak work is awarded just to encourage people."
All the judges acknowledged radio's low status as a creative medium but were very upbeat about its power to engage the consumer. "Radio is a friend that keeps you company," Mr. van der Stighelen said. "It has a fantastic captive audience and allows you to tell a story about the brand."
"Soon every computer will have the facility to create podcasts," Mr. Thornton said, "and when younger people realize what they can do, we will see a resurgence in radio creativity."