The work was praised by Mr. Droga, who said it "brought alive the DNA of the brand, which is imagination. It's not a static piece of work, you have to look at it and participate. It explores and exploits the real essence of the brand and despite being simple it has such depth to it, and it was as strong for the jury as for the target audience of children."
Levi's stick figures
The jury was split 50-50 on the Grand Prix, and Mr. Droga was forced to step in and use his casting vote. Lego's rival for the top honor was a campaign for Levi Strauss & Co. by JWT India that simply shows a series of stick figures with a signature red "Levi's" tab stuck to their legs. The only copy read: "Slim Jeans."
"We loved Levi's for the same reasons," Mr Droga said. "It's pure, simple and very brave for the category because it bucks the trends of the fashion imagery by being so brutally simple. I imagine it has amazing standout."
A U.S. campaign for 42Below vodka by Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, made it to an original shortlist of six early contenders for the Grand Prix. The work, which took home a Gold Lion, also adhered to the simplicity principle. It features a series of black-and-white line drawings telling stories of various encounters between individuals.
Mr. Droga made the point that the two best press ads were probably the cheapest to make.
Other Grand Prix contenders
The other three Grand Prix contenders were a campaign for Kodak by Ogilvy & Mather in Bangkok, Thailand; a campaign for National Newspapers of Ireland by Chemistry in Dublin; and a campaign for Mapa Spontex gloves by TBWA Paris.
Overall, the U.S. performance in the press category was disappointing, with only one Gold out of 11 awarded, no Silvers and three Bronze Lions out of 48 awarded. The Bronze Lion winners were "Pocket" for Procter & Gamble Co.'s Tide to Go stain removal pen by Saatchi & Saatchi, New York; a Harley Davidson parts and accessories campaign by Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, and a campaign for the American Legacy Foundation by Arnold Worldwide, Boston.
The U.K., usually one of the strongest players in the press category, also had a disappointing year. It won no Golds at all, four Silvers and three Bronze Lions. DDB, London, was the most competitive U.K. agency, but this year its traditionally strong work for Volkswagen (one Silver), department store Harvey Nichols (one Bronze) and Unilever's Marmite (one Silver) failed to reach the gold standard.
Jeremy Craigen, executive creative director of DDB, London, and one of the judges, explained, "Press wasn't that strong in the U.K. this year and the good work that we did do didn't have international appeal."
Critical of judging process
Mr. Craigen was openly disillusioned with the judging process. He said, "There were some judges there who have never done a decent ad in their lives, and they are the most vocal. It's too easy in press to cheat the system and do one ad that you can run somewhere. We do our clients a disservice by doing scam ads to make us famous and not working hard enough on the stuff that runs."
Mr. Droga added, "This was not the greatest print year ever. We handed out less golds and more bronzes than usual. But that shouldn't detract from the winners."