"We put an incredible amount of thought into the Grand Prix this year," said Cyber Lions Jury President and TBWA Worldwide chief digital officer Colleen DeCourcy. "I don't think it's possible to overthink the Grand Prix ever, but this year we decided we wanted to be forward facing and try and figure out what we wanted to hold up as an example of what we really viewed as progressive work."
Progressive might be an understatement when it comes to Uniqlock, which hinges on an unusual clock widget that synchronizes sound, time and live action dance video—all while showcasing Uniqlo's threads. DeCourcy called the effort a "beautiful piece of work with an ingenious approach to using fairly analog media."
The deceptively simple Sol Comments campaign was comprised of handwritten banner ads that copywriters created in real time, responding to content on the sites in which the banners lived. "We liked the comment it made about the enduring value of real creativity in the medium," DeCourcy noted.
As for 42Entertainment's viral winner Year Zero, an alternate reality game that incorporated websites, emails, merchandising and pre-recorded phone messages to expand the dystopian storyline behind Trent Reznor's concept album of the same name, DeCourcy said that "if the conversation has been ongoing about the blurring of the lines between mediums, what we need to come out of this was a way forward. In this piece what we have is just that. It takes every medium, every skill at its best—print, outdoor, design, events. It couldn't exist without being virally spread. It's this collaborative development where there's a skill and a craft around engaging audiences."
The U.S. was the most awarded country, with 16 Lions, including four Golds, for HBO's Voyeur from BBDO/N.Y., AAATown out of Publicis & Hal Riney, Apple's Don't Give Up, from TBWA/Media Arts Lab and Burger King's Whopper Freakout out of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Japan and the U.K. followed, with 11 Lions each.
London's Lean Mean Fighting Machine was named Cyber Agency of the Year, with Crispin Porter & Bogusky in second place and Projector, Tokyo in third.
Overall, DeCourcy noted that the entries were being submitted by a broader range of talents, including more traditional ad shops. "It wasn't just the creative technologists, the digital natives anymore," she added. "That made for a real variety in the quality of submissions, but at the end of the day we found just as much fabulous work as other years. Maybe our signal to noise ratio was a little off, but we found some things we really loved."
She also added that during this year's judging, the categorization of the work proved as perplexing as ever, with the jury seeing work that could easily have been assessed in other categories. "It became sort of a joke—Can we recategorize this?" DeCourcy said. "What it came down to is that as what we do becomes more and more ubiquitous, it becomes part of every other jury that we've got here—film, direct, promo, design, media. It's a really transitional and important year for this jury and the industry at large."