"It grabbed me by the gut," said Gerry Graf, chief creative officer of Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, and a jury member. "I felt what they wanted me to feel. A simple image and a few ads worked on four or five different levels for me. It changed my image of Wrangler. It's talking about primal urges."
Different executions portray young people in nature-filled settings posed like animals in the wild. Some ads show people in Wrangler jeans or denim shirts. In "Dakota on Road" a woman clad only in white jeans stands in the middle of a road's yellow lines, caught like a deer in approaching headlines. In "Dakota 1," (pictured above) a woman is submerged in water up to her nose, reminiscent of a crocodile or a hippo.
"What pushed Wrangler in front was it set the code and DNA of what the company can be," said David Lubars, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO North America and president of the press jury. "It was a master plan."
The Fred & Farid agency, set up by longtime creative duo Frederic Raillard and Farid Mokart, better known simply as Fred & Farid, live and breathe Wrangler. Their website currently consists of about 100 executions of the "We are animals" concept. Before setting up the Paris agency, they worked at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco and BBH, London, and in 2005 opened and briefly ran another creative hotshop, Marcel, that was backed by Publicis Groupe and quickly picked up Coca Cola assignments. But within 18 months they left and started over again.
France also picked up three gold, a silver and five bronze Press Lions. A gold-winning Alka Seltzer campaign by CLM BBDO was the other contender for the Press Grand Prix. France also did well in Outdoor, where the Alka Seltzer campaign picked up a gold, and France won a total of three gold, one silver, and five bronze Outdoor Lions. Before that, France had won only one bronze each in the cyber and media contests, and nothing in the direct, promo, radio and public relations competitions.
The U.S. didn't do well in Press, picking up a single gold, for a Miller Brewing Co. campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, for Miller High Life, and one bronze award.
The press judges were a jury with a sense of humor. Mr. Graf told a roomful of puzzled foreign journalists at the press conference that Mr. Lubars' nickname is Lubie (it's not). With the idea that it would be nice if everyone called him that anyway, Mr. Graf had T-shirts made emblazoned with Mr. Lubars' picture and the words "I like Lubie" for all the judges, many of whom were wearing them at the press conference.
"We were concerned everyone hated him," one judge said, "so we thought we'd show him some sympathy."
Mr. Lubars, however, said the gesture made him wonder about the judges who didn't wear the T-shirt.