CANNES, France (AdAge.com) -- A campaign for New Zealand internet service provider Orcon Broadband by an agency called Special Group out of Auckland took home a direct Grand Prix today, making it the first in Cannes history to win the top prize with an entry that repeatedly dropped the F word.
WHAT IT IS: Orcon was an unknown broadband service in the country, so to boost awareness it set out to find eight New Zealanders to record a song with punk music icon Iggy Pop. The selected musicians were connected, using Orcon's service, to a potty-mouthed, shirtless Iggy, who is based in Miami, and they redid a version of his song "The Passenger" virtually.
ABOUT THE JURY: Pablo Alzugaray, chief creative officer of Shackleton, Spain, sat at the head of a 30-person jury -- the biggest in the ad festival's 57-year history, due to the gargantuan number of entries in the category, more than 1,500. That lent to a very long press conference to announce the winners -- but a lively one too. As the entry reel was played for members of the press, jurors danced and sang along to the Iggy Pop song.
CONTROVERSY OR CLEAR WINNER? "It was a clear winner. ... The Kiwis can be very proud," Alzugaray said. One juror, Peter van Leeuwen, creative business partner at Van Wanten Etcetera in Amsterdam, during the press conference asked aloud if he could share with members of the press other campaigns that came close to the Grand Prix. But no cigar -- festival Chairman Terry Savage smacked down the request. (It's fair to assume those who came close were the Gold Lion winners, though.)
TOTAL NUMBER OF LIONS AWARDED: One Grand Prix, 19 Gold Lions, 24 Silver Lions and 31 Bronze Lions.
WHO ELSE DID WELL? Forsman & Bodenfors' popular "Facebook Showroom" campaign took home a Gold Lion, and in a swan song of sorts, Nokia work from the now-defunct FarFar out of Sweden was bestowed a Gold Lion and two bronzes. While technology was a bigger component of many of the top direct entries, there were a range of other formats jurors gave high marks, including a fragrance-based execution called "Support for the Blind" from Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne, Australia, and a choose-your-own-ending film for the Metropolitan Police against knife crimes from Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO in London.
WHAT THEY DIDN'T LIKE: Apparently, entries from the U.S. and India were unimpressive this year. Of all the awards handed out, just one in the direct category went to a U.S.-based shop; Droga 5 in New York managed to snag a Bronze Lion for its "HardChorus" campaign for client Puma. India, meanwhile, didn't make it beyond the shortlist, despite having taken home the Grand Prix in the category in recent years.
LOOKING TO NEXT YEAR: One criteria that seems to be more important today for direct campaigns is a global reach that demonstrates the impact of the work beyond the home country. The judges don't seem to be too hung up on digital direct work, but they are putting more importance, interestingly, on results. In one phrase, they want "creativity that works."
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