Volkswagen "Fun Theory" and Nike "Chalkbot" take Cyber Grand Prix

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CANNES, France ( -- DDB Stockholm's "Fun Theory" effort for Volkswagen and Wieden & Kennedy's "Chalkbot" for Nike Livestrong earned Cyber Grand Prix, capping off a winning run on this year's awards circuit for both agencies and campaigns.

WHAT THEY ARE: "Fun Theory" promoted Volkswagen's environmentally friendly engine technology with an integrated effort featuring videos-turned-virals such as "Piano Staircase" and "World's Deepest Bin." These efforts ignited a broader appeal within the general public to create their own acts that turned mundane, good-for-you tasks into other fun experiences. Nike "Chalkbot" was a robot, created by developers Deep Local, Pittsburgh, that imprinted messages of hope along the Tour de France route, where they could be seen by the athletes and bystanders during the race. Anyone could send messages to Chalkbot via Twitter, banner ads or a website.

THE JURY: Jury president Jeff Benjamin, co-chief creative officer of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, led the panel.

TOTAL NUMBER OF LIONS AWARDED: Two Grand Prix, 15 Gold Lions, 30 Silver Lions and 52 Bronze Lions.

WHY THEY WON: Both campaigns were prime examples of two themes that emerged from the best work seen during the judging process: invisible technology and "real-time" interaction. The greatest innovations supported "this notion that technology will reach its peak when you don't even realize it's there," said Mr. Benjamin, quoting one of the jury members. "The stuff that was so innovative was the stuff that seemed magical. It had technology, but that's not what was showing."

CONTROVERSY, OR LITTLE DEBATE? "Fun Theory" naysayers have been concerned about the lack of product or brand integration in the initial videos. But this did little to detract the jury from the campaign's merits. "A lot of times campaigns are a little bit of a voyage, and you have to do some work upfront to have another conversation a little bit later on," Mr. Benjamin said. "For us, that campaign was about creating a culture for a later conversation to happen. I think if they had driven that product story in at the very beginning, the work wouldn't have been as powerful, and I don't think it would have been that sticky."

WHO ELSE DID WELL: Gold went to "We Choose the Moon," for the John F. Kennedy Library, created by Martin Agency and Domani Studios. "That, again, was something in real-time," said Mr. Benjamin. Another "real-time" gold winner was Samsung's "Mobile Shakedown," by From Stockholm With Love. The site demonstrated the toughness of the B2100 phone by pointing live webcams at 70 of them positioned on a table above a vat of water. Visitors could call into a special number, causing the phones to vibrate. Whoever could make a phone fall off the table won that phone. Once they had fallen off, visitors could still watch them vibrate in the water.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: The award-wining work, said Mr. Benjamin, "points to the future of how we'll work together in our industry -- this notion of creatives coming together with technologists. It's not about just the art director and writer anymore, it's about technology, the interaction designer, all these people coming together. It's probably been happening for a while, but that's now entering larger agencies."

Added juror Robert Rasmussen of Tribal DDB: "When you look through the work that won, you can feel the technology present in the creative process. If you go through all these winners, you'd be hard pressed to find one that didn't have technology woven into the creative solution."

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