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Dove 'Sketches' Campaign Takes Titanium Grand Prix at Cannes

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At the end of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, McCann Melbourne's "Dumb Ways to Die" picked up a total of five Grand Prix awards, including the integrated category, and Ogilvy Brasil's Dove "Sketches" won the titanium Grand Prix, considered the festival's highest honor. For Ogilvy it was a triumph to pick up the award after netting several Gold Lions in other categories but no Grand Prix awards.

The Jury: "I don't really like judging," said Dan Wieden, chairman of Wieden & Kennedy and president of the titanium and integrated jury, noting that this will be his last time as a judge at Cannes. The two categories are judged together, with separate winners. More than half the 10 judges were from the U.S.

Ogilvy's Dove Sketches Campaign
Ogilvy's Dove Sketches Campaign

Mr. Wieden helped the festival create the titanium award in 2003, suggesting it be framed as a way for the industry to look forward. "It was so open," he said. "We tried to give it a little bit more focus this year. The titanium is given in recognition of work that is truly transformational and signals a new way forward. Once we did that, the work fell into an easy selection process."

Explaining the difference between the two categories, Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director for South Asia, said: "Integration is about seamless integration, and titanium is about how big the idea is, and not how many media you use."

What it is: The insight behind Dove "Sketches" is that most women underestimate how attractive they are, affecting their self image. Ogilvy Brazil brought in an FBI profiler to draw two sketches of each woman selected, one based on her own description of herself and the other as a stranger saw her. The two very different pictures, and each woman's reaction to them, were made into films, print ads, an online gallery of portraits. The campaign was widely picked up by media around the world, and shared by women everywhere, reinforcing the message "You are more beautiful than you think."

"'Dumb Ways to Die" is an Australian train-safety themed music video that went viral and inspired karaoke-style parodies; was sold on iTunes; and featured various digital components (including a mobile game), to get people to interact with the campaign. The song climbed the music charts in more than 20 countries and, more importantly, client Metro Trains reported a 21% drop in accidents and deaths on public transit compared to the same period last year.

Why it won: Dove "Sketches" was a perennial bridesmaid, winning Gold Lions in almost every category throughout the week and often in contention for the Grand Prix before taking the prestigious titanium Grand Prix on Saturday. "Friends outside the advertising industry were sending it to me because it's such a great message for women," said Margaret Johnson, a juror and executive creative director and partner atGoodby, Silverstein & Partners. "That's the mark of a powerful piece of content."

The integrated winner "Dumb Ways to Die," continued to dazzle every jury it faced. Ms. Johnson noted that it presented a heavy, serious message about avoiding death in a fun, quirky way that also achieved the unusual feat of resonating with both adults and kids. "It has about 10 touchpoints," said David Lubars, jury member and chairman and chief creative officer at BBDO North America. "It's the most seamlessly integrated campaign we saw. It shows a lot of love and respect for its audience -- it's not just clever."

Controversy or clear winner: Jurors said picking Dove "Sketches" for top Titanium honor was a pretty clear-cut decision, given Mr. Wieden's guiding vision of what the titanium award should be. In the integrated category, the closest competition came from Dove "Sketches" and Procter & Gamble's "Proud sponsors of moms" by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, both of which won integrated Golds.

Prudential Financial's campaign by Droga5, New York, about preparing for retirement was a particular favorite of Mr. Wieden's, other jurors said, and won a titanium Lion. "Here's a client working desperately hard to figure out why people have trouble saving for retirement … [and] to understand why people aren't making good decisions," Mr. Wieden said.

Total number of Lions awarded: The jury gave 15 prizes, including the titanium and integrated Grand Prix awards. There were also four titanium Lions -- which are awarded simply as Lions, without a distinction between metals -- and nine integrated Lions (two Gold, two Silver and five Bronze).

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