By the time the integrated/titanium category rolled around at the end of the week, the winners' list -- topped by Grand Prix winner "Decode Jay-Z With Bing" by Droga 5 in New York -- was a pretty familiar lineup of the greatest hits from earlier contests. "Decode Jay-Z" won awards throughout the week, including the outdoor Grand Prix and a direct Gold, and picked up a titanium Lion as well as the integrated Grand Prix.
There was also a mandatory appearance by Procter & Gamble's Old Spice work by Wieden & Kennedy and Google's Chrome browser, the companies that are likely to be the two most-awarded marketers at this year's Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. They won a Gold and a Bronze integrated Lion, respectively.
What it is: "We loved its bravery, its boldness, its innovation," said Jury President Bob Scarpelli, chairman of DDB Worldwide. "It's immersive. It's interactive. It's creating conversations with customers. It gave millions a reason to use Bing. They put every page of [Jay-Z's new autobiography] out in the world every day for a month in 13 major cities in the world. Fans could walk through J-Z's life."
Another reason why it won: Fernanda Romano, global creative director, digital and experiential at Euro RSCG, put it best: "I don't think anyone in the room says they're going to 'Bing' anything. You say 'Google.' So Bing has a massive problem. In this case, Bing didn't advertise itself. Bing gave people a user demo and proved it's a good product. Expose people to it, and then they'll tell each other about it." Jay-Z's Facebook followers grew by 1 million and his book was an instant best-seller, but the key number for Bing was the 11.7% increase in visits to Bing in a month.
The jury: Led by Mr. Scarpelli, this 10-person jury is the festival's smallest. Four of the judges simply appear as "global" on the jury list, without a country designation. Another, Linus Karlsson, is a Swede who is chairman and chief creative officer of both the New York and London offices of McCann Erickson, so he is listed as being from both countries.
Controversy or clear winner? Entries in this contest are considered for both integrated and titanium awards. Titanium is reserved for what the festival calls "breakthrough ideas" and this year the jury made the call to skip a titanium Grand Prix.
Total number of Lions awarded: After watching 480 case videos, the jury shortlisted 32 and picked 16 winners. Three titanium Lions were awarded. In the integrated category, the jury gave a Grand Prix, three Gold Lions, six Silver Lions and seven Bronze Lions.
Who else did well? Romania's "American Rom" campaign by BV McCann that kicked off the week with direct and promo Grand Prix trophies was back with a titanium Lion and an integrated Gold, and Nike's "Write the Future" also picked up an integrated Gold award.
What they didn't like: "The videos are too long," complained Paul Lavoie, a judge and chairman of Taxi. "I suggested to [festival Chair Terry] Savage that whatever the [entry] fee is -- I think it's about 1,200 euro [about $1,700] -- it should be 1,200 euro per 30 seconds of video. We'd get the elevator pitch faster."
That pricing model seems unlikely. It's true integrated/titanium is the only category that allows videos to be a maximum of three minutes, rather than the two-minute limit elsewhere, but agencies are packing an entire integrated campaign into 180 seconds.
What you should do next year: "It feels like the digital transformation of the industry is complete," said Iain Tait, a judge and global interactive executive creative director of Wieden & Kennedy. Each entry had a deep point of interactivity, not just a video on YouTube, he said. "It's the first year we've seen that." But, he cautioned: "Every entry talks about Facebook and Twitter. People need to calm down about that, and understand that's a natural thing. If you do something good, people will talk about it. So you can leave that bit out."