The Method website allows viewers to type in confessions, which then appear on a woman’s hand and get washed away with a Method soaping. Simultaneously, a female voice gives the user a witty, personalized “scolding” for his or her wrongdoings. “Come Clean is a very personal experience that will be hard to show on the stage,” Pereira said, referring to this evening’s awards ceremony. “You’ll have to go on and make your own confessions because the website gives it to you in a very human and powerful way.” Juror Stefan Lindfors, creative director at Stream, Finland, added that the Method site “is not only interactive, it’s also personal. We also thought that this is yet an additional argument for raising it up to that level in the Cyber category. Although it’s nice and neat, in the end we did find it surprisingly emotional.”
Overall, the jury expressed genuine excitement over this year’s judging process. “Unlike TV and other media forms, this medium changes by the minute, so coming here after 12 months of working, everyone was so excited to see not the next nice piece of art direction or concept, but what is the big idea moving forward that no one’s seen before,” said Scott Rodgers, CD at the U.K.’s Euro RSCG Interaction. “I think that’s why the 'Reality Advertising' piece, although it may look simple on the surface, if you actually get under it, is a groundbreaking piece of work. It’s a product demonstration but in real time over the web, which has never been done before. And 12 months from now it’ll be something else. So this category is by far to me the most exciting place to be because you never know what’s around the corner. We had a lot of in-depth discussions about the value of what should come forward, but in the end, I think that piece really speaks a lot of how there’s always something new happening in this discipline."
The jury this year bestowed a total of 93 Lions, including 15 Gold, down 10 from last year’s 25. Brazil and the U.S., earned three Golds each, the U.K. won two, and one each went to Germany, Korea, Japan, Canada, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands. U.S. Golds were divided between Crispin, for its Mini “Counterfeit” web effort, R/GA for the Nike Lab Holiday 04 website, and San Francisco’s Mekanism, for its comedic online serial “The True Adventures of Chad” for Sega of America.
The International Advertising Festival also introduced a new Cyber award, for the Interactive Agency of the Year. Grand Prix winner DDB/Brazil earned the honor, with Crispin and another Brazilian shop, Euro RSCG 4D, Sao Paulo taking second and third place, respectively. DDB/Brazil earned a total of nine Lions. Besides the Grand Prix, it won two Gold, three Silver, and three Bronze. Country-wise, Brazil had the strongest overall showing, with 25 Lions from its 320 entries. Out of 418 entries, the U.S. earned 21.
The jury also noticed several trends from this year’s entries, which totaled 1,897 from 43 countries. Pereira observed three main themes, all having to do with the widespread use of video on the internet. “Video is definitely what can be called the official format of content for the web now. Almost all of the winners had some kind of video content inside their websites, whether it was big, or just a detail.” He added, however: “That’s not enough. If there’s a lot of video, you’re just giving more impact to the work that you’re doing, and if the message is bad, you’re going to be even worse. So the second conclusion was that although video is powerful, it’s still about giving a fresh, emotional brand experience that uses the medium to its limit, which is what the two Grand Prix show.”
Thirdly, Pereira noted that perhaps because of video, the Cyber playing field has shifted from being dominated by interactive shops. “It seems that with video, the offline agencies have felt a new opportunity and they went into the online agencies’ bedroom and woke them up. And they have done a great job. Online and offline agencies are now competing on the same territory and it’s going to be great for the industry. Both sides have a lot to learn from each other, and there a lot of things that we can improve by watching what the other side is doing.”
The rest of the jury offered other telling observations about this year’s winners. Euro RSCG Interaction’s Rodgers noted that he expected production values to be at high levels, especially with regard to sound. “It’s just audio, but as we were sitting there for seven days in a row wearing headphones, there were definitely things that did not make the grade because audio production values were low. This is a complex media form -- we pull together audio, visual, interactivity, technology. If any one of those falls short, the piece may not be up to scratch. They’ve raised the bar on the level of audio production and integrating that into pieces, which can push something to another level.” But production values ultimately serve as just a tool for award-worthy work, added Morten Kirckhoff, partner at Advance, Denmark. “I definitely see the biggest trend is that we’re beyond technology,” he said. “Of course technology is a necessity to get the job done, but if you look at what’s been awarded here, it has nothing to do with technology. It’s about the idea. What we’ve seen in the past four or five years is small ideas being blown up on the internet and becoming really, really big, and now we see big ideas becoming really, really small, really clear, and a big experience for the user.”
Juror Rodgers also noticed that the entries hinted at where the industry may be going. “A lot of people talk about TV, radio and all these other influences, but what concerns me is the gaming industry and the influence that’s going to have on this medium. The gaming industry is working on a platform that is a good two years ahead of what we have to work with every day in terms of the technology we can use. In the interactive pieces, I saw a trend that there was learning being taken from the gaming industry, which we know is a very, very successful medium in its own right, and I think you’re going to start to see more impact from that, even maybe more so than from traditional media." -Ann-Christine Diaz