PS2's "Mountain" Wins Cannes Grand Prix

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PS2 stages an epic game of "King of the Mountain."
In the end, "Mountain" was too big and too gorgeous to get over. Although the Cannes crowd was trying to guess the winner of the Film Grand Prix all week, nobody was surprised when the PlayStation 2 spot from TBWA/London and director Frank Budgen came out on top. Instead, the drama came from some of the other results -- a particularly strong showing by Canada, Hungry Man’s first ever Palme D’Or -- as well as the work that didn’t win.

According to Film jury chair Piyush Pandey -- executive chairman and national creative director of Ogilvy & Mather/India -- the other two contenders for the Grand Prix were Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" campaign -- directed by Greg Popp out of DDB/Chicago -- and "Prison Visitor," a spot for Unilever’s Vim Bleach from Zig/Toronto, directed by The Perlorian Brothers of Toronto’s Reginald Pike, both of which were awarded Gold Lions.

In sum, the winners represented "work with heart in it," said Pandey. According to the 22-person jury, the PS2 spot's "simplicity of idea, magnitude of execution," and compelling use of a Shirley Temple gospel tune -- which earned the spot a special Lion for music -- put the spot in the Grand Prix realm. "The question was asked on the jury, ‘what would we remember five years from now,'" said Pandey. "'Mountain' stood out larger than the others." Juror Olivier Altmann, CCO of Publicis Conseil/Paris said there were no specific trends in the winning work, but that there was a less cynical tone to some of the spots, including "Mountain." "You saw brands trying to establish a more friendly relationship rather than a cynical one," said Altmann. Juror Linda Kaplan Thaler went so far as to call "Mountain" "an iconic symbol of where we’d all like the world to be."

Among the other Gold Lion winners: the truly weird "Worms" for Unif Green Tea out of BBDO/Bangkok; "Getting Dressed" for Lynx out of BBH/London; the Soken DVD campaign from Euro RSCG Flagship/Bangkok; and "Shadow" for Aerolineas Argentinas out of JWT/Buenos Aires, a crowd favorite at the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase. BBDO/New York took Gold for its latest FedEx campaign, directed by Frank Todaro through @radical.media (Todaro is now with Moxie Pictures). Sneakers were represented in the Gold mix by Nike's "Musical Chairs" out of Wieden + Kennedy/Amsterdam, directed by Traktor; while the "Wake Up Call" single and the "Laila/Long Run" campaign for adidas, all created by 180/Amsterdam and directed by Park Pictures' Lance Acord also scored Gold Lions. "Musical Chairs" won the Journalists’ Award and Nike also won Bronze Lions for "The Other Game" from Wieden/Amsterdam and "What if?" from Wieden/Portland.

Cars also made a strong showing with Honda’s "Everyday" from Wieden/London, Peugeot’s "Toys" from BETC Euro RSCG in Paris and Toyota Tacoma's "Girlfriend," from Saatchi & Saatchi/Torrance all winning Gold.

Hungry Man gained Gold points with the Orange campaign "Carrie Fisher/Roy Scheider/Spike Lee" out of Mother London and for a BC SPCA pet adoption campaign from DDB Canada/Vancouver (sharing production credits with Vancouver’s Circle Productions). Hungry Man also won a Bronze Lion for the brand new "Very Funny" TBS campaign out of Publicis/New York.

The U.S. won a total of 21 Lions, with the U.K. winning 15. Canada won a total of eight Lions, including two Golds for the Canadian Film Festival’s short film festival campaign from Taxi/Toronto and the BC SPCA campaign. Among the Silver Lion winners were the Value City "Role Reversal" spot from Cliff Freeman and Partners, directed by Neil Tardio Jr.; Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s Burger King campaign "Office/Bun Sniffer" and the American Legacy Foundation campaign "1200/Replacement Smokers," from Crispin and Arnold Worldwide. The Legacy Super Bowl spot "Shards o’ Glass" won Bronze, as did the much discussed iPod "Dance" commercial from TBWA/Chiat/Day, the Frank Budgen directed HP commercial "The Next Shift" from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, and DDB/Seattle’s Gill Foundation gay discrimination awareness campaign.

In the production company sweepstakes, Toronto’s Untitled came second behind Hungry Man for the Palme D’Or. Untitled racked up points for the Taxi Short Film Festival campaign, directed by Tim Godsall, and the Ontario Elections campaign, which won Silver. The list of the top ten production companies was rounded out with Biscuit Filmworks, Gorgeous/London, Partizan/U.S., Partizan/U.K., Matching Studio/Thailand, @radical.media/ U.S., Harvest and Park Pictures. TBWA/Paris was named Agency of the Year, with DDB/London and 180/Amsterdam coming in second and third, respectively.

One of the surprises was the decision not to award the Titanium Lion, the prize created at last year’s festival to recognize groundbreaking work outside of traditional media boundaries. Pandey said the Sega/ESPN "Beta 7" campaign from Wieden + Kennedy/New York was being considered, along with work for Vodafone and Sony, but the judges felt there was nothing sufficiently "holistic" to merit the special award this year. "The Titanium Lion should be something that changes our lives," said Pandey.

Jurors also talked about the ballyhooed client presence at the festival and what that might portend for the creative future. Pandey pointed out the strong showing by Unilever, with its Gold win for Vim. "To compete in this market you have to be brave," he said. "Hopefully it will happen more and more."

Mark Fisher group creative director of Ogilvy & Mather/South Africa said that clients absorb the creative vibe in Cannes but "when they go back home they tend to forget it." While more people are excited about doing great work, "I don’t think they are actually committed," said Fisher. -Teressa Iezzi

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