Renault/Germany Wins Direct Grand Prix, Wongdoody Takes Gold

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"A Channel Hopper," an innovative campaign for automaker Renault Nissan Deutschland created by Hamburg-based Nordpol Hamburg Agentur fur Kommunication took top honors in this year's Cannes Lions Direct competition. After viewing 135 short-listed campaigns, the 20-member jury awarded the campaign with a Grand Prix for its creativity, entertainment value and execution. "The execution just works," said Joel Sobelson, exec-VP, chief creative officer, Wunderman/New York, one of two U.S. jurors. "I've never had such a jaw-dropping experience as I did with this campaign."

Of the three U.S. Lions, Wongdoody in Seattle won a Gold for "Skyhigh Necessities," for client Alaska Airlines. The two Bronzes were awarded to Rodgers Townsend, St. Louis for "Crisply Folded Shirt," for client Pleats Finest Cleaners and to Publicis/New York for "Pillowcase," for client Denny's Restaurants.

"A Channel Hopper," while very much a direct-marketing campaign, with the discipline's traditional "call to action" that aims to prompt consumers to engage with the product, impressed jurors because it exemplifies direct's future. For instance, it begins using e-mail, rather than a more commonplace paper letter. "That's exciting, because people generally think 'mail' when they hear direct marketing," said Mr. Sobelson. The e-mail tells the consumer about a TV commercial. Then they're encouraged to jump to another TV channel, where they view another commercial, before turning online, to a website. Only when they get back online are they introduced to the product being advertised -- Renault's Modus.

Peter Loiseaux, creative director Tequila/Brussels, said one of the factors judges weighed in giving Modus top prize is that the campaign illustrates a growing trend in advertising: that is, integration -- executing one big idea in mulitple categories -- morphing into "fusion," where one medium builds upon another resulting in a far more complex campaign. In Modus, viewers must interact with an e-mail, then go to TV, and return online in order to reach the campaign's end. "Great creative invites people to do that," he said.

The jury awarded nine Gold lions, 14 Silver, and 25 Bronze. The U.K., which submitted more entries than any other country with 244, won eight lions (1 Gold, 3 Silver, and 4 Bronze). Germany, just behind the U.K. in number of entries with 206 submissions, in addition to the Grand Prix, fared well, bringing home six awards (1 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze). The U.S. this year submitted 94 submissions and won three, compared to last year's tally of six Lions from 134 submissions. - Lisa Sanders

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