The ad, showing a gutted shark, a skeleton and intact surfer shorts from Sydney marketer Kadu, took the press and poster Grand Prix at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes (AA, June 27). The tagline: "Tough clothes by Kadu-Triple stitched. Strongest materials available. Homegrown and sewn."
Cannes judges said it had a valid selling point and wasn't gratuitous.
It was the second in a series of three equally low-budget ads done by now-defunct Sydney agency Andromeda with the theme "Tough clothes by Kadu."
"I was pretty shocked by the ad, right from the time I saw the preliminary sketches," said Richard Cram, managing director of Kadu, a small, surfing-inspired sportswear company. "But even though it's raw and not everyone likes it, I've been thrilled by the reaction. There's absolutely no way anyone can leaf through a magazine and turn the page without doing a double take when they see that ad."
The ad also won wide media coverage in its home market, since it coincidentally ran at the same time two surfers were mauled and killed by sharks. The company never considered pulling the ad, instead reveling in its timeliness.
Mr. Cram, once a professional surfer, said the ad tried to get away from typical surfer ads. "I also wanted to break free from the general run of sportswear advertising that relies heavily on sex to sell."
The $7,500 budget bought the shark a place in three surfing magazines-Tracks, Free Surf and Underground Surf.
"It's great," said Tristan Dewey, a laid-back 18-year-old Melbourne surfer who accompanied his father, Chris Dewey, creative director of George Patterson Advertising in Melbourne and a Cannes judge.
The younger Mr. Dewey said he particularly liked the shark ad because it was created with his age group's mind-set.
Mr. Cram plans to produce the prize winning ad as a limited edition poster to display-but not sell-at stores throughout Australia and New Zealand that carry Kadu sportswear and casualwear.
The ad works so well for Kadu that the youthful former Andromeda creative team of Ben Nott, 25, and Adam Hall, 30, have taken the account with them to their new jobs in Amsterdam at PMSvW/ Y&R. Former art director Paul Bennell is still in Sydney.
The first ad was equally shocking.
"We have this [staged] picture of an execution [in] an electric chair," Mr. Cram said, "with the remains of this person fried to a frazzle and a pair of our board shorts sitting there untouched, with the same caption `Tough clothes by Kadu."'
The third, just out, shows the remains of a home caught in Sydney's disastrous bushfires in January.