COMING SOON: AN AWARD FOR BEST AWARDS SHOW; CREATIVE CONTESTS EXPAND TO HONOR MEDIA PLANNING, CYBERSPACE EFFORTS

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Advertising's annual spring rite of awards presentations and festivals is getting into full swing. And the industry's boom times have translated into increasingly ambitious agendas at a number of high-profile events.

Media have an increased role at these conclaves, particularly the Web. The Cannes International Advertising Festival, for example, is holding its first competition for media planning and strategy. Its Cannes Cyber Lions online competition has just named Yahoo! its Internet company of the year.

The show cycle got its unofficial start last week with the presentation of the International Andy Awards in New York, and picks up steam this week with the expanded slate of the One Show, the awards competition sponsored by the One Club for Art & Copy, also held in New York.

Later this month, the Clios will mount a weeklong festival that incorporates awards, seminars and workshops for interactive, print, broadcast and radio advertising.

And coming up in June is the annual exhibit of top U.S. TV commercials as chosen by the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, the production industry's trade association.

Among the highlights of these events are speeches by Spike Lee of Spike/ DDB, Jeff Berg of International Creative Management and superstar commercial director Joe Pytka, as well as the presentation of a special award to Italian media magnate Silvio Berlusconi.

ONE SHOW EXPANDS

The One Show has expanded beyond its one-night awards presentation, which takes place May 6, into a three-day examination of the creative process. Mr. Pytka will speak on May 5 at the Museum of Television & Radio, where he'll screen ads from his one-of-a-kind reel and discuss his role in their creation and production.

The One Show festival also will include an all-day creative workshop for junior creatives and an exhibit of top print ads from students at a half-dozen schools and universities. The workshop and student exhibits previously have been held at different times of the year, and this is the first time they've been linked with the One Show.

"A big part of our mission here is education," said One Club Executive Director Mary Warlick.

The theme of lectures that will accompany this year's Association of Independent Commercial Producers show, held in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art and taking place the first week of June, is the convergence of different genres of media and the expanded creative options this provides both agencies and marketers.

SPIKE SPEAKS

Addressing this topic in separate talks will be Messrs. Lee and Berg, and Mike De Luca, president of New Line Productions, the studio that produced "Wag the Dog" and "Boogie Nights."

"More and more, advertising has to fight for attention in the pop-culture media mix," said Matt Miller, executive director of the producers group, in explaining the rationale behind the convergence theme. "Advertisers are looking for the kinds of things that stick in people's minds, and we're seeing advertiser dollars buying into the talent that can create these images.

"The result is the development of a model that's more about cross-pollination [between entertainment and advertising] than about crossover."

MEDIA THAT WORKS

While the producers association examines the entertainment aspect of advertising, a continent away the attention is being turned to how media are used by advertisers to reach their targets.

In introducing its media competition, dubbed the Media Lions, Cannes Chief Executive Romain Hatchuel said the increased presence of media such as cable and satellite TV in Europe, along with the worldwide growth of the Internet, "has created much more room for creativity and innovation in media planning. We wanted to recognize that, while also creating an annual meeting point for media professionals."

200-PLUS MEDIA ENTRIES

The festival has received more than 200 entries in this category, Mr. Hatchuel said, and expects more before the May 7 deadline. The entries, which are being judged based on written descriptions and visual presentation boards illustrating the medium at work, will be judged just before and during the early days of the festival, which starts June 21.

A separate media jury has been convened, headed by Paul Woolmington, president of Young & Rubicam's Media Edge, New York. Festival organizers expect close to 700 media people will attend the awards presentation on June 23.

At that time, the festival will honor Mr. Berlusconi for his career accomplishments in the media.

While the Cyber Lions festival will continue to share the facilities and schedule of the traditional print and TV commercial events, Mr. Hatchuel said the IAF plans eventually to separate the Media Lions from the print, TV and Internet awards and conduct its own parallel event in Cannes with seminars and speakers.

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