Garfield's AdReview

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[Cannes] "Grrr," for Honda from Wieden & Kennedy, London, is as irresistible and worthy a Grand Prix as...wait...

What is all that screaming?

Hear it? From Stella Artois, Marmite, Kit Kat, Bud Light, K-Fee coffee, Solz Habu toothpaste, Toyota Corolla, New York Post, Triple J Radio, Manager Daily of Bangkok, L'Equipe newspaper of France, Gio Insurance, Ameriquest.

Blood-curdling shrieks in every spot.

Is it just a coincidence, like the suddenly flourishing morning seminars that just happened to spring up when the clients began attending, or like the urination jokes that were everywhere in the competition this year? Is it disappointment over failure to win the prize of prizes?

Nope. These had to be shrieks of simple horror.

From commercials that know they are done for. That the glory days are over. That the :30-second spot-the (ostensible) selling tool that looks enough like a mini-movie to persuade 8,000 delegates they are actually filmmakers-is in the process of being displaced.

Which is the difference between the screaming commercials and the people who made them. Nero fiddled while Rome burned. The Cannes delegates guzzled and tanned, oblivious for the most part to their own looming oblivion.

They aren't going down quietly, either. Creatives of the world filled 1,000-seat auditoriums for hours on end, jeering the 595 shortlist commercials unfit for viewing, cheering the 50 worth applause, most especially the wonderful "Grrr." At the same time, a long trudge up two levels in the Palais du Festival's farthest 125-seat screening room, seven lonesome (count `em, seven) souls viewed the Titanium shortlist of eight (count `em, eight) campaigns requiring multiple integrated channels, such as the Internet.

You know, that medium that had its Grand Prix Wednesday honoring Method cleaning products (Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami) and Henkel's Super Bonder Glue (Tribal DDB, Sao Paulo), minus the vast throngs of formally attired filmmakers who gathered Saturday to applaud "Grrr," the TV commercial.

OK. Fair's fair. It's a hell of a TV commercial, featuring no screaming whatsoever. Au contraire, it is a lovely and lilting, buoyant and bubbly paean to the wonders of Honda's diesel technology-technology, the Garrison Keillor-sung jingle avers, arising directly from the loathsome previous generations of clanking, thumping diesels.

"Hate something. Change something. Hate something. Change something. Make something bet-terrrrrr."

This to semi-kaleidoscopic animation of birds and trees and other primary-colored nature. Sort of "Yellow Submarine" meets "Prairie Home Companion." And not only is it irresistible, it somehow manages to articulate both the product benefits and the brand philosophy simultaneously. Which is why, of course, audiovisual advertising will never die. It will simply find a better habitat.

For instance, the Internet. If they'd bothered to walk up four flights of steps, the delegates would have seen more winners. Mini Cooper (Crispin Porter), Volvo (Fuel Europe, Amsterdam) Virgin Mobile (Glue Society, Sydney) and Honda, from Wieden & Kennedy, London. All with Internet components.

Miss hearing that news over all that TV-commercial screaming?

Grrr.

Review 4 stars

Ad: Honda

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy

Location: London

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