Sony and Cordiant unit win first Cannes media Grand Prix

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Sony Corp. June 23 won its second grand Prix at this week's International Advertising Festival, picking up the top prize in the festival's first-ever media awards. The campaign, for Sony videogames, was done by a New Zealand ad agency, Cordiant-owned 141 Palaceplus, Auckland.

Sony's Playstation won the Grand Prix for the press and poster competition yesterday for the "Nipples'' campaign by TBWA Simons Palmer GGT, London.

The U.S. was completely shut out, winning none of the 16 Media Lions awarded in addition to the Grand Prix. The U.S. accounted for 77 of the 421 media entries. A festival official said it was"unprecedented'' for the U.S. to fail to win a single Lion in a festival competition. (The Cannes festival is divided into separate cyber, media, press and poster and TV/cinema competitions).

The winners of the TV/cinema Lions will be announced Saturday.

In the media awards, small and developing markets were the biggest winners. India, Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand won two Media Lions each (in addition to New Zealand's Grand Prix).

"The U.S. had a very high percent shortlisted,'' said Paul Woolmington, the media jury's president and president of Young & Rubicam's Media Edge. ``There was some solid thinking, but for the real breakthroughs we didn't see as much from the U.S.''

The jury especially liked, for example, a Media Lion winner from Kodak India by Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai. Playing on an Indian tradition of rarely smiling in photographs, the agency captured people happily accepting awards and ran the photos of their delighted faces as Kodak Moments in ads.

For Sony's Grand Prix, the agency used street theatre and stunts as well as more conventional radio and print.

"They understood the consumer and the consumers' relationship with games,'' Mr. Woolmington said. "They created incredibly innovative tactical solutions.''

For example, for Sony's auto racing game, bashed up cars were placed outside stadia where car races were held. People practiced kung fu fighting in the street to promote a martial arts game. And seemingly dead bodies littered the streets, "victims'' of a lethal video game called Trekkon.

Copyright June 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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