Cannes 07

Not Without Controversy, 'Evolution' Wins Film Grand Prix

A Switch in Category Paves Way for Viral Video to Take Top Prize

By Published on . 3

CANNES (AdAge.com) -- "Evolution," Ogilvy, Toronto's viral-video-turned-commercial that re-creates the multistep process of turning an average beauty into a billboard-worthy babe, earned the Film Grand Prix this year, bolstered by a controversial amount of support from the film jury. At the film press conference, one reporter asked the jurors, "Did you cheat to give Dove the Grand Prix?"

"Evolution" had been entered by the agency in the fundraising and appeals category, but the rules of the festival state that films in the charities, public services and best use of music categories are excluded from competition for the top award. The spot, which also earned the Cyber Grand Prix earlier this week, is part of the brand's "Campaign for Real Beauty" and promotes the brand's Self-Esteem Fund, which supports charitable organizations around the world to help foster young girls' self-esteem, according to the Dove website.

Moved to 'appropriate' category
"We moved it from one category to another [corporate image] because we felt that strongly about it," admitted film jury Chairman Bob Scarpelli, chairman-chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide, who said that the jury awarded the spot because it was "the biggest idea we saw, the idea that has the most power." Moreover, "we moved it to a category we felt was appropriate." Juror Zak Mroueh, VP-chief creative director, Taxi Canada, added, "Let's be honest, this is Dove. It creates a Self-Esteem Fund, but there's a corporation behind it and they sell beauty products. It's not like drunk driving."

"We advise many people who enter Cannes to shift categories because they're in the wrong one," said International Advertising Festival executive chairman Terry Savage. "I think any responsibility in regards to that is probably ours because we should have picked up from the several thousand entries that we process each year, that it was probably in the wrong category. We didn't. But it doesn't demean in any way the work or the award."

Could redefine the category
Mr. Scarpelli also suggested that awarding Dove the top honor could possibly lay down the groundwork for redefinition of the film category itself. "It's interesting that this particular piece of film actually started out as a viral video on the internet," he said. "It didn't sway the jury one way or the other, but we thought it is indicative of the way our industry is changing. It's up to Terry but someday viral films, mobile phone films, should be in this category, because it's not the television category, it's the film category. Maybe that would be more reflective of reality today and in the future."

Mr. Scarpelli noted that all the 12 Gold winners were in contention for the top honor, but ultimately the jury narrowed the finalists down to Dove and three other spots: Sony's "Paint," from Fallon, London; Epuron's "Power of Wind," out of Nordpol & Hamburg; and and Nike's "Pretty," from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., which earned an additional Gold for best use of music.

Industry favorite "Happiness Factory" for Coca-Cola, created by Wieden's Amsterdam office, earned only Silver, bested by Wieden, Portland's Gold-winning Coke spot "Video Game."

"It's 2007, we've got the internet, cellphones, violent video games, and they took this violent video game and transformed it into a positive experience," Mr. Mroueh said. "The fact that they sold that to Coca-Cola was monumental. For me 'Happiness Factory' is a great spot and if there were a craft category, I would have awarded it a Grand Prix for that. The animation is amazing, but at the end of the day, that idea didn't feel worthy of a Gold."

Film entries down
Overall, entries in the film category were down about 8%, 4,470 compared to 4,860 last year, continuing a three-year decline. Twelve gold lions were awarded, the U.S. leading with four, for Coca-Cola's "Video Game," the two for Nike's "Pretty," and one for Volkswagen's "Safe Happens" campaign, out of Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami. The U.K. followed with three, for Sony's "Paint," Transport for London's "The Day You Went to Work," from M&C Saatchi, and Levi's "Dangerous Liaisons," out of Bartle Bogle Hagarty, London.

Two Golds went to Canada, for Taxi Canada's Viagra spot "Wombleminki," and Cossette's Fight Network campaign. Argentina, Germany and France each received one, respectively for Bafici Independent Film Festival's "Clarence" from La Comunidad, Buenos Aires, Nordpol & Hambrug's "Power of Wind" for the Wind Energy Initiative and Amnesty International's "Signature," out of TBWA/Paris.

Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, earned the 2007 Agency of the Year honor, followed by DDB, London, and third-place honoree Ogilvy & Mather, Singapore. Network of the Year went to BBDO, with DDB in second place and Saatchi in third.

The Palme D'Or, the award for best production company, went to Smuggler for the first time. The shop won two Gold, one Silver and two Bronze Lions. Biscuit was second-place runner-up, while Epoch Filmsearned the third-place spot.

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