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Cannes 2008

BBDO, New York, Wins Outdoor Grand Prix for 'Voyeur'

Judges Called HBO Campaign a 'Paradigm Shift'; Effort Could Be Another BMW Films for Lubars

By Published on .

CANNES (AdAge.com) -- One of the year's biggest integrated campaigns, BBDO, New York's "Voyeur" project for HBO, picked up its second Grand Prix at the Cannes International Advertising Festival today in the outdoor category. "Voyeur" has now won two Grand Prix in as many days after scooping promotions honors yesterday.
HBO: Voyeur

BBDO, New York's 'Voyeur' project for HBO won the outdoor category at the Cannes International Advertising Festival today.

Part of an integrated-branding campaign many are expecting to also do well later in the week in the cyber category and in the titanium and integrated group, "Voyeur" involved projecting a massive video onto the side of a building in New York's Lower East Side. Multiple points of focus existed within the projection, which imagined the building was cut away, revealing an interior rife with dramatic action that prompted viewers to visit the campaign website.

Captured the 'sense of the medium'
"Often you find work that is just replicated from other mediums and converted to outdoor," said jury president Prasoon Joshi, regional executive creative director of Asia Pacific for McCann Erickson, Mumbai. "We were looking for ideas that tried to capture the sense of the medium and tried to innovate within the medium."

Mr. Joshi underlined outdoor's role in interrupting daily life as opposed to TV programs or magazine stories. "Here is this piece of work that competes with life in such a beautiful manner that it almost creates life for you," he said. Jonah Bloom Reports From Cannes: Cranky Americans Crave Showers and Starbucks

The campaign was "outstanding, we unanimously felt strong voting on that any time this piece of work came up. It did complete justice to the outdoor medium and does a great job for the brand. The entire nature of the campaign is defined by outdoor, but when you draw people in and then you take them to different mediums after that, the cumulative effect of that is the success of this campaign."

That cumulative effect is also apparent in the number of awards "Voyeur" is amassing in multiple mediums: In addition to the Grand Prix in the promo category, "Voyeur" has already won awards for both its website and video executions in addition to the outdoor projections.

"I think the biggest [element] is the outdoor, it draws you into the campaign," Mr. Joshi said. When asked, he revealed the jury was exposed to the entire integrated campaign. "We looked at the TV work and the web work, but we felt the outdoor was a big part of it, the outdoor is what draws you into the entire happening."

BBDO, New York, confirmed it submitted a video explaining the campaign elements in its entry. Like the popular BMW Films shepherded by BBDO North America creative chief David Lubars when he was at Fallon, the "Voyeur" work crosses categories at Cannes and figures to be a winner in multiple disciplines.

'Paradigm shift'
U.S. representative juror David Angelo, chief creative officer at Los Angeles-based David & Goliath, said the Grand Prix brought about a change of mind among the jury. "It's a total paradigm shift. We saw a lot of great advertising, but this was a signal for something entirely different. It was part of a bigger picture and it was the initiator. You need a catalyst in order to continue the experience. Whether you were there or not, there were no words attached to it. It was something that ignited the process. That's what outdoor should do. We took in consideration all those other components, but stepped aside and looked at the outdoor on its own. The average consumer looks at a billboard for three seconds, this thing captivates you for four minutes."

And what would a later win for "Voyeur" in cyber or in titanium and integrated signal? "It will tell you," Mr. Joshi said, "that we are looking for ideas, and the boundaries or barriers are breaking, compartments are breaking, the lines are blurring. It's a signal of the future. In the future, probably you will not need individual categories."

"[It's] redefining categories," he added. "Do we need categories in the future? Every medium would play its role. In the future you might find one medium absolutely incomplete without the overlap of another medium. It's the beginning of that, the joining of hands of different mediums together."

Asia's outdoor dominance
Asia dominated the winners list, earning 18 Lions with work from South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Thailand and China. TBWA, China's sea-of-citizens work for Adidas earned the nation's first Gold, leading Mr. Angelo to say, "It felt like a movement, something that was larger than life."

"The spirit of China came alive in that," Mr. Joshi added. He wouldn't pin down what the Asian work had that set it apart this year, save for the younger generation of creatives and their energy and desire. "We used to sell dreams, these days we're selling hope. People are very hopeful for their future. They think in their lifetime they can change their fate, and they are very hardworking and enthusiastic and trying hard."

The U.S. and U.K., on the other hand, notably came up short. Three campaigns for the U.K. retailer, and oft-awarded entrant, Harvey Nichols from DDB, London, picked up trophies; two of the executions picked up Silver and one earned Bronze. While the U.S. took Grand Prix and two Golds, so far that's only two more Lions than Qatar, which also won its first Gold for a campaign for EA Games' "Medal of Honor" from FP7, Doha. Last year the U.S. won six Lions and the U.K. four.

BBDO's Lion share
BBDO, New York, struck Gold again with its innovative work for the BBC, which used coaxial cables snaking on the side of buildings like ivy to depict scenes from the news. "Protest," the sole entry winner from the effort, shows a policeman bearing down on a prone figure with his truncheon.

"The only campaign that fought with [HBO] was the BBC campaign, the cable campaign," Mr. Joshi said. "These two pieces of work were basically something we felt were the best."

The only other U.S. winner was also a Gold, for McDonald's from Leo Burnett, Chicago. "Fresh Salads" spelled just that on a billboard in Chicago's Wrigleyville, but in a mix of various lettuces the fast-food company uses. The board grew through last summer.

Meanwhile, in radio, the Grand Prix went to "Shutter Chance" by Dentsu, Tokyo, for Canon's EOS Kiss digital camera. The spot, which the jury described as the clear winner, uses voice-overs describing capture-the-moment scenarios like bungee jumping with a Doppler effect to tout the camera's fast startup time.

DDB, Chicago's dominance for Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" campaign continued, taking a Gold Lion. TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, won Silver Lions for a Starburst spot and two-spot Combos campaign, and DeVito/Verdi took silver for its work for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
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