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Cannes Lions

'Sound of Honda' Snags Titanium Prize, Harvey Nichols' Cheap Gifts Campaign Wins Integrated

Data-driven Experience Captures' Judges Hearts While Retailer Defies Convention

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An emotional data-driven experience, "Sound of Honda -- Ayrton Senna 1989," and Harvey Nichols' cheeky multi-awarded "Sorry, I Spent It on Myself" campaign earned the Grand Prix in the titanium and integrated categories, respectively, during the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

What they are: The "Sound of Honda" was created out of Dentsu Tokyo and recreated racecar driver Ayrton Senna's 1989 record-setting lap during the Japanese F1 circuit in Suzuka in a mesmerizing sound and light-filled installation. The installation was built using real data recorded with the brand's "Internavi" telemetry navigation system, first launched more than 20 years ago in Honda vehicles. The data was translated into racecar sounds that were then combined with lights and a real racetrack to simulate Mr. Senna's original drive.

Harvey Nichols' "Sorry, I Spent it on Myself," created out of Adam & Eve DDB, has been the unexpected favorite of this year's show, also earning the top prizes in Promo/Activation, Press and Film. The effort cheekily embraced consumer selfishness and included print ads, a TV spot and a quirky line of cheap branded gifts -- from paper clips to bags of gravel -- sold at the store itself. The idea was that by buying cheap gifts for everyone else, shoppers would have funds to purchase more expensive gifts for themselves, presumably, at Harvey Nichols.

Why they won: Jury President Prasoon Joshi, chairman/CEO/CCO India/South Asia, McCann Worldgroup, noted at the outset of judging, the jury made it a priority to clearly define the categories they were deliberating.

"A lot of people think titanium is about a gimmick, a stunt or technology -- that it couldn't be a conventional medium," he said. "But it can involve any of those. The most important thing is it has to be pushing boundaries, creating something new and a paradigm shift in thinking."

The Honda campaign clearly fit that bill. "The idea is really remarkable," Mr. Joshi said. "The world of data in which we're living can be very dry, but here's an idea that converts boring data into something emotional. It connects with you on a very human level and it also talks about legacy and the future at the same time, which is not easy to do. How do you make something that happened 20 years back relevant today? How do you humanize technology? Here was a piece of work doing all that together, which we found was very rare."

The Harvey Nichols campaign was "an idea we all fell in love with," Mr. Joshi said. "We felt universally it was about doing what you preach. It's about changing behavior and was absolutely funny and unapologetic about what the brand is. It's a very confident piece of work that not only communicates the core brand, but also expands the idea of advertising."

The jury: Mr. Joshi was joined by nine jurors: Katrien Bottiez of Duval Guillaume, Belgium; Kevin Brady of Droga5; Alexander Herve of DDB Paris; Jacki Kelley of IPG Mediabrands (she will begin a new job at Bloomberg Sept. 1); Kentaro Kimura of Hakuhodo Kettle; Gaston Legorburu from Sapient Nitro; Tor Myhren of Grey; Anselmo Ramos of David; and Steve Vranakis of Google Creative Lab.

Other contenders: Mr. Ramos, chief creative officer,of David, said the jury spent quite some time deliberating Volvo's "Epic Split," which earned a gold integrated Lion and was a favorite going into the festival. "It was one of the big discussions, a very interesting discussion," he said. "In the end, we decided 'Epic Split' is a great 30- to 45-second commercial, but at its core, it's a demo. We didn't think it was necessarily pushing the industry forward as titanium should do."

"It's a truly solid integrated campaign," added Mr. Joshi. "It's revived our faith in the way an integrated campaign should be done, but it was not titanium for us."

Other work of note: Outside of the two Grand Prix, the jury awarded three titanium Lions and one gold, two silver and five bronze integrated Lions. The titanium Lions went to "The Autocomplete Truth" out of Memac Ogilvy Dubai, which illustrated the sad reality of women's equality in the framework of real Google Autocomplete data; The Ebeling Group and Not Impossible Labs' Project Daniel, an effort that allowed victims of the war in Sudan to cheaply and sustainably create prosthetics with the help of 3D printing; and Grey New York's "Unload Your 401K" campaign for the Anti-gun Violence Organization, which lets people determine if their retirement investments are going toward supporting gun companies -- and then enables them to change that.

Trends: From the winning and shortlisted work, Mr. Joshi said that the jury noticed that "a lot more companies are extending themselves for human good and trying to connect in a larger way to people. We used to live in a siloed world, but now we have a collective reality and businesses are cognizant of that, extending themselves for human good more than ever before."

Looking forward: Mr. Joshi recommended to the festival organizers that in the future shortlisted work in the titanium category should be renamed as "titanium honors."

"If you go through all of them, they're all worthy winners," he said. "If we were not restricted to just a few, we'd give them all something." Among the shortlisted work noted by the jury was Sol De Janeiro's "Tattoo Skin Check," an effort via Ogilvy Brazil that trained tattoo artists to recognize signs of skin cancer in customers, and Pharrell's 24-hour interactive "Happy" video, which earlier in the week earned a Cyber Grand Prix.

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