Security footage featuring real-life shoplifters edged out a legendary man for the Film Grand Prix at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
A Harvey Nichols effort for its rewards app, created by Adam & Eve/DDB in London, took the top honor in the category. The film uses CCTV footage of people stealing from Harvey Nichols locations -- but superimposes cartoon-villain heads over their faces, resulting in something far more funny than sinister. The ad ends with the tag line, "Love Freebies? Get them legally."
Blink Productions out of London was credited with production for the work.
Entries in the category were "a little bit down" this year, according to jury president and Martin Agency Chief Creative Officer Joe Alexander, adding that the "depth just wasn't there."
But, he said, "at the top, the best work was amazing."
Among other strong finishers were Gold winners: "Never Alone" for Guinness by AMVBBDO London; "Phelps" for Under Armour by Droga5, New York; and "Look Who's Driving" for Volvo Trucks by Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Apparently there was some debate over "Whale," an ad for Old Spice from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. that featured another of its over-the-top characters, Legendary Man, carrying out swatting tennis balls on the back of a whale. (Mr. Alexander noted that the it was "one of the more mellow and chill juries I've ever been with. … No one threatened to kill anybody.")
But ultimately the Harvey Nichols effort was a clear winner, according to Mr. Alexander. What gave it the edge, aside from its basic appeal, was that it crossed over between TV, cinema and online. One of the jurors noted that they'd all seen the work online prior to judging. But when they saw it on the big screen, "the whole jury room started applauding."
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CORRECTION: Based on information provided by the Cannes Lions, an earlier version of this article erroneously credited the Harvey Nichols campaign partly to Cain & Abel and The Mill. Production on the effort was handled by Blink.