Cannes Lions

McWhopper Wins Print, a Category 'Trying to Find Its Feet'

Jury President Says Even Some of the Best Work Could Have Been Better

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Burger King's McWhopper effort, created by WPP's Y&R New Zealand, bagged the Grand Prix in the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity's Print & Publishing category.

The campaign, which invited Burger King's archrival McDonald's to make peace by uniting a Big Mac and a Whopper, eventually spread around the globe and involved six other agencies. McDonald's said no to the McWhopper idea, but others, including Denny's, Krystal, Wayback Burgers and Giraffas, joined Burger King to create the "Peace Day Burger."

Credit: Burger King/Business Wire

The McWhopper effort has done well on the awards circuit this year. It helped make Y&R New Zealand become the most-awarded agency at the D&AD Awards in London and took home the Grandy at the International Andy Awards in New York.

But good news for Burger King doesn't necessarily translate to good news for the category.

Print advertising, once the most important medium for marketing messages, is going through an awkward phase. According to Print & Publishing Jury President Joji Jacob, group executive creative director of DDB Group Singapore, print "is not going to die" -- it's scary how often people involved with print feel a need to say this -- but it is "trying to find its feet" in the "age of distraction."

Entries to the category were actually down this year. "The work that was good was really good," said Mr. Jacob, and "the work that was crap was really crap." Even so, he added, the "best work that we saw could have been better with more effort."

The jury had a "massive debate" over what a successful print ad should be, something that had great looking visuals and copy or something that had an "actual impact."

McWhopper Packaging
McWhopper Packaging Credit: Burger King/Business Wire

Impact won out, with the jury opting for a "print ad that keeps me from looking at my phone every five minutes," said Mr. Jacob. Put another way: "If I put that thing on the internet, would it take off?"

The McWhopper effort obviously did that, becoming "the lynchpin" for an entire effort, he said.

Meanwhile in Radio
A campaign for KFC's Everyman Meal, created by Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg, was given the Grand Prix in the radio category. The effort featured insecure men confessing habits that might make them unmanly -- using colored weights, typing LOL, liking cherry lip balm -- and a spokesperson assuring them that they're still manly.

Jury President Tom Eymundson, CEO of Pirate Group in Toronto, said the campaign "touches on a universal truth [and] it's not nation specific." He added that he was glad to see such risqué work from a major brand and big agency rather than smaller entities who typically feel more freedom to be edgy.

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