Another sign of the health of the industry, if not the awards process: As with the last few years, film is not the sole climax of the proceedings. Titanium- and integrated-type wins will perhaps be most anticipated among creatives and, surely, what many of the Cannes-going clients will be studying most keenly.
Here, Creativity's picks. Mix and match them, and they'll probably represent a good chunk of the winners at Cannes this year.
CyberThe contenders: Crispin Porter & Bogusky's Simpsonizer site. Part of the integrated PR machine that was the "Simpsons Movie" launch campaign, the site made Simpsons characters out of regular folk like you and me and the zillion other people who Simpsonized their Facebook pictures. Crispin will also win for its eminently useful BFD site for Dominos.
DDB Stockholm's Swedish Armed Forces "Recruitment Tests" site. DDB and Acne Digital whipped up an absorbing set of mental challenges to determine one's fitness to serve in an army that, if nothing else, would intimidate opponents with its blue-eyed good looks.
The interactive portion of the "Halo 3" campaign. The AKQA-created online accompaniment to TAG San Francisco's award-magnet "Believe" campaign offers a real complementary interactive experience, not just online housing for films.
Arcade Fire's "Neon Bible." A quiet favorite among awards judges, this neat-o interactive music video from the Montreal band and production company Nu Films is a sure Gold winner and could just about pull off a Grand Prix sneak.
TitaniumThe Contenders: Droga 5's Million campaign. This is surely the biggest idea in play, and if the jury uses the "never seen before" criteria for the category, this should win. Through New York Department of Education chief equality officer and economist Dr. Roland Fryer, New York public schools tapped D5 to solve a seemingly unsolvable problem: educating kids in the city's public system. The agency's solution? Not an ad campaign but a plan to give mobile phones to the million kids in the system. During class, the phones work only for emergency calls and learning. Off hours, brands hop on the horn with free stuff for kids based on academic achievement. The campaign is in pilot phase.
Uniqlo's Uniqlock. The widget/screensaver will dominate the cyber category, but its freshness could spell a titanium nod, too.
HBO Voyeur from BBDO, New York. This multi-award winner could be cited as breakthrough outdoor, environment design (a new category this year), a film series, an interactive experience, an integrated campaign or in the titanium category. Expect it to double or triple dip.
The Winner: Burger King "Whopper Freakout" from Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Equity Marketing and Smuggler director Henry-Alex Rubin. Ad Age readers will remember this campaign from the stunning reports in this magazine of it, well, actually selling burgers. The spot/online film campaign famously documented the genuine freakouts that occurred when Burger King told real customers their favorite sandwich was being stricken from the menu. Some jurors may think of it as a film series -- and the films are executed brilliantly. But the overriding genius here is the idea, and the audacity on the part of the agency and the client. Risky work that works (in every possible sense) should be rewarded.
FilmThe contenders: "Halo 3" "Believe" from TAG, San Francisco, and MJZ director Rupert Sanders. This is pretty much the film of the year and probably deserves to win the film Grand Prix. It's the focal point of an integrated campaign and centers on a diorama painstakingly created by Sanders, Stan Winston Studios and New Deal Studios. But one wonders if the film will suffer at the hands of jurors who miss all its subtle charms and might opt for something else, figuring "Halo 3" will surely win an integrated-campaign nod.
Skittles "Touch" from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, and MJZ director Tom Kuntz. It's a spot you could watch 200 times (which some of us have actually done) and never tire of; it's brand appropriate; and it's a cultural phenomenon. Such a crowd pleaser could break the debate among judges between "Halo" and ...
The winner: Cadbury "Gorilla" from Fallon, London. It's polarizing as hell. Some see the film -- which centers on a passionate, drumming primate and a certain Phil Collins track -- as an example of the evolution of the brand film. Some see it as self-indulgent twaddle. But it's done well so far, taking a Black Pencil at D&AD, and it's more of a statement-y pick. If jury composition is just right, it'll win for its distinctiveness and undeniable cultural penetration.
IntegratedThe contenders: See all of above, and add the entire "The Simpsons Movie" launch campaign. The latter includes the Simpsonizer site, a range of spots, a JetBlue tie-in, a partnership with Vans and, of course, the transformation of a dozen 7-Elevens into Kwik-E-Marts.
The Winner: "Halo 3" "Believe." It's won everything. It's fantastic. It has moving parts. "Halo 3" generated $170 million in its first 24 hours. It's the campaign of the year.
Here's a quick scan of some of the other categories.