The spot, created by Abbott Meade Vickers BDO, London, and directed by Daniel Kleinman, resurrects the famous "Good thing comes to those who wait" tagline and features a trio of Guinness-guzzling pub goers who take a reverse journey through time, devolving to Neanderthals, monkeys and, finally, bulbous-eyed mudskippers.
"It's a very very strong ad," Mr. Droga said at the film press conference. "A lot of the jurors felt that it was not only a stand-alone, remarkable ad, but also a triumphant return for a fabulous campaign." In earning the Grand Prix, Guinness completes a winning run through this year's awards circuit, having also earned the Grandy, Best of Show at the One Show, a D&AD Yellow Pencil and three Clios.
Guinness won the prize only after passionate debate among the 21 jurors over the spot and two strong frontrunners: Carlton beer's "Big Ad," the self-referential extravaganza from George Patterson Partners, Melbourne, featuring a horde of robed singers who converge en masse to become, from bird's-eye view, a giant animated beer drinker; and Sony's "Balls," out of Fallon, London, an extended-length spot for the Bravia TV set that artfully captures a quarter-million multicolored bouncing balls floating down after being blasted high above the streets of San Francisco.
"When you have three strong contenders from very different styles, it makes for very interesting debate," Mr. Droga said. "We did a lot of discussion, probably too much. There was a lot of passion for Sony 'Balls' and there was a lot of heart for Carlton 'Big Ad.' You could justify why any of the three could have been the Grand Prix, such was the feeling in the room. We were spoiled for choice and I think that makes for a good year when you have more than one option."
Mr. Droga said the jury ultimately was forced to narrow down the vote to two spots, with Carlton emerging as the runner-up. As for what pushed the British brew ad over the Aussie one, "In general, we thought the Guinness ad was stronger in concept," noted juror Tony Hidalgo of Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, Mexico.
From the pool of 4,860 entries from 74 countries, fewer Film Gold Lions, 12, were awarded this year compared to 2005's 18. The jury bestowed 29 Silver and 59 Bronze Lions. The U.K. was the top gold-earning country with six, followed by Thailand, which won two. Australia, Italy, France and Portugal each earned one. Besides "Big Ad" and "Balls," other gold awardees included a pair of Honda spots, "Choir" and "Impossible Dream," from last year's Film Grand Prix Winner Wieden & Kennedy, London; the wacky four-part serial "Love Story" campaign for Smooth-E face foam out of Thailand's JEH United, as well as another Thai campaign for Bangkok Insurance out of Creative Juice/G1 ( TBWA).
No U.S. Gold Lions
The U.S., which earned the most Gold Lions last year, came away with none in 2006, but won nine silver and 11 bronze. Crispin Porter & Bogusky earned the most film lions of any U.S. shop with three silvers and one bronze for spots for Burger King, American Legacy Foundation (with Arnold, Boston) and Coca-Cola Zero. TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, followed with two silver and one bronze, earned for its work on Starburst, Combos and Skittles.
Agency of the Year
For the fourth year in a row, TBWA, Paris, earned the title of agency of the year. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO was first runner up. Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, the most awarded U.S. agency, came in third. The Palme D'Or, which goes to the most awarded production company, went to MJZ/U.S. for the second year in a row, while Stink, London, and Hungry Man tied for second place.