Honda "Grrr" Wins Film Grand Prix

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Honda "Grrr"
It came as no surprise when Film Jury President John Hunt announced at a press conference this morning that the winner of this year’s Film Grand Prix was Honda “Grrr.” The spot, out of Wieden + Kennedy/London, has been the obvious favorite of festival goers and had already nabbed a cabinet full of honors before arriving in Cannes: Best of Show at the One Show, the Grand Clio, a Grandy and eight D&AD nods. “It’s such a unique spot,” Hunt noted about the brightly animated commercial, which features diesel engines flying playfully among flora and fauna, set to a Garrison Keillor-crooned track called “Can Hate be Good?”

“Just somehow the sum of its parts come together to make it so unique,” he explained. “The soundtrack is beautiful, the animation. The idea is such a simple proposition and it entranced us all. When rewatching the commercials, often you see two or three frames and move on, but I noticed the jury didn’t mind watching that one again. It’s just one of those commercials that entertains you as it sells you, and the premise is blindingly simple.”

According to Hunt, the 22-person jury arrived at its decision with very little debate. “In the end, because there was the sense that “Grrr” was probably the Grand Prix, I asked the jury to write secret ballots for their first and second favorites for the award. 17 chose “Grrr” as their first choice. For second, the Olympus campaign, “Hello Tomorrow” and a few others were also mentioned. But there was no discussion about the Grand Prix."

From a selection of 4,996 entries from 74 countries, the jury awarded a total of 18 Gold Lions to work from 10 countries. The U.S. earned the most Golds with five, followed by the U.K. with three. Two each went to France and Thailand, while Brazil, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Peru each earned single Gold honors. The jury also bestowed 32 Silver and 52 Bronze awards.

Adidas "Hello Tomorrow"
Among the Gold winners were a pair of mock documentary campaigns -- one for Altoids, from Leo Burnett/Chicago and MJZ director Craig Gillespie, and TBWA/London’s “Life on the Playstation” series, directed by Daniel Kleinman, which features unlikely encounters between various demographic groups, like golfers and porn stars. A Noam Murro-helmed Olympus campaign out of Springer & Jacoby also earned Gold, as did a noted jury favorite for Viagra from Taxi/Toronto and director Joachim Back. Gold also went to a pair of Adidas spots out of TBWA/Chiat/Day -- “Unstoppable,” directed by Smuggler's Brian Beletic and the Spike Jonze-directed “Hello Tomorrow,” which also earned a Gold Lion for its soundtrack, a track performed by Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and composed by Sam Spiegel of Squeak E. Clean.

The Agency of the Year award went to TBWA/Paris, with DDB/London and DDB/Paris taking second and third place, respectively. The Palme d’Or -- which honors the winningest production company -- went to MJZ, which earned three Gold Lions, two Silver and a pair of Bronze. Biscuit followed in second, and the now-folded London company Large placed third. Unsurprisingly, the Journalists’ Award went to “Grrr.”

Overall, Hunt said the quality of the work lay at opposite poles. “From the whole body of work I get a sense more and more that there’s very good work and there’s very lousy work,” he said. “There’s nothing in the middle anymore. When you look at the categories, you’d get four or five spots that would score very high and the rest of the work would score very low. It’s almost as if the ad industry is saying that if you do a mediocre ad, it’s the same as doing a lousy one."

Reflecting on the industry-wide debate about the death of the 30-second spot, which was a huge theme at this year’s festival, Hunt added, “I’m not sure if the 30-second commercial has died, but the discussion of the 30-second commercial has buried it many times. I think it’s just as stupid to say that the 30-second commercial is dead as it is to say that the 30-second commercial is the only game in town. Maybe 10 years ago it was the most powerful medium for everyone. The world has definitely changed. The 30-second commercial is in a different place, but it’s still the center of 90 percent of the world’s campaigns. And it’s not about to evaporate over the next couple weeks. I think a lot of the work we saw celebrates the fact that this is a very powerful creative medium and it’s going to be with us for a very long time.” -Ann-Christine Diaz

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