Coca-Cola Will Be Cannes Festival's 2013 Creative Marketer of the Year

But Seven Months Ahead of Awards Show Is a Little Early to Announce a Winner

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Coca-Cola will be named Creative Marketer of the Year at the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity , the first time the company has been honored with the top client award despite taking home 100 Lions over nearly five decades. In 2012, the soft-drinks giant enjoyed its most-successful year at the Cannes festival, winning a total of 30 Lions, including the Outdoor Grand Prix for "Coke Hands" by Ogilvy Shanghai.

Cannes Winner 'Coke Hand'
Cannes Winner 'Coke Hand'

Coca-Cola won its first two Lions back in 1967, one for a U.S. spot by McCann called "Involvement" that won for "First Prize Television," and the other for an ad called "Cappy" from Italy that won "Second prize cinema."

Creative Marketer of the Year was previously known as Advertiser of the Year. The name is changing, a spokeswoman said, to reflect the evolution of brand communications to encompass marketing across all media platforms. It also mirrors the change in Cannes Lions' own tagline, which in 2011 went from the International Advertising Festival to the International Festival of Creativity .

There won't be a lot of suspense around an award whose winner is known seven months in advance. The announcement is usually made only a month or so ahead of the annual festival in June, but Cannes is marking its 60th anniversary in 2013 and wanted to name its top marketer in November, ahead of many celebratory announcements planned for next year. The top advertiser award, which went to Mars this year and Ikea in 2011, is based on past performance, particularly in the most recent year.

Joe Tripodi, exec VP and chief marketing & commercial officer of the Coca-Cola Company, plans to be in the south of France to accept the trophy in person at the final awards show during Cannes week on June 22 . He said in a statement, "Creativity has been and always will be at the heart of our brands. It fuels our business -- with consumers, customers, fans, agencies and partners all over the world."

During 2012, much of Coca-Cola's marketing has been focused on the global "Move to the Beat" campaign to support its sponsorship of the London Olympic Games, but the company has continued to do acclaimed work around the world, including:

"Security Cam" (Latin America) which showed Coca-Cola-powered security cameras capturing only amazing things done by good, happy people, in a collaboration between Coca-Cola Latin America and production company Landia.

"Coca-Cola Polar Bowl" (U.S.), a Super Bowl spot by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, featuring two Polar Bears interacting with the game and fans in real time.

"Where Will Happiness Strike Next?" (Philippines), where Coca-Cola sent three migrant workers home for Christmas, sparking a national conversation and underlining the "Happiness" proposition.

Philip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions, said in a statement, "The Coca-Cola Company's restless pursuit of creative innovation in the marketing of its brands across multiple platforms in many different territories has been honoured at Cannes for many years ... there is careful consistent management of global brands and freedom given to local teams to adapt and innovate for their markets."

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