[Cannes, France] In a last-minute save, the film category rescued U.S. agencies from what was threatening to be an embarrassingly bad year at Cannes.
But despite a good U.S. showing in TV-and radio-the film Grand Prix went to the U.K. for the favorite, Honda's "Grrr" from Wieden & Kennedy, London, which swept the vote on the first ballot at the International Advertising Festival.
So expected was the "Grrr" victory that the only doubt had been whether the jury would choose a less-hyped film rather than falling in with virtually every other awards show jury this year. But the ode to optimism prevailed. "The more you watched it, the more it absolutely seduces you," said John Hunt, president of both the film and the press and outdoor juries, and worldwide creative director of Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide.
In film, the U.S. won five of 18 Gold Lions, and a total of 27 Lions. The next biggest winner was the U.K. with 18 Lions plus the film Grand Prix. The U.S. Golds went to the TV component of one of the festival's big winners, Crispin Porter & Bogusky's Mini Cooper "Counterfeit" campaign. The U.S. also took one Gold for Altoids spots by Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Chicago, and three for Adidas from TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco, working with 180 TBWA, Amsterdam. One spot, "Hello Tomorrow," picked up two Golds because it also won the festival's first award for best music.
Until the film and radio awards, it looked to be a lackluster U.S. year-unless you were Crispin Porter. The Miami agency picked up one of two Cyber Grand Prix for the Method household-cleaning products that invites people to type in confessions on ComeClean.com to be washed away. The other went to DDB, Sao Paulo, Brazil, for proving the strength of Henkel's Super Bonder Instant Glue via Webcam by sticking a computer monitor to the wall.
Crispin Porter also scooped up the only U.S. Titanium Lion. The first Titanium jury, meant to reward innovative work across integrated media, awarded four Titanium Lions. The jury skipped a Grand Prix with the feeling that none of the 133 Titanium entries were as good as the earlier BMW Films work that inspired the Titanium contest. Crispin Porter's Titanium Lion was for the Mini Cooper "Counterfeit" campaign, which warned about fake Mini Coopers and sent people to a Web site where they could buy a real DVD about fictitious counterfeit cars and use their mouse to slap buyers who had been duped into buying suspiciously cheap Minis.
The three other Titanium Lions went to "Grrr"; Virgin Mobile Australia's "5 Cent" campaign featuring a dwarf rapper; and Volvo's "Life on Board" project by Havas' Fuel Europe, Amsterdam.
The U.S. shined in the new radio Lions contest, winning the Grand Prix for DDB Chicago's 11-spot "Real Men of Genius" campaign for Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light beer. The U.S. also picked up one of two Golds and two of the eight Silver Radio Lions.
Instead of the usual obsessive speculation throughout the week about who would win the film Grand Prix-everyone assumed it would be "Grrr" anyway-Cannes-goers this year were talking about everything from Chairman Jean-Marie Dru's expected departure from TBWA Worldwide to broader campaigns that go beyond TV. Next year there will be even more, as design and promotions Lions are added.
For Tim Ellis, Volvo's worldwide advertising director, for instance, the film shortlist shown Friday a.m. is no longer the highlight of his week.
"Before, if I'd had to go home before I got to see the TV shortlist I'd be very upset," said Mr. Ellis, who left the morning of June 24. "Now I think the Web stuff is much more grounded in big ideas." His Titanium-winning campaign was seven Internet films-shown as trailers on TV-featuring conversations in cars between unlikely pairs of people.
One TBWA Worldwide office, Paris, snared more Lions in the press and outdoor competition than all of the U.S., which picked up only three Bronze Lions in outdoor, and a single gold, a silver and three bronzes for press. The U.S. Gold, a contender for the Grand Prix, went to Fallon, New York, for an election-related Time magazine ad depicting a pendulum swinging between John Kerry and George W. Bush. Omnicom Group's TBWA Paris shop won 13 press and outdoor Lions, beating "Pendulum" for the press Grand Prix with a campaign for EMI against music piracy.
The outdoor Grand Prix went to WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, Santiago, Chile, and toy marketer Silfa for "Street Building," a billboard picturing the outside of a big white building with a huge Lego-shaped brick missing (see Work, P. 58).
The U.S. won just one of 20 Media Lions, for the giveaway of Pontiac cars to Oprah Winfrey's studio audience, engineered by General Motors Corp.'s media-planning agency, Publicis Groupe's GM Planworks, Detroit. The Grand Prix winner was the launch of Procter & Gamble 's Biomat detergent into Israel's Orthodox Jewish community by MediaCom, Tel Aviv.