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Creative Juice/G1, Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore and M&C Saatchi Sydney Win Big

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PATTAYA, Thailand ( -- Dentsu won the top prize over the weekend at the eighth-annual Asia Pacific Advertising Festival, which has become known as the "Cannes of Asia."
One of AdFest's favorites was a Ford spot by J. Walter Thompson, Bangkok, starring King Kong and son.
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The Japanese agency's humorous "Husky Girls" spot for Ajinomoto stadium won a gold Lotus award as well as the most coveted prize of the night, the Best of TV prize. The ad follows a young Japanese man who gleefully moves to a new city populated with beautiful women, only to discover all of them speak with painfully coarse voices. He ends up dating an unattractive woman with a normal voice, who explains what happened to all the other women in town: They lost their voices by cheering at soccer games in Ajinomoto stadium.

1,003 film entries
"It's an outstanding spot," said Suthisak Sucharittanonta, chief creative officer of Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide and chairman of the TV judging panel. "Every time I see it, I want to watch it again and again. There are so many details; it has a great setting and a smart story." The jury awarded eight gold, 20 silver and 35 bronze prizes out of 1,003 film entries.

"It's fantastic, it really delivers the message in a wonderfully clever way," agreed Nick Souter, a former creative director at Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Sydney, who chaired the print panel.

Judges awarded a total of 244 awards during the three-day event held in Pattaya, a seaside resort south of Bangkok, that ended March 12. More than 1,100 people were in attendance, from junior creatives to industry luminaries such as John Hunt, New York-based worldwide creative director of Omnicom's TBWA Worldwide who will be president of the film, press and poster juries at this year's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in France.

Thailand's reputation
Mr. Hunt wouldn't predict which AdFest winners might also win prizes at Cannes later this year, but said he now attends AdFest every year to stay current about advertising trends coming out of Asia. Thailand, in particular, has earned a reputation as a source of innovative, humorous advertising.

For example, WPP's J. Walter Thompson, Bangkok, created a hilarious commercial to demonstrate the toughness of the new Ford Ranger. It was a popular favorite and an AdFest gold winner. The ad depicts an angry King Kong chastising his son for playing too much and not eating his breakfast of bananas in a setup that puts the vehicle to the test -- the son repeatedly smashes the truck against a rock the way a child would with a toy car.

Meanwhile, the car's owner, a Thai man who parked on a desolate stretch of road to urinate, doesn't realize his truck was scooped up by King Kong's son, and is shocked when the car -- still intact -- drops mysteriously from the sky.

"The timing is great, they really get the full power of the joke out of this spot," Mr. Souter said.

Best of Print
The print jury, meanwhile, awarded 36 bronze and 12 silver awards but only four golds. All the golds, including the overall Best of Print prize, went to Omnicom's Creative Juice/G1 in Bangkok for a Tamiya Assembly Toys print campaign.

Three vivid executions of a smashed light bulb, frog and watermelon, respectively, are numbered for reassembly like a diagram for a child's puzzle.

"It's provocative and beautifully constructed," observed Mike Schalit, creative head and founding partner of Omnicom's Network BBDO, in Johannesburg.

Although the Tamiya campaign won praise from the judges, nothing else was found worthy of gold in the print category. "Even though many ads were well shot, there was the feeling that the idea had been seen somewhere before and that wasn't good enough to win an award," Mr. Souter explained.

Adidas' extreme-sports contest
TBWA, Tokyo, won the top outdoor prize for the second-straight year for an Adidas extreme-sports contest that brought to life the brand's "Impossible Is Nothing" global marketing campaign and capitalized on the enthusiasm in Asia for last year's Summer Olympic Games in Athens. Forty athletes climbed eight-lane vertical tracks 328 feet long on skyscrapers in both cities in several rounds over a two-week period last August. The contest was a follow-up to the agency's successful vertical soccer billboard stunt in Tokyo and Osaka the previous year.

"Even though the award was given to the same agency working on the same client as last year, it was impossible not to give it Best of Outdoor," said jury member Todd McCracken, who is executive director of WPP Group's Grey Worldwide, Auckland. "The idea had everything. It was visible, interactive, involving and simple, and I would defy anyone not to watch it." The jury awarded 39 bronze, 22 silver and 12 gold awards from 1,145 outdoor entries.

Out of 185 direct-marketing entries, meanwhile, Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, Singapore, won two golds for its work on Republic of Singapore Navy, including Best of Show.

Across all categories, Creative Juice/G1 had the highest awards tally with 17 awards, followed by Saatchi in Singapore, which won 15 awards, and M&C Saatchi, Sydney, with 13 awards.

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