Garfield's AdReview: Cannes top honors go to good (not great) and gross in TV, print

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The eighth- or ninth-best commercial made in the world in the past year has won the Film Grand Prix at the International Advertising Festival at Cannes. A witty and surprising 30-second spot for Ikea that toys with the emotions of viewers and then abruptly jolts them back into reality defeated "Cog" and "Sheet Metal" to take the top prize.

The spot shows a discarded old lamp sitting forlornly on the curb as melancholy music plays. But then, once you have actually begun to feel sorry for a piece of lighting, a narrator chirps in: "Many of you feel bad for this lamp. ... It has no feelings. And a new one is much better." He's right. Ikea has lots of wonderfully designed, inexpensive lamps and other furnishings that will make you forget any attachment to any piece of crap you owned before. The commercial is both factually true and it conveys the sense of decorating adventure and satisfaction that Ikea uniquely provides.

This is indeed a wonderful commercial, as dozens of executions from all previous Ikea agencies in the U.S. have been wonderful, and it is indeed an unexpected twist on advertising sentimentality. Alas, unlike the advertising it defeated, within a matter of a year if not months it will be completely forgotten.

The Print Grand Prix is not a great print ad. It is not even a good print ad. It surely has no copy-you know words, those things advertising used to employ to communicate ideas, or describe benefits or just beg for your business. Those are just sooooooo Twentieth Century. So PlayStation, for its illiterate, thumb-twitching audience doesn't bother with them, period. Instead it bought magazine space to run an outdoor ad.

A barely adequate outdoor ad.

It depicts a gorgeous, tanned, young woman giving birth, with a newborn's head just emerged. The woman looks like no woman in labor in the history of gestation. The head-covered with vernix and wailing-belongs to a 20-year-old guy.

Ha ha.

The young man is so desperate to have his head so situated, he's come from the wrong direction. Adolescent fantasy meets the world of digital fantasy (although very badly composited.) "PS2: Where anything is possible."(See the ad on Work, P. 70)

That's not the headline or tagline, of course-there is no headline or tagline. It's merely the implication. What part of that implication constitutes an advantage for PS2 over competing game consoles is simply a mystery.

Are we supposed to think the PS2 is cooler, because adult vaginal birth is such a cool idea? Hope not. Because adult vaginal birth is not all that cool an idea. Mainly-babe or no babe-it's just a little gross. And not a very good way to meet chicks.

More to the point it pales, it blanches, it disappears next to the equally illiterate but gigantically better PS2 Print Grand Prix of two years ago, which showed teenagers in tight T-shirts, their nipples forming the plus, minus, equals and x control glyphs. That ad was about something.

The new Grand Prix is about a head coming out of a vagina.

Film Grand Prix Winner


Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami

Print Grand Prix Winner


TBWA, Paris

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