CANNES (AdAge.com) -- In a move that lionized the role of ad agencies as creators of big business ideas and even products, the judges handed the top Titanium and Integrated awards at Cannes to Crispin Porter
Crispin's Burger King Campaign Wins Titanium Grand Prix
& Bogusky's Xbox King Games for Burger King, and the Axe 3
campaign for Unilever by Vegaolmosponce, Buenos Aires.
Announcing the awards on the final night of the festival, Alex Bogusky, the jury president for the two categories, noted that the winners sent a message to marketers to "let the agency in earlier." His point was that it was the two Grand Prix-winning agencies' close partnership with the respective marketers that enabled them to do more than just produce ads after the product was ready for market. Indeed, in both cases, the agency created a whole new revenue stream for their client.
Vegaolmosponce's idea to sell more body spray, which has now picked up a cabinet full of awards around the world, was to put two different Axe scents together in the same package -- one plus one, in this case equaling Axe 3. The agency then promoted the offering across a multitude of media with a campaign that built on the successful Axe Effect efforts, by indulging guys in their audience in the fantasy of creating their perfect woman by putting two different women together.
Jonathan Harries, one of the judges, and worldwide creative director at DraftFCB, called the Axe effort "the most brilliant campaign in the world," and one that epitomized what can happen when agencies are valued by marketers. "Agencies used to create products," he said. "But that fell by the wayside, these awards showed that agencies can still come up with ideas that have the ability to move a brand or company when we get the chance."
Crispin's Xbox video games featuring the king have sold 3 million copies at $3.99 a piece and become the subject of envy for Chuck McBride, another juror and the founder of nascent but rapidly expanding agency Cutwater. "They took an advertising icon and turned him into a real character, and turned the character into a game, and the game into a real business model." But what turned Mr. McBride green was all the green that Crispin got out of the idea: "We still don't get paid properly for our ideas at agencies," he said. "But Crispin took their intellectual property and figured out how to capitalize it. That makes me jealousy and jealousy leads to awards."
Messrs. McBride and Harries also complimented Mr. Bogusky -- who was made to step outside the jury room when they were making their final decision on the Titanium Grand Prix -- for giving good guidance to the jury and giving the Titanium award a clear meaning. The award was created, to some extent, to house ideas like inaugural winner BMW Films, which didn't fit into other categories, and the two jurors said that was what they had returned to.
Three Big Lions
"We made it about a big idea that doesn't necessarily fit into one of the categories and that makes Titanium very important," said Mr. McBride. "I think it's possible that in the future you'll come to Cannes knowing there are three big Lions you want to get, the Cyber, the Titanium and the Integrated, and I could live with that."
Jon Kamen, chairman of Radical Media and another juror, agreed: "Each of the things we awarded, and I'm including the Gold Lion winners, because I like to see lots of good work recognized, was a unique idea, and they had real commercial and social cause applications. In each and every case they broke some ground." Like Mr. McBride he could see Titanium becoming the award to win: "The industry has caught up with this category. People are coming up with innovative ideas, and there'll be more and more projects that don't have a place in traditional categories as marketing continues to evolve."
Titanium Gold Lions also went to the already heavily awarded Nike Plus work, entered by Nike's partner on the project, R/GA; to Leo Burnett, Sydney, for the Earth Hour campaign that persuaded the entire city of Sydneysiders to turn off their lights to raise awareness of global warming; and to Droga5's Tap Project for Unicef, which raised $5.5 million last year by getting New Yorkers to pay a dollar for the tap water they usually get for free in restaurants.
Integrated golds went to BBDO Argentina's Barrio Bonito campaign for Nike; to Fallon London's Tate Tracks campaign for the Tate Modern art gallery; and to Clemenger BBDO Wellington for its World Press Photo Exhibition campaign, which drove people to visit the exhibit on the death of innocent Iraqis.