Cannes 2008

Forsman & Bodenfors Snares Media Grand Prix

Swedish Shop Earns Top Honors for Multimedia Push That Got Young People Talking About Pensions

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CANNES ( -- Forsman & Bodenfors and the Swedish agency's client, AMF Pension, today grabbed the Grand Prix in the media category at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival for an effort that persuaded young social-networking Swedes to see themselves as seniors in need of a pension plan.
AMF: Pension

The jury appreciated the insight that members of the young, employed target audience spend their lives online and want to interact with mobile media.

The Swedish effort narrowly beat out, in the Grand Prix voting, a gold-winning McDonald's Corp. billboard done by Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, to promote fresh salads in the U.S. by growing real heads of lettuce from thousands of seeds planted on a single billboard in Chicago. The words "Fresh Salads" were spelled out, written in lettuce.

Bright idea for dull topic
"A pension is a pretty dull category for most people, especially young people," said Dominic Proctor, the media jury's president and CEO of MindShare. "[The winner] had new and old media, the role of media was very linked to each other, against a real consumer insight, and executed well."

The jury also appreciated the insight that members of the young, employed target audience spend their lives online and want to interact with mobile media, in this case by sending in photos of themselves to build and view whole photo galleries.

The AMF Pension campaign started with a TV spot that portrayed famous young Swedes as senior citizens, and invited young people to send in their pictures to be digitally manipulated to see what they'll look like when they're 70. In outdoor ads, the face on the poster changed from young to old depending on the viewing angle. Online ads also asked people to upload their pictures to glimpse themselves at 70. A total of 322,946 pictures were submitted online, and advertising awareness of the pension company rose by 33%.

Niclas Froberg, a media judge from Sweden and CEO of Tre Kronor Media, Stockholm, said that 15% of the target audience in his small country ended up interacting with the brand.

Mr. Proctor said that after an hourlong discussion of who should win the Grand Prix (pretty mild by Cannes standards), he had his fingers crossed hoping that a winner with the necessary two-thirds majority would emerge on the first ballot. And it did.

Salad billboard gets noticed
The media jury was stingy with Gold awards this year, but liked the McDonald's salad billboard so much they gave it two of the five Gold prizes, for best billboard and retail/e-commerce.

"It was a unique use of a billboard, and designed so the PR around the billboard would be colossal," Mr. Proctor said. "Although it was just one billboard in one city, it had a tremendous uplift of 20% in their salad business."

According to the entry, McDonald's salad sales grew by 30%, with over 500,000 sold during the campaign.
McDonald's salad billboard

The media jury liked the McDonald's salad billboard so much they gave it two of the five Gold prizes, for best billboard and retail/e-commerce.

Mr. Proctor noted that about half of the 2,000 media entries came from creative agencies, rather than media agencies. In fact, his shop, MindShare, was the media agency for Grand Prix winner AMF Pension, but got no official credit because the entry came from the creative agency, Gothenburg-based Forsman & Bodenfors.

"Creative agencies are better at doing awards," he said. And if the creative agencies put together the case study, make the entry video and pay the entry fee, they deserve to win, he said. In the future, he said he expects more media agencies to enter, and more creative and media agency partners to enter jointly.

Mr. Proctor said that all the lines are beginning to blur between what creative, media, digital, promotions and other agencies do, an opinion that is likely to be a theme at this year's festival. Agencies often find it challenging to figure out which categories to enter increasingly integrated campaigns in, and may end up winning prizes in more than one of the 10 contests being held this week: cyber, design, direct, film media, outdoor, press, promotions, radio and titanium/integrated Lions.

Print not dead yet
Although much has been written about the decline of print media, two of the five gold winners were print media finding innovative ways to promote themselves as nimble and relevant. Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper published a plastic sheet that, when placed over ads in the newspaper, makes the ads move. Each moving ad had both additional images from the advertisers, and the words "The Asahi Newspaper Moves." The winning agency was Dentsu Kansai, Osaka.

Gruner & Jahr's German newsweekly Stern promoted as the fastest news website by staging a newsworthy event live in a cinema, and showing how fast Stern can cover it. In the cinema, a pregnant woman went into labor and rushed out to give birth. Two minutes later, an ad appeared on the cinema screen showing Stern's website breaking the news "Twins born at cinema in Hamburg. News has never been this fast." The agency was Grabarz & Partner, Hamburg.

Agencies in the U.S. won seven of the 54 Media Lions awarded (not counting the Grand Prix), including two of the five golds, two of 17 silvers, and three of 32 bronzes. A modest bronze award went to BBDO, New York's "Voyeur" campaign for HBO, which today won the outdoor Grand Prix and has been a big winner on the international awards circuit so far this year. Ann Parsons, a media judge and CEO of MediaCom Australia, said "Voyeur" didn't do better in the media category because it wasn't regarded as that innovative, and didn't include results to the same extent as a number of other entries had.
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