Cannes 2013

Heineken, W&K Win Creative-Effectiveness Grand Prix at Cannes

Other Winners Included Coke, AmEx and John Lewis

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Heineken's "Legendary Journey," from Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam, won the first Grand Prix of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the category of creative effectiveness.

This three-year-old category is a little different than others at Cannes. In order to enter, the work first must be judged to be creatively excellent by winning a Lion the year prior. Then, entrants are required to submit a 40-page paper that includes the business metrics proving the campaign's effectiveness. Those papers and metrics are vetted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers before being submitted to the jury.

What it is: The Heineken entry, titled "Legendary Journey: Justifying a Premium the World Over," was a global campaign that demonstrated significant increases in market share in every country, according to the jury. The campaign's most high-profile element was a highly detailed and produced video, "The Date," in which a suave gentleman takes a beautiful woman for a legendary night out. He shows off skills, ranging from fileting a fish to performing magic tricks. The campaign also included online integration, such as contests where entrants could try to win their own legendary dates.

The jury: The jury president was Shelly Lazarus, chairman emeritus of Ogilvy & Mather. Despite her long career in advertising, this was only her third trip to Cannes and her first time serving on a jury. The jury was a mix of brand marketers and agency executives -- both creative and planning/strategy types, plus some folks with heavy experience in research. The jury came up with a formula to weight the various aspects of an entry: 25% for idea, 25% for strategy and 50% for effectiveness.

Why it won: The jury was impressed with the size of the challenge the campaign overcame: to create a global platform and drive results everywhere it ran, "from Poland to Brazil, Nigeria to the Netherlands," Ms. Lazarus said. Added juror Luis Di Como, senior VP-global media at Unilever, "Instead of going for the lowest common denominator, [the campaign] went for a higher level." Jurors also noted the beer category is particularly difficult when it comes to differentiating a brand and its advertising -- and that Heineken was successful at both. Juror Jonathan Mildenhall, VP-global advertising strategy and content excellence at Coca-Cola Co., said: "The jury felt the body of work must make a long-term difference in the marketing community. At the end of the day, it's got to be legacy-building creative work."

Controversy or clear winner? Ms. Lazarus said there was "great debate" about the Grand Prix and that "you could make a case for the excellence of all these Lions."

Other notable winners: Beyond the Grand Prix, there were only six Lions awarded in this category. The top four, in addition to Heineken, included Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" from Ogilvy & Mather, Sydney; John Lewis's "From Crying to Buying" from Adam & Eve DDB, London, and Manning Gottlieb OMD, London; and American Express's "Small Business Gets an Official Day" from Digitas, New York, and CP&B.

Interesting trend: Save for the Grand Prix, which was created in the Netherlands, all the Lions came from Anglo-Saxon countries -- one from the U.S.; two from the U.K.; two from Australia; and one from New Zealand. Juror Russ Mitchinson, planning partner at DDB Australia, noted that those countries tend to have a strong effectiveness culture and a heritage of quality, and planning and strategic output is testament to that. He said in Australia and New Zealand, in particular, "sometimes the barriers to market are lower and there's more opportunity to create innovative ideas." He noted that clients may be willing to take a bit of a risk because the market is smaller. "If [a creative risk] doesn't work out in America or Europe, that could be a massive, massive business issue."

Advice for next year: In some cases, great work wasn't awarded because the quality of the papers submitted to support that work's effectiveness was so poor. Jurors pleaded to the industry to raise the quality of the paper writing. Said Mr. Mitchinson, "There were so many fantastic creative ideas that come through this round of effectiveness judging, and we could see the merits in many of these. And yet the quality of the paper writing was not sufficiently good to allow us to award some of these ideas … it was quite frustrating for the jury."

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