Arnold Commutations win Cannes Grand Prix for VW

LONDON - Volkswagen picked up this year's press and poster Grand Prix at the Cannes festival for the US relaunch of the Beetle, which was masterminded by Arnold in Boston.

The UK won the most Gold Lions overall, with eight winners. The Waterstone's campaign from BDDP.GGT (now TBWA GGT Simons Palmer) was narrowly beaten to the Grand Prix, after winning Golds in the retail stores and chains/restaurants category in both the press and the poster sections.

The TBWA network cleaned up at the press and poster awards. BDDP.GGT won another Gold for its "rock" poster for the Tate Gallery in London, and TBWA Simons Palmer, also now merged into TBWA GGT Simons Palmer, won a Gold for its "God moves in mysterious ways" ad for Nike.

For the US, TBWA Chiat/Day's "think different" campaign for Apple won press and poster Golds, and for the Netherlands, TBWA/Campaign Company's "safety on board" poster for Samsonite Europe also won a gold.

From the UK, Bartle Bogle Hegarty also did well for its Wallis and Levi's Red Tab campaigns, which both won campaign Golds in the clothing, footwear & accessories category. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's Economist poster, "sperm donor", was the other UK winner.

Arnold Communications, the winner of the Grand Prix, won the US VW account from DDB in 1995 after a six-way pitch. The agency is currently the 19th biggest in the US, with billings of $850 million. Ron Lawner, Arnold's managing partner and chief creative officer, said: "The US VW brand was in bad shape when I got it, but all I did was dust it off a bit and make it important again. The campaign is very simple -- it lets the car speak for itself and there are no people in it because the VW brand appeals to so many different types."

All the ads feature a small, undominating picture of the new Beetle next to a headline, most of which refer neatly back to the legendary 60s model. Examples include: "If you sold your soul in the 80s, here's a chance to buy it back," "less flower more power," "Hug it? Drive it? Hug it? Drive it?" and "the engine's in the front but its heart's in the same place."

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