CLOSE-UP: LIVE ISSUE - CANNES. What does it take to win a Grand Prix at Cannes?

After five long hard days of judging, the UK-based jury members explain how and why the 2003 Cannes festival's Grand Prix winners won.

JOHN O'KEEFFE: Print

Executive creative director, BBH

This year, I was on the Cannes Press and Outdoor jury. And very enjoyable it was too.

Dan Wieden, our chairman, had made it clear that he wanted to rule out "scam" ads and gravitate towards what the jury came to call proper ads for real clients. The problems arose when a piece of work was technically legitimate but, in the view of some, designed more to win at Cannes than to actually create any effect.

But things could have been worse and Dan is to be congratulated for his stewardship of the process.

In my category, I think bronze, silver and gold were reasonably uncontentious.

But the same was not entirely true of Les Grands Prix. Another laudable aim of the jury, under Dan's direction, was to find new directions, a new language. Many felt PlayStation 2 from TBWA/Paris was that ad. Many, but not all. The question, "What am I supposed to think, feel, or do, as a result of seeing a woman giving birth to a grown man?", troubled a number of us. There was no helpful line other than an almost invisible PS2.

I suspect the ad was one of many that created a "vibe" around the brand. But we were asked to judge it in isolation.

The pursuit of the new and different makes the second Grand Prix, for Kiwi Care, also a little puzzling. Is the fly's compound eye view of the world that new? However, I bet it worked!

All in all, a lot of great work got awarded, and these are only the views of one creative director, honestly ventured.

Which makes the answer to the question "Why did the Grand Prix go to the Grand Prix winners?" very simple. Because they got the most votes.

MARK CRIDGE: Cyber

Managing director, Glue London

While 2003 was probably not a classic year for Cyber at Cannes, it was certainly a successful one for Nike, which dominated with high-quality, fantastically executed work. From this torrent, it was almost inevitable that it would scoop a top honour, which indeed it did with the raw, street-level Panna KO site.

The real gem, however, was the online advertising Grand Prix for the integrated launch of the Volvo XC90. Volvo has developed something of a reputation for putting digital at the heart of its advertising efforts and, with the launch of the XC90, it took things one step further by completely erasing the car from its ads. Tranquil scenes of Scandinavian nature alongside a simple web address replaced the usual identikit shots of superb handling around mountain roads. The car was only revealed on the website.

The Volvo campaign was probably not the most interactive piece and perhaps didn't even contain the best advertising. What it did give, however, was a clear direction for the way forward. A brave idea, well executed with digital completely integrated at its core.

RICHARD RUSSELL: Film

Copywriter, Wieden & Kennedy

While some might say there was another little ad that had its merits, when 23 Film jurors are, virtually to a man, in agreement on the Grand Prix, you know you ain't got chopped liver.

A woman throws out her little red desk lamp and leaves it outside with the rubbish. Night falls, and the poor little lamp sits in the rain, tugging at our heartstrings as a new lamp gets turned on in its place. Suddenly, a man walks into frame and says: "Why are you feeling sorry for the lamp?

Are you crazy? It's just a lamp, it has no feelings, and the new one is much better." It's fresh and surprising, and the damn thing gets you hook, line and sinker. It entertains in spades, but also forces you to seriously consider what they're saying. Neat trick, I say.

The clincher, though, was the fact that it's also a great business idea, and not just a good joke. Reminding people that simple household objects are nothing to get attached to, just functional items to make life work better, is a fiendish way to get customers through Ikea's door.

I know I've got an occasional table whose days are numbered.

GARY SHARPEN: Direct

Creative partner, Leonardo

Like the golds at Cannes Direct this year, the core idea in the Grand Prix winner was incredibly simple. In an effort to get young men to drink more Jim Beam, Y&R Sydney played on the stereotypical Aussie image of men and turned it upside down. In one TV ad, three guys order steak while their mate worryingly goes for salad. Ads in women's mags point out that men shouldn't be reading such publications in the first place. And ambient stickers are put on offending items such Celine Dion CDs and kittens.

Every piece of the campaign picks up on the fact that no self-respecting man should find himself drawn to these things, but if they are they should "Call 1900-9-JIM BEAM" for help. The recorded voice on the "helpline" helps them out while extolling the manly virtues of Jim Beam and concludes "... and if you are interested in information on arts and culture, please hang up".

This is strong direct communication that changed people's behaviour. Which, after all, is what direct is all about.

DAN WIEDEN: Titanium

President, Wieden & Kennedy

When a piece of work, a way of thinking, like Fallon's BMW work last year, arrives in a festival and cannot find a home, then that's a challenge to the festival, to the clients and to everyone who shows up at these things.

I talked to the festival chief, Roger Hatchuel, about this and we agreed it would be really great to have a cross-category Titanium Lion.

The good news was that Fallon and BMW came back this year and we felt that if we were going to set a standard for this award you couldn't find a better example than what Fallon did last year and how they built on it this year.

MARK CRANMER: Media

Chief executive, Starcom Motive

It's tough, honestly it is. Five full days of judging, compulsory 8.30am starts, reviewing hundreds of written Media entries.

I think there were worthy winners in most categories. The common dynamics? Bravery, relevance and focus. Usually, there was also clear evidence that the media behaviour delivered genuine effect. Very handy.

So in most winners - such as Fallon Minneapolis' Archipelago - we can look to them with admiration and learn. OK, a few more daft stunts got through rather than just those awarded in the stunt category. That is mostly an understandable emotional response from a jury stuck in a room reading for five days.

Overall, there is real value in the awards: we can learn from the winners. We can also make the scheme a more accurate reflection of genuine media excellence. In that the jury was united.

Topics