CLOSE-UP: LIVE ISSUE/CANNES LIONS DIRECT - The best way to win a Cannes Lion Direct. As Cannes awards its first Lions for DM, Mark Fiddes gives the winning formula

I had a funny dream in Cannes last week. We beat the Brazilians 17 to one. Then I woke up and found it was true, at least in terms of the inaugural Cannes Lions Direct.

Mind you, theirs was a cracker scored from way outside the creative area by Salem, Sao Paulo - a four-part mailing for Cigna Investment representing the different stages of life. As for the other results: the country that invented the game, the US, cornered just two Lions, while Holland and Spain drew at four each. Germany and New Zealand floated in three a piece, and the Grand Prix went to Harrison Troughton Wunderman for that AA campaign on the back of a bit of cardboard. It's worth not renewing your membership just to get one.

Which brings me indirectly to my own guide for anyone wishing to swelter for several hours in the Palais de Congress to pick up the world's most coveted direct marketing creative award.

Cardboard is the new milk bottle. Last year, Partners Andrews Aldridge and Faulds did magnificently at DMA and D&AD with messages in milk bottles.

This year it is the turn of the patch of cardboard. Not just the AA membership renewal, but the idea of placing "card begging signs in vending machines for the Homeless refuge St Mungo's (Saatchi & Saatchi London).

By now you will already have noticed that, unlike Nike, you don't have to spend gazillions on TV commercials that run everywhere to win a Lion.

It may only have worked for a small target audience. You probably won't have seen it, but the idea will have changed attitudes and maybe even the rules of engagement with customers.

It's also important to decide whether or not you are a fish. Let me explain.

We go to Auditorium One where Lester Wunderman opened the direct seminar programme.

Maybe it was his lack of visual aids, but Lester quickly sensed that he might be losing his audience. The normal 20 rules for direct marketing became 13. I clicked in at the moment he was coining some new jargon, which as you know we are very short of in direct marketing.

"Ophelimity", or the desire to produce total satisfaction, he advised, was named after Ophelia, the Greek goddess of total satisfaction. No wonder Hamlet had high expectations. Lester went on to opine: "We are like salmon in direct marketing. Always going against the stream. Which is why I now think of him as a kindly direct marketing salmon nudging through the eddies and rapids of image advertising.

It's also worth being nice to jurors and taking care with entry forms. After the six-day judgathon, our chairman, Malcolm Speed, the worldwide chief executive of Rapp & Collins, calculated that we had reviewed more than 7,000 items.

The criteria to reach the shortlist, however, are mercifully simple: 30 per cent strategy; 30 per cent creativity; 30 per cent execution and 10 per cent results.

As Mike Sutcliffe, the regional creative director of AsiaPac for Wunderman, noted: "While some entries were woefully wide of any marks, the awarded work showed that where people had determination, time and resources, the campaigns were as good as anything possibly could be."

Please try not to use boxes. It's not grown up and it's bad for the planet.

Walking into the hanger-sized conference room in which we were judging on that first day was chilling. It looked like the Harrods depository after a particularly disappointing mid-season sale. There were quite a lot of kites too, one or two spades and a graduate student wrapped in brown paper.

Looking at the tally of almost half the awarded Lions, it would appear that the UK is streets ahead in direct marketing. This is an illusion. While we may have trashed the wearying techniques still cherished in other parts of the English-speaking world, others are also improving.

From Sweden, Sandberg wallpaper launched its new yellow pattern to architects on a six-page, gray scale thermal fax (ANNR.BBDO Gothenburg). Very deadpan.

From India, a savings plan was mailed to parents featuring a picture drawn by their own child of what they wanted to be when they grew up (iCONTRACT Mumbai).

As we sat on that dismal Friday watching the Brazil match in the bar of the Carlton, surrounded by a riot of yellow and blue shirts, I noticed the words on the flag that flew above the TV. Ordem e Progresso which my friend and fellow jury member Marcio Salem tells me means "good organisation and forward movement".

Which is a spot-on positioning for Lions Direct - although any comparison with Brazilian football may have to wait until next year.

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