Close-Up: The Cream of Cannes 2007

It takes dedication and determination to dig the diamonds from the dirt. Eight jurors relate how the winners were picked.

TITANIUM AND INTEGRATED - Alex Bogusky chief creative officer, Crispin Porter & Bogusky

This year I realised that the Titanium Lions are what makes Cannes stand out above other awards shows. They work as an incubation tank for the evolution of the industry and allow us to take a quick peek at where things will be in five years.

If you look at BMW Films when it was entered into Cannes, it could only have gone into the Titanium section. A few years on, it could have gone into most categories. This is what the jury was looking for this year - ads that showed where the industry is going, as well as leaving a legacy. Which is why Burger King "king games" won the Titanium Grand Prix.

Gaming is an exploding market in the US with huge growth potential and this work really brought that to life. You can see that gaming will be a mainstay of the whole awards in five years' time and not just within integration.

The Axe work was chosen for the Integrated Grand Prix because it demonstrated a level of integration that eclipsed everything else and because the big idea was actually the potential of integration.

You can't be thinking about media when coming up with an idea because you are instantly confined. However, because the Axe work started with a product, the music, the art and the media just fell off of it, instead of being constrictive add-ons.

FILM - Nik Studzinski executive creative director, Publicis

I'm very pale. Always have been. Although I have to admit that my pallor has gone from very white to a very subtle shade of Cannes-juror blue. It's the result of watching 4,473 ads in a dark room for 12 hours a day for seven days straight. And this year the entries were down. Bloody hell.

To give ourselves the best chance of making the Friday-night deadline, we split into three groups and arrived at a very long shortlist. The quality of the entries was quite low. Not just my opinion, but a view shared by the whole jury. The shortlist was better, but it still contained far too many howlers. Over the next couple of days, these were dismissed and things started to get interesting. Awarding Lions was relatively straightforward: the good work really stood up. Production values all over the world were really strong. Unfortunately, quite often this was at the expense of an idea. Gold, silver and bronze Lions were awarded only to work that ticked both boxes. It was here that we noticed a trend starting to appear: all the entries were ads - TV ads. The jury was itching for something more. And this formed the basis of the discussion around the Grand Prix. Is it possible for a TV ad to be more than just a TV ad?

I know this sounds odd, but why shouldn't a TV idea live beyond TV? Why shouldn't you be able to experience a TV ad in another way, in another medium? Why shouldn't an idea stay with you for longer than 30/60/90/1,000 seconds? Hence Ogilvy & Mather Toronto's "evolution" for Dove. Controversial? Perhaps. Relevant and appropriate? I think so.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off outside to get some sun.

OUTDOOR - Malcolm Duffy, creative director, Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy

As the sun beats down outside, I am forced to sit for 12 hours a day in a darkened room watching thousands of some of the world's most baffling posters. Welcome to Cannes judging.

The gems aside, most of the work was dull, derivative and, worst of all, not worthy of the title of "poster". Hundreds of ads had type so small that without zooming in on our viewing screen, we'd have had absolutely no idea who the ad was from or what it was about.

I suggested that, in the same way we can't expect punters to get nearer a poster to decipher it, so we shouldn't zoom in to discover what on earth they're about. This would have probably ruled out a huge swathe of entries. My suggestion was ignored.

So what about the work? The most exciting work came from the special categories- ambient, stunts and special builds. Check out the Medecins Sans Frontieres wristbands, Amnesty International bush shelter and Microsoft Big Shadow to name but three. It will be interesting to see how the specials versus traditional posters develops. My money's on the specials.

Which brings us to the big showdown. Nedbank versus BBC World for the Grand Prix. The interactive text-voting poster in Times Square for BBC World got my vote. But Nedbank's solar-panel poster got just about everyone else's. I don't think it was a fair fight. Network BBDO's Nedbank poster came with a strong emotional film explaining the idea, and telling us what nice people Nedbank are. BBC World didn't. It lost.

Cannes left a lot of unanswered questions. Should posters be allowed to have films explaining their ideas? If Nedbank is so concerned about poverty, why did it build just one poster? And how on earth do you get clients to buy such tiny type? Questions, questions. Maybe that's why people get so little sleep in Cannes.

CYBER - Andy Sandoz, creative partner, Work Club

From bad banners about rubbing genitalia ... to films about men with blow-holes, this was better than I'd expected. I'd heard horror stories of sitting in a bunker for seven days and staring at the internet, but to be honest, I'm used to that. Digital has matured. We're not in the basement anymore but a fourth-floor room, still with no windows, but it's progress.

This year's work was diverse and chaotic. It came at you from all angles. It was fun. We were attacked in all languages and all emotions. Somewhere, amid the shite, we found some really inspiring and diverse examples of what digital can do. The three Grand-Prix winners reflect this perfectly.

Dove "evolution" may be a film, but it's a very good one. It exploded across the web and deserves to be celebrated accordingly. I for one don't feel the need to draw more lines of battle between different media: very good = very viral.

R/GA's Nike+'s innovation and community change the way you run. A platform for the future, where ideas born in digital cross media and impact on culture.

Farfar's Heidies for Diesel pushes online to its max. Perhaps its real strength is simply the hot chicks barely covered in the product for five days straight, but it's also well stacked with interactivity and entertainment.

Together, the three winners act as an exciting and eclectic benchmark for all advertising to come. Cannes will have to adapt accordingly as Digital's beta attitude again refuses to stay in its box.

As for the UK, a poor showing at the business end of the awards reflects the issues the agencies face: running to stand still, struggling to allow creativity to flow or craft to shine in the press to deliver. Our world-class talent and passion must be allowed to breathe.

PS. I still cannot believe I couldn't get "blow-hole Bob" voted through. The majority of the jury overruled my repeated attempts. Make your own mind up via YouTube.

PRESS - Julian Watt, executive creative director, Network BBDO

This year, the Press category had a handful of really great Lions that would elevate any awards show, any time. And we had a bona fide Grand Prix - Saatchi & Saatchi New York's ads for Ultra Tide Stain Remover. Unanimously chosen as the piece that jumped from the page into the stomachs of all 19 judges.

It was an inspiring piece. Irreverent and entertaining in a category usually characterised by the opposite. The craft was mouth-watering. And it was a massive step forward for the detergent category. Most creative meetings end when the creative states: "And we're going to show 1,000 sword-bearing ninjas killing six." Hats/heads off to agency and client.

Generally speaking, I still believe that the key to great print is no different to ten years ago. An entertaining and relevant insight, executed with grace and precision. Reduce it to its most simple state, but retain the poetry.

It's so easy to expect something "more" from print given that media is "so much more" now.

But actually, why? Think of a great book. It's as good as the story. All novels are printed equal - on blank pages with an 11pt, practical typeface, spaced evenly.

Print advertising is no different. It's up to the content to elevate it to staggering, or relegate it to PTO.

So, my gut says print is alive and well. And the next time someone says people don't have time to read long copy, show them "hospice" from Singapore. I'd give up three minutes of my precious time on earth to read and learn from those words.

MEDIA - Graham Bednash, managing partner, Michaelides & Bednash

There was a lot of work to do - 1,700 entries to read in five days, as well as a mood board and a video the agency sends in to explain the idea. Because the salesmanship of so many of the entries is so brilliant, there's a lot of time spent working out if it really is an original, powerful idea or if you're just being a sucker.

As ever in this category, the biggest challenge of all is to work out how to separate the creative idea from the media idea. David Verklin, who chaired the jury brilliantly, pushed us to reward only original, inspirational media ideas that had been a success - rather than stunts or media thinking that simply amplified a great creative execution.

All the winning entries had a few key things in common - they gave people an involving, useful experience; they were extraordinarily simple; they broke new ground and they were single-minded in the way they over-committed to an idea. Too many of these came from outside the UK.

The Grand Prix winner, OMD New Zealand's "money goes digital" for ASB Bank, created a new medium by persuading the New Zealand authorities to put ads on bank notes, which could then be converted into digital currency. In Argentina, Nike transformed a whole community and created "barrio benito" - a huge, living museum where Maradona grew up, to dramatise the Joga Benito campaign. In Japan, there were great examples of how technology can create fantastic media experiences.

I was on the jury the first time they put on Media Lions six years ago. This time there was a massive step-change in the quality of the entries. Around the world, in unexpected places, media is taking the lead as a creative discipline.

RADIO - Martin Galton, creative director, Hooper Galton

In a wet and windy Cannes, the big radio conundrum was this: Could we find a contender to knock Bud Lite, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the radio world, for six. And, if we could, would the world hate us for it?

With the British having trouble putting their shorts on, with both legs down one leg-hole, and the rest of the world stuck in a musical genre quagmire - we heard rock, rap, opera, you name it (one country even tried combining two musical genres to give us Hip-Hopera). It looked like a breeze for Bud Lite.

But, with commercial radio just emerging in India, the first-time contenders were punching above their weight.

Then came big bad South Africa, looking the likeliest to do the most damage with its Geronimo Condoms campaign.

And so it proved. After a three-hour punch up, Bud Lite was left with a broken nose and a nasty cut above the eye.

While the jury waited for the fatwahs to arrive, a third contender, fresh from Clemenger BBDO, stepped into the ring. Bulging with bronzed Aussie muscles and armed with a two-minute masterpiece for Snickers, it dealt Geronimo the killer blow.

Snickers oozed Australian charm; Geronimo oozed graphic images of your parents having sex.

One was safe, and the other edgy. Disappointingly, safe won the day and a new world champion was born.

DIRECT - Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman, Ogilvy UK

Direct marketers persist in the outlandish view that in order to judge a piece of work you first need to understand its context and purpose.This makes judging 1,700 entries rather time consuming.

But we ground this down to a shortlist of just under 200, from which we found around 38 bronzes, 12 silvers, eight golds and one Grand Prix.

In many ways (and not just because it is in France), the event is reminiscent of the fashion industry: just as there is catwalk fashion and high-street fashion, so there are catwalk ads and high-street ads. We were not implacably hostile to "catwalk" ads created for awards (they are, like catwalk fashion, the industry's test-lab) but we did allow for the degree of difficulty in a brief. One reason the Grand Prix, for Banco Gallego by Shackleton, Madrid, came from the financial services category. And one reason you shouldn't dodge that next pensions brief.

My other conclusions?

The jury was well chosen - and bonded very quickly. Enough difference of opinion to keep things interesting; enough consensus to arrive at a result. It is fashionable to decry the Cannes event, since it plainly exists to make money. Yet it has to be said that the management of the event is exemplary, and the stagecraft of the awards event is spectacularly good.

The UK is no longer the powerhouse it once was in creative direct marketing. The mantle has passed to Germany, the Latins and the Antipodes.

Big networks did unusually well; the Arcs, TBWAs, BBDOs, Saatchis (and indeed Ogilvys) seemed to be back in the ascendant. I have long predicted that Leo Burnett/Arc would become a great force in integrated work (Chicagoans have a knack of getting down and doing things, while New Yorkers flounce about discussing them) so I feel vindicated here.

Campaigns, in particular multimedia campaigns, won most of the major metal. But there is still room (as with last year's Grand Prix winner) for the single, glorious one-off.

There is a stark separation between the categories (Cyber, Media, Direct, Promo, even Film) that are disrupted by technology and those that are not. I think the foment in these former categories means there is less of an award-winning "formula" in evidence.

Oh, since you ask, the pharma category was the lightest: if you harbour ambitions for next year, jump at any medical brief you see.

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