CLOSE-UP: LIVE ISSUE/CANNES STARS - Favoured few outshine the rest of the Cannes field. Francesca Newland looks at the most talked-about ads at the Cannes Festival

It may be boring, but it's also a very good sign: there was next to no controversy over the 2002 Cannes juries' choice of winners.

Jeff Goodby, the president of the jury and a founder of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, says the overall quality of the film entries was low, a fact reflected by the scarcity of gold Lions allocated. Other creatives commented that the standard of the press and poster entries was also low, making Saatchi & Saatchi London's Club 18-30 campaign a clear winner.

However, Goodby says that the 15 ads that received gold awards in the film category were of a higher than usual quality. "It was a dark sky with some really bright stars. The best was really good but the rest was not all that, he says.

Goodby explains that there were four gold winners that could have taken the Grand Prix in any given year, and says that after Nike's "tag spot, X-box's "Champagne was the favourite among the judges. "There was a big gap between the top four and the next stuff down, he comments.

However, the judges felt that "life is short, play more was a less original idea than that of an entire city playing tag.

The judges praised "tag for its exceptional production values and its "fantastic music". The jury member Paul Briginshaw, the creative director of Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, says: "It's a clever strategy and a new direction for Nike. It's all about playing. It combines great strategy and great creative work."

Goodby says that the other favourites were Levi's "odyssey", Fox Sports' campaign and "dog for Toyota by Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles.

The international language of humour meant that a disproportionate amount of funny ads scored highly, but Goodby was keen to point out that there were also "moving and emotional elements to some of the winners.

Goodby identifies ads based on mystery as a trend among the good entries, citing "odyssey as an example: "You have to figure it out. You don't immediately see the device, just big memorable images splashing on to us."

Michael Jensen, the creative director of Result/DDB in Amsterdam, spotted several ads he suspected were designed to win awards, rather than sell products. He says there were entries that made a funny joke their raison d'etre, rather than their strategy.

The jury did not think that the economic downturn had affected the quality of the winners. In fact, Goodby suggests that it may have had the opposite effect by concentrating the world's best creativity into a handful of scripts.

"The number of productions has gone down, which has left fewer opportunities to do great work, he explains.

- Nike's "tag", directed by Gorgeous' Frank Budgen and created by Wieden & Kennedy Portland, was this year's big winner, taking the film Grand Prix as well as the journalists' award and the Lion for excellence in music. The spot shows a young man on a Toronto street chasing fellow commuters in an attempt to tag them. It had the edge over Nike's "shade runner as it was about people playing together.

- The humour in Leagas Delaney Paris' three spots for Ikea made them predictable Cannes winners and they scored gold. One spot shows an amorous embrace on a sofa come to an abrupt end when the girl drops back dead having been stabbed in the back by a misplaced fork. It ends with the line: "Tidy up. A second spot shows a toddler playing with a vibrator that has been left lying around while a third shows a young woman sucking up a shoelace that has made its way on to her plate of spaghetti.

- Bartle Bogle Hegarty's "odyssey for Levi's Engineered Jeans won a gold Lion and has sparked a stream of copycat spoof ads, most recently Mother's Lilt work. Some creatives felt it was a stronger candidate than "tag to take the best use of music Lion, but generally Cannes visitors were negative about the spot, saying it was not as good as its predecessor, Levi's "twist".

- "In a bus by Leo Burnett Korea for McDonald's took a silver Lion on the night and was heralded as evidence of improving creative standards from Asia. The spot shows a beefy man fall asleep on the bus while holding a box of McDonald's fries. His weedy neighbour is tempted to steal one, but afraid of the consequences. He eventually plucks up courage just before the bus lurches forward, emptying the rest of the fries on the floor. The ad closes as the beefy man looks at the scared thief, just as he moves the fry to his mouth.

- TBWA/Chiat/Day's campaign for Fox Sports was hotly tipped for the Grand Prix, but some believed the broadcaster's Grand Prix win last year worked against it. However, the campaign, which showed a lethally flawed leaf blower, nail gun and motor boat constructed during Fox's coverage of Major League Baseball, won a gold Lion.

- Saatchi & Saatchi London's Club 18-30 print work took the press and poster Grand Prix. Judges were impressed at how directly the ads hit their target audience and with how they can engage potential holiday-makers for several minutes. Observers were unanimous that the campaign was the clear winner, with many under-whelmed by the standard of the other entries. The agency's "doggie style spot for Club 18-30 took a gold Lion in the film category.

- The subtlety of Lowe & Partners Singapore's "dog spot for Ikea impressed the creative community in Cannes. The spot, which secured one of two gold Lions for Ikea, shows a small dog enthusiastically running into its owner's newly furnished house. Once inside he looks around bemused, exits the house and looks up to check he's got the right house number. The finest canine acting performance of the year.

- Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai's "bus spot for Fevicol secured a silver Lion. The ad features an old bus weighed down with travellers piled on its roof and hanging out of its windows. The passengers sway to a slow drum beat before the brand name reveals that they were held in place by Fevicol glue.

- NSPCC's "cartoon", by Saatchi & Saatchi London, secured a gold Lion. The animated format enabled the agency to depict the kind of violence normally unable to get past the BACC. Many Cannes visitors believed it was Grand Prix worthy but, as a charity ad, it didn't qualify.

- Bartle Bogle Hegarty's "Champagne for X-Box was the second favourite for the Grand Prix. The spot, showing a baby mature into an old man in 30 seconds as he flies through the air before landing in his grave, was directed by Spectre's Danny Kleinman and picked up a gold Lion.


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