'Direct at its best' helps McCann Erickson to Romania's first Grand Prix

CANNES 2011: According to the festival's chairman Terry Savage, when Romania won its first-ever Bronze Lions at Cannes, the Romanian president insisted on visiting the agency responsible to formally present the award.

So who knows what will happen now that McCann Erickson Bucharest has scooped not one, but two Grand Prix Lions, both for its work on the chocolate bar brand Rom?

The second of those has come in the Direct category, and jury president Alexander Schill, the global chief creative officer of Serviceplan Group, insists that the work – which gave a US makeover to Rom, a chocolate bar themed on Romania – was an example of direct marketing at its best.

Schill said: "Rom was an example of an emotional piece of work that grabs you. We were looking for work that directly hits the heart of the consumer, and this did that.

"There were three campaigns that we had discussions about awarding the Grand Prix too, but the bravery of this work meant that Rom was the winner."

This time last year the UK celebrated when Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO picked up the Direct Agency of the Year award thanks to brilliant campaigns for Walkers and the Metropolitan Police.

But this year UK agencies failed to win any of the 57 Direct Lions awarded.

Chris Clarke, the chief creative officer of LBi and UK representative on the jury, admitted: "There wasn't really anything from the UK that troubled the jury. It's disappointing. The whole process showed that compared to other countries, we're still putting far too much emphasis into making TV ads."