Me and my Grand Prix

As ad people from around the world pack their bags ahead of the Cannes festivities, Campaign speaks to some past Grand Prix winners to discover how the award changed their careers and client relationships.

Rom: Promo & Activation and Direct Grand Prix 2001
Rom: Promo & Activation and Direct Grand Prix 2001

ROM - 'THE AMERCIAN ROM' - Promo & Activation and Direct - Grands Prix 2011

Adrian Botan, vice-president, creative excellence, McCann Erickson Romania

Winning the Grand Prix gives you superpowers but, as with any superhero, you need to pretend you have a normal life and go on to work and earn the daily bread. Which is good, because it helps you keep things in proportion. Among the benefits of the win was the feeling of invincibility and, indeed, we have a great new-business record this year - and we became the super-sexy magnet for hot talent and now everybody wants to work for us.

After winning, I got a different task and a new challenge - to scale McCann Romania's model in the Central and Eastern Europe region.

We had a great relationship with the clients even before the campaign - that's how we could sell such an outrageous idea. The work made our clients proud and admired in the community, but also inspired them to explore new business opportunities with Rom and they are now launching a line extension. They also challenged us to do more campaigns for them, just like the last one we did for Rom, "Romanians are smart" - a gold winner at New York Festivals.

PHILIPS - 'CAROUSEL' - Film Craft - Grand Prix 2009

Neil Dawson, executive creative director, BETC London

The Grand Prix for "Parallel Lines" was a turning point in my time as a global executive creative director at DDB. Winning in 2010 made it two in a row after "carousel" in 2009. It's good to go out on a high and I sensed changes in the account that would make the next two years not nearly as much fun as the previous two.

Having taken Philips from an unfashionable client to a flagship one, my stock at DDB was high. But there was no new opportunity that excited me at DDB, which was sad as I had spent ten happy years there.

Luckily, two Grands Prix got the attention of Remi Babinet at BETC Paris. BETC wanted to launch a micro-network, starting with London. Creativity is at the heart of BETC, as proved again this year with Canal+ "bear". So, rather than a rise or a promotion, I got to start my own agency. That doesn't happen very often.

TOURISM QUEENSLAND - 'BEST JOB IN THE WORLD' - PR and Direct - Grands Prix 2009

Cristian Staal, Ralph Barnett, associate creative directors, SapientNitro Brisbane

Obviously, it was a career highlight, being recognised with so many gongs. One key moment was hearing Lord Tim Bell state "best job ..." was one of the best ideas he'd ever seen.

We got job offers from all over the world; however, three years on, Cristian and I have remained firmly in Brisbane. Merrin (McCormick, another member of the winning team) transferred overseas.

Having one of our key clients from Tourism Queensland with us in Cannes to celebrate was a fantastic experience. It meant the gravity of what we had achieved together really hit home, which has led to a strong and trusting relationship.

It instantly affected the momentum of SapientNitro globally, with new business knocking at our door as existing clients explored new opportunities with us. Every client started asking for the next "best job".

PUMA - 'AFTER HOURS ATHLETE' - Film Craft - Grand Prix 2011

Tim Gordon, Amanda Clelland, associate creative directors, Droga5

Winning the Grand Prix was a fantastic honour. It was truly amazing to walk up on that stage, stand before our peers and feel the fruits of our labour weigh heavy in our clammy hands.

Well, at least that's what we assume happened; we were chained to our desks on a pitch.

But we digress.

Truthfully, the recognition has been incredibly rewarding. It continues to motivate us and has led to an even stronger relationship with our client - allowing us to continually push them into more exciting areas. Plus, they know our names now.

This year, having been unchained, we are excited to take part in all the festivities and, if we are lucky, continue the momentum we started last year.

SAMSONITE - 'HEAVEN & HELL' - Press - Grand Prix 2011

Lv Xiao Xi, group head, JWT Shanghai

Winning the Cannes Grand Prix meant the world to me. Not only is the Cannes Lion the most important creative award, in my humble opinion, but because this is also the first Grand Prix for China. I'm so happy that I've done my wife, family and country proud.

I was recently promoted from senior art director to group head, and winning this award played a big part in that promotion and pay rise. I'm also thrilled that this award contributed to the momentum of the agency.

By bringing home China's first-ever Grand Prix, this award helped put China on the global creative map - and helped cement JWT Shanghai's position as an industry leader in China. I'm looking forward to attending Cannes this year. I'm so excited not only because I've never been to Cannes, but I want to see and learn even more from the seminars and, hopefully, I'll get to receive more Lions this year and the following years to come.

FIAT - 'ECO:DRIVE' - Cyber - Grand Prix 2009

Nick Turner, joint executive creative director, AKQA

Winning at Cannes was incredible recognition for the team and our client, all of whom worked extremely hard to develop a product that, at times, we thought may never see the light of day.

An industry white paper has calculated that if all drivers in the European Union were eco:Drivers, we could save 37 billion litres of fuel a year - that's a saving of £43 billion.

It's important that, after winning any award, you don't get complacent. Winning an award can strengthen the relationship with a client so long as the work is effective. It can also give the whole team more exposure and greater profile, but doesn't entitle you to sit back and relax.

It's good to keep your feet on the ground and remember you are only as good as your next piece of work.

NIKE - 'WRITE THE FUTURE' - Film - Grand Prix 2011

Stuart Harkness, creative director Freddie Powell creative, Wieden & Kennedy London

SH: "If you stick to a creative vision, it can be well worth it. Nike instils that kind of faith, so it's good to repay in terms of results, which then leads to further work.

"You get a lot of interest afterwards/stalked on LinkedIn. It sounds cheesy, but happiness is driven more by enjoying what you do every day than money. Either that or I just haven't been offered enough cash to move. But, seriously, the work comes first. Stick to that mantra and hopefully the rest looks after itself eventually. Doesn't it ...?"

FP: "Good work will always make a difference to your career. Awards are just there to shine a spotlight on it. 'The work comes first' is a motto in Wieden & Kennedy and, as with everything we do, we tried to live up to that."

OLD SPICE - 'RESPONSE' - Cyber - Grand Prix 2011

Craig Allen, Jason Bagley, creative directors, Wieden & Kennedy Portland

Winning the Grand Prix was one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to us, after getting married and having kids. The award helped increase the trust we have with Procter & Gamble. We still just try to do work that we love and hope the rest of the world agrees, but achieving something you never thought you would increases your faith in what's possible. Which is why we plan to win the Oscar Peace Prize this year, which is awarded when you make a hilarious slapstick movie starring Robin Williams that leads to world peace.


Steve Jones, Martin Loraine, creative directors, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Winning a Grand Prix definitely increases your hireability/earning potential/smile width. But there's more to it than that.

In a job where almost all decisions are subjective, awards have power.

We all have our own little techniques, tricks and beliefs we use for guidance, but confidence is what we need most.

That's where sneaking the occasional furtive glimpse at an award helps.

And then, even when you're sure of your idea, you still need to take everyone along with you. It can be tough to convince people that something is right, when even you know there is no "right".

That's where your casually, but strategically placed, accidentally on purposely spot-lit Grand Prix works for you.

When an awful lot of money is riding on your strange, risky, subjective idea, it's the loudest possible statement that you have previous form in nailing "subjective".

HOME PLUS - 'SUBWAY VIRTUAL STORE' - Media - Grand Prix 2011

Misu Yi, copywriter Youbin Bang, Yeonjoo Lee, Youna Chung art directors, Cheil Worldwide

It was the first-ever Cannes Grand Prix for Cheil Worldwide, and for South Korea as well. So it was a great honour for all of us.

After winning the Cannes Grand Prix, we found it easier to persuade both colleagues and clients.

The client became even more confident in what Cheil is doing. Home Plus increased the number of virtual stores, so it affected the client's sales (in a positive way, of course).

Many people have recognised Cheil's creativity after winning the Grand Prix. So Cheil Worldwide has found it easier to hire good talent around the world. We have 49 offices around 27 countries, so winning the Grand Prix brings good momentum that attracts global talent.

We also received a bonus - the amount is confidential, but it was just enough to make us happy!