P&G stages a media surprise as it picks up three gold Lions

This year's Media Lions in Cannes, the first to include clients on the jury, raised eyebrows among the media community when three of the 16 awards went to Procter & Gamble.

Bernard Balderston, P&G's associate media director, was on the judging panel which included Starcom Mediavest Group's multinational client service director, Kevin Malloy, and MediaCom's worldwide chief executive, and jury president, Alexander Schmidt-Vogel - both from key P&G agencies.

Around 150 P&G marketers are in Cannes this summer as part of the advertiser's bid to improve its creative reputation.

Malloy conceded that winning three Media Lions was unprecedented for the FMCG giant, but added that the weighting system of the judging process eliminated the possibility of bias.

Starcom's campaigns for the P&G brands Pampers in Mexico, Vidal Sassoon in Japan and Bonux washing detergent in Lebanon triumphed in the best use of radio, best use of new media and best use of mixed media, respectively.

The Media Grand Prix went to OMD Santiago for its "Force is with Cristal Beer" TV campaign for Cristal Beer. Schmidt-Vogel commented: "This campaign managed to connect with its environment in a very attention-grabbing, smart way. It was one of the most ingenious pieces of media strategy I have ever seen."

UK agencies scooped three Media Lions. ZenithOptimedia International won with its "eat" campaign for HSBC, OMD International with work for Apple's iPod and Mediaedge:cia with its "Get your eyes tested, ref!" effort for Specsavers.