OK, so the continental Europeans ganged up on Blackcurrant Tango at
the last minute to deny HHCL the Cannes Grand Prix, but the
extraordinary Swedish Diesel campaign is a worthy winner, and I’m
surprised the xenophobic ’St George’ spot got as far as it did.
Does Cannes matter? Ask any of the many Brits who went this year for the
first time and were goggle-eyed at the ceremony. For many nationalities,
winning a Cannes lion is the biggest deal. It’s at worst a pay-rise, at
best a career. There’s huge shared national pride. Winners will be feted
And then there’s the Brits. But, bugger the usual jaded cynicism, and
let’s celebrate an excellent crop of winners. The industry (Campaign
included) indulges in enough soul searching and hair-shirt wearing. One
could argue the industry’s actually in a purple patch work-wise. There
was a discernible rejection of the technique-dominated ads of the past
five years in favour of the simple idea. So, Blackcurrant Tango, Abbott
Mead’s success with the Economist and Alka Seltzer, both of the BMP
Volkswagen campaign winners, Y&R with St Mungo’s, Rainey Kelly’s Virgin
’grim reaper’ are all welcome gold winners. And let’s not be naive about
technique, when married to an idea the results are stunning as Lowes’
latest Smirnoff gold winner and O&M’s Guinness campaign proved.
As well as nine out of 21 film golds, Brits walked away with 13 of the
38 print golds and a deserved Grand Prix for Leo Burnett’s Mercedes
’skidmarks’ press work. Trying to judge 6,000 print entries from around
the world is my idea of hell, but the winners almost always stand out
because of the clarity of the idea - often, admittedly, at Cannes, the
So, congratulations are in order to Burnetts for United Airlines and
Mercedes, Lowes for Smirnoff Red and the Vauxhall Tigra, Leagas Delaney
for Adidas, the Leith for Irn-Bru, Bates Dorland for Banham Zoo, GGT for
the Big Issue, FCB for Shelter, Saatchis for nursing recruitment, BMP
for Ministry of Sound, and BBH for two different Levi’s campaigns.
Sorry if this is all a bit list-like, but I think it’s a hell of an
achievement to win a gold at Cannes. Yes, it’s political, but let’s not
be naive, it’s a lot less political than D&AD. More importantly, unlike
D&AD and other awards schemes, with the possible exception of the IPA
Effectiveness Awards, winning at Cannes does hold sway with clients
around the world.
If you don’t believe me, ask John Hegarty, who has used success at the
festival to help build his agency’s international business, or DM9
Publicidade of Brazil, which recently signed a lucrative deal with
Omnicom. Keep an eye on the individuals behind this year’s Cannes gold
winners. They will be making news during the next 12 months.