UK dominates Lions in direct marketing by lifting 23 awards

The UK has once again dominated the Direct Lions in Cannes, claiming more than a third of the 62 Lions awarded.

This is a step up from last year, when UK direct agencies won 11 out of 56 Lions but again the UK missed out on the Grand Prix, despite submitting more entries than any other country. The top prize went to the Sydney-based Host for its "five-cent texts" campaign for Virgin Mobile.

All 21 judges voted unanimously for the Australian entry, hailed by the jury president, Howard Draft, for its wit and humour.

"Our winner uses humour so well, which isn't often done well in direct," the chairman and chief executive of Draft Inc said. "But every stage of the campaign was devoted to building loyalty, generating sales and being a benefit to the consumer."

The UK won eight gold Lions. Among them were Euro RSCG London's "fatty cigarettes" campaign for the British Heart Foundation, Publicis Dialog's work for HP's IPG printers and Tullo Marshall Warren for its St Patrick's Day campaign for Guinness. Five silvers and ten bronze Lions completed the UK haul.

The UK juror Ian Howarth, the executive director and head of creative at WWAV Rapp Collins, said of the UK showing: "We've done well here, and deservedly so. The general standard was disappointing, but what was good was quite brilliant. The Grand Prix winner was staggering."

Howarth added that other markets were better at "making the connection between traditional direct marketing and interactive and the winner showed us how it's done".