Of Castrated Pigs And Deer With Guns, A Cannes Recap
CANNES, FRANCE – As this week’s International Advertising Festival staggers towards a finish after one too many late nights, sardine-styled beach parties and deceptively delicious glasses of port, it’s worth a quick reminder of the real reason we’re all here (or at least try to convince ourselves): to celebrate the world’s best advertising.
As usual, many of the best Media Lions finalists were for non-profit or public service clients, which are much easier to promote than, say, a bank. The short-listed work lining the lower level of the Palais at the town’s waterfront center was heavy with efforts to warn of global warming, damn drunk-driving, curse the unholy triumvirate of war/torture/poverty, excoriate the extinction of rare animals, and even beg for an end to pig castration.
All the more impressive, then, that the Grand Prix was given to an inventive campaign for a bank.
So, before everyone flies away and the non-Grand Prix winners are quickly forgotten – until they are ripped off a year or two later and resubmitted by another agency – here are a few selective creative highlights from the Media Lions winners, complete with links to see the work and judge for yourself:
To launch a virtual wallet, linked to a bank account, that allows users to text each other money via mobile phone, OMD received permission from the New Zealand government to plaster stickers over the national currency, replacing the statesmen centered on NZ$5bills with digitized depictions. They also plastered train stations with huge, accessible billboards with tens of thousands of post-it notes as reminders for commuters.
To increase declining sales of fountain pens, the South African agency Pen & Art arranged with a Cape Town business paper to have one of the inside pages hand-written. The newspaper provided the agency with all the articles ahead of time, and they were written out longhand and set in the style of newspaper editorial.
To promote the Canadian cable network Scream TV, ZIG Toronto rented an old Victorian house in a busy area of Toronto and used a holographic projector to create a translucent ghost of a little girl who performed 40 different activities. News coverage, viral videos and blogs made the house a media sensation, and Scream TV subscriptions increased 29%.
The best of the Public Service campaigns used posters adapted to duplicate its respective surroundings to depict human rights abuses. Prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib occurring at a suburban bus top, or a starving child in front of a mall, gave the stark images a brutal immediacy.
This snarky campaign for the luxury brand stuck Mercedes-Benz’s iconic hood ornament on the front of other cars, with an attached card inviting the drivers to follow up with a test drive.
To promote the anti-aging cream Nivea Visage Q10Plus at the cinema, a woman’s portrait was projected on the theater curtain, which was then drawn halfway so filmgoers could compare the product’s benefits. Movie theaters targeting a mature audience were chosen.
A small pimple sticker on the face of a pretty cover girl turned the front page of a hip youth magazine into a Clearasil ad. Once peeled off, the sticker’s reverse side contained a brand message and web address.
This is actually a Bronze winner in the Ambient category, but it sure seemed like a smart media idea to us: The doors of an elevator show a man’s hands about to unbutton his shirt; when the doors open, the iconic Superman symbol dominates a movie poster at the back of the elevator.
Cannes Quote, Er Plagiarism, Of The Week: We were going to give kudos to one media executive who dropped the witty and insightful phrase, “The deer now have guns,” during his seminar presentation, to metaphorically compare the challenges facing advertisers today. But a quick Google search revealed the saying originated in an essay from the Web researcher Gordon Borrell, so we’ll give the shout-out to a guy who isn’t even here instead of the guy who didn’t bother to reference it.
Friday promises to be a penultimate sprint towards the finish, with the seminar “Y&R and Al Gore Discuss a Climate in Crisis” – Cannes is probably the only place on the planet where an ad agency would get top billing over a former Vice President – the short-list for Film entries, and the last wave of major parties. People here may be yawning Saturday morning, but it won’t be because they were bored.