This was the first time a South Korean agency won the festival's top honor -- and reflects an increasing recognition of media work being created by emerging markets outside Western Europe, the U.S., Japan and Brazil. There were 2,895 entries submitted from more than 67 countries, an increase of 35% over the 2010 Media Lions submissions.
Cheil's campaign created "virtual" versions of the Homeplus stores in North Korean subway stations that were exact replicas of actual stores, including real merchandise Korean commuters could purchase via smartphones, utilizing QR codes, which could be delivered to their homes.
MPG global CEO Maria Luisa Francoli Plaza, who was the 2011 Media Lions jury president, said Cheil's Homeplus campaign was picked unanimously by the judges, following some tough deliberations. But in the end, it proved the most creative and effective idea, transforming commuter waiting time into retail shopping time and boosting Homeplus' online sales by 130%.
Cannes has been awarding Media Lions since 1999, and Francoli Plaza said the surge in 2011 submissions came primarily from new countries entering awards in the competition.
In addition to the Grand Prix, the jury awarded 15 gold, 31 silver and 38 bronze Lions during Tuesday's awards ceremony.
Jung von Matt, Hamburg, Germany, won the Media Lions' "Media Agency of the Year" award, with second place going to Cheil and third place going to Ogilvy Argentina, Buenos Aires.