"Humour, effectiveness"- hallmark of award winning Cannes ads

MUMBAI: "The best press and poster ads in 2003 made us gape in amazement whereas the film ads and TV commercials had us in splits."

This was the general opinion of ad aficionados present at the Ad Club, Bombay's special screening of the 50th Cannes International Advertising Festival, held at Nehru Centre in Mumbai on 12 September.

Indian ad gurus like Piyush Pandey, Prasoon Joshi and Ravi Deshpande were at the function, adding to the 'creatively' charged atmosphere.

The event kicked off with an impromptu voice-over mimicking of Bollywood star Nana Patekar, done by Ad Club's general manager Bipin Pandit, which set the tone for the evening.

Just before the screening began, a token of appreciation was presented to former Ad Club president Pradeep Guha by the current VP Kalpana Rao. The event was courtesy The Times of India, an official representative of the Cannes festival in India.

At the function, Rao also bestowed the Gold Lion award to Ogilvy and Mather India's national creative director and group president Piyush Pandey and McCann Erickson's creative director Prasoon Joshi.

Pandey said, addressing the audience, "If I try to recount the experiences at Cannes in June - especially that of the three 'W's - it would take days. On a serious note, Cannes is a great learning experience; a golden opportunity to mingle with the best in the world - the best talent and the right atmosphere."

McCann's Joshi thanked Ad Club, Bombay, for making him 'relive' the ecstasy of Cannes 2003. "This year, I learnt that all that matters is that you should believe in yourself, your work and have conviction. Earlier, I have heard that to win awards one needs to create a particular type of work called 'Cannes type of work'. We didn't utilise this option but remained true to the brand - Coca Cola India. I also use this opportunity to thank my team members especially photographer Altaf Khan and Akshay."

At the Ad Fest in June

The 50th Cannes International ad fest was a seven-day event in June that encompassed the major facets of the industry across films, outdoors, press, cyber media and direct marketing media. Close to 8,000 key players across 40 countries, congregated at the festival to view the best in international advertising and creativity and attend cutting-edge seminars and network in Cannes.

The competitions showcased the best advertising in the world - around 5,000 commercials, 3,500 outdoor ads, 6,000 print ads, 1,300 websites and online ads, 800 media solutions and 1,200 direct marketing entries.

The winning ads were awarded the highly coveted Gold, Silver and Bronze Lions, and the Grand Prix were reserved for the most outstanding creative work. Other awards included Agency of the Year, Media Person of the Year, Palme d'Or, Journalists' Award, Award for Excellence in Music and the Titanium Award

The Indian advertising fraternity kept the national flag flying high by bagging 15 Lions at the golden jubilee function of the annual fest held in Cannes, south of France, this year.

Memorable ads in the film category

The film jury awarded 38 Gold Lions to spots from all over the world at the 50th Annual Cannes International Advertising Festival. Of the 38 spots awarded, 19 Gold Lions went to the UK, eight to the US and three to Netherlands.

The Titanium Lion, a new award introduced by jury president Dan Wieden, was awarded to Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide and Optimedia New York for their BMW Films project at the festival. The project is a series of action-packed short films entitled, The Hire that are available to download and view on

Honda's Cog by Wieden and Kennedy, Portland, was the most notable spot in the Gold Lion category because it was considered the favourite for the Grand Prix. However, the award was instead bestowed on IKEA's Lamp from Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami.

As for the team, we believes that Honda Cog was the winner by miles.

The winning campaign in the UK's D&AD awards for John Smith's by TBWA London was also present in the Gold Lion category. The Golds went to the spots Diving, Mum, Ball Skills, Monsters and Babies that rely on the blunt humour of British comedian Peter Kay. The John Smith's tagline No Nonsenseis preceded in the spot.

Monsters has Kay assuring his daughter on his cell phone that she should not worry as much about monsters under her bed as about the burglar that can come in through the window.

Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein and Partners was awarded two Gold Lions, one for Grand Prix contender Sheet Metal, a Saturn spot that shows people going about their daily routine without cars.

Goodby Silverstein and Partners, San Francisco's Birthday for California Milk Processor Board's spot for milk got the other Gold Lion. It depicts a creepy little boy who has psychic dreams about a disaster involving a chocolate cake at his birthday party. When the birthday comes, he urges the guests not to eat it soon enough to discover that they are out of milk.

Fish for Johnny Walker by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London, was another Gold Lion winner. A 60-second spot with stunning art direction, it shows sea-dwelling humans evolving to take the first steps out of the ocean. The tagline "Take the first step" ties in with Johnny Walker's "Keep Walking" campaign.

The Nike Stickman campaign from Wieden and Kennedy, Netherlands, was awarded Gold Lions for the three spots Frisbee, Football and Hoops. The spots featured highly skilled players doing special moves with the cartoon stickman.

Nike received seven Cyber Lions in total for its work in four different countries, including one Gold, two Silvers and three Bronze medals., a site in which consumers can learn about the latest performance products, took the Gold. "This is going to become the Nike festival on the cyber side," remarked Cyber jury president Marco Tinelli of Paris agency FullSIX.

Nike won the Grand Prix Lion in the Cyber category for the fourth consecutive year at Cannes. The winning site, Panna KO by Framfab in Denmark, is a site celebrating the annual "Panna" tournament in Amsterdam, where footballers go one-on-one in intense matches. Nike shared the Grand Prix distinction with Volvo who won for their "Volvo Launch Integrated," an Internet launch for the XC90 in Sweden.

The "Nike Festival" continued when Philip Knight, chairman of the board, CEO and co-founder of Nike Inc, received the "Advertiser of the Year" award. He won the award previously in 1994 and will be the first person to win it twice.

Also likeable were the ads that had an Indian orientation - for instance CLM/BBDO, Issy Les Moulineaux Pepsi ad about an Indian elephant trainer being upstaged by a boy with a Pepsi.

The journalist's award went to a Euro RSCG Mezzano Costantini Mignani, Milan ad created for Peugeot 206 that showed an Indian protagonist battering an ambassador to make it look like the latest Peugeot to impress girls.

JWT Bangkok's head-shaking Adams chicklets ad was strikingly familiar to O&M's Center Shock ad in terms of 'shaking' of heads and bodies.

Bartle Bogle Hegarthy Singapore's Unilever Axe ad that showed an apparently hunch-back man carrying his girlfriend (she is glued to him); and a Vegaolmosponce, Buenos Aires, that showed a man spraying Axe on a coat stand to prompt his girl friend to do the 'pole' act.

Others included the TBWA Neboko campaign for Unilever, Bestfoods Amsterdam for Unox sausages that gave a scary glimpse into the future wherein little children use mobile phones during a birthday party to communicate; but make a beeline for sausages.

Memorable ads in press and poster category

* TBWA Paris' Sony Playstation ad in the press travel and leisure category titled Rebirth which showed a woman giving birth and a man's head emerging out.

* Discovery channel's Age of Terror ads created by Hooper Galton (London) that depicted the 9/11 visuals with the tag line "It changed the way we view the world!".

* Saatchi and Saatchi, Madrid, came up with some eerie visuals for Aunacable's New Age spiritual, occult and esoteric channel.

* Contrapunto Madrid showed Agent 007 James Bond with his family (with a tag line "finally someone thought of the family") for financial services company Sanitas.

* JWT Lisbon's fund raising appeal ads for the Salvation Army that cried out "Don't pretend you can't see them!" while pointing to benches in parks and alleys.

* Colenso BBDO Auckland's zebra and sheep ads for EFFEM TWIX. The visuals showed one part of the sheep and zebra being separated while the other part remained - to emphasise "TWIX being a chocolate snack that comes in two parts!". One wonders how the ad didn't have animal activists screaming in disgust.

* Saatchi and Saatchi Hong Kong's Canon ad with the tagline "for the love of photography" - with a forlorn cockroach trapped between two pairs of slippers forming a square.

* MT Rushmore conceived a brilliant ad for Streamlight wherein a flashlight pans objects as well as human faces in one corner of the creative visual against the backdrop of black symbolising darkness.

* Grey Worldwide's Kiwicare showcased the fading vision of a fly on the verge of dying when hit with the Big Bomb mosquito repellent.

* Also Grey Worldwide Belgium's Boots Pharma ad for Clearasil that used the persistence of vision theory; and advocated the use of Clearasil for removing black spots.

* PCB Lisbon's ad for SC Johnson Wax which showed a sleeping man covered by a invisible mosquito net formed by the wax.

* San Paulo-based AlmapBBDO's ad for Pepsi that showed a man in a portrait looking longingly at a Pepsi dispensing machine and saying "I want you".

Also read:

List of award winning ad campaigns at Cannes

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