The Film jury was still deliberating here in Cannes as of Friday afternoon. But even in our world of non-existent attention spans, the buzz ahead of Saturday's Film, Film Craft and Titanium & Integrated Lions seemed to be settling around two longer-form films: "Replay" for Gatorade from TBWA/Chiat Day Los Angeles and "The Man Who Walked Around the World" for Johnnie Walker from Bartle Bogle Hegarty London.
While making it clear he was not offering any predictions, Film jury president Mark Tutssel, worldwide chief creative officer of Leo Burnett, seemed particularly taken with those two. " 'Walking Man' is one of the freshest ideas I've seen," he tells us. "The progressive spirit of the brand, captured in its ongoing story from birth to present day and beyond, is superb. It's a client's dream to talk about itself in a relevant, imaginary, brilliant fashion."
Certainly, the performance of Scottish actor Robert Carlisle during the six-minute walk, as he recounts the history of the brand in one take, is extraordinary. "I think they got it around the 40th take," Tutssel said, "which is a grueling exercise for any actor." He added that it's also a celebration of form following function, as it literally brings the "Keep walking" tagline to life.
Tutssel also pointed to Gatorade's "Replay," a documentary about a team replaying a crucial football game that ended in a tie 15 years earlier, as a huge platform, and a brilliant core idea. "It's an idea that pushes the boundaries of the category," he said. ("Replay" has already won two Grand Prix, in Promo and PR, at this year's festival.)
Given the shorter and shorter formats, will people watch longer films? Tutssel said commercials "don't have a divine right for people's attention. But if the storytelling is brilliant and compelling, like 'Replay,' yes the longer formats will work. It's storytelling at heart that's rewarding to watch."