Cyber Screenings

For 15 jurors from 13 countries to reach a consensus is challenging enough. Add the fact that interactive advertising is still in its formative years and the task seems downright impossible. “It’s hard to say what the best is when no one agrees what the role of interactive advertising is,” says Carla Hendra, president of OgilvyOne North America and president of the Cyber Lions jury. “It becomes very subjective.”

Is it about branding? Direct marketing? Personalization? Information gathering? Or a combination? Hendra, who feels that interactive advertising is both a brand builder and a direct-marketing tool, doesn’t feign to have the answers. She does know that the newness breeds creativity, experimentation and innovation. And she looks forward to steering the jury that will award work with those characteristics.

Entries in the category have more than tripled since the debut of the Cyber Lions, from 401 in 1998 to 1,471 this year. Creatively, rich media is now replacing static ads, with streaming audio and video becoming more common. “As sight, sound and motion becomes possible, it’s going to change everything,” Hendra predicts.

OgilvyOne is entering a number of Web sites and online ads from IBM, Jaguar, Kimberly-Clark, Pond’s, Sears and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The agency won a Cyber Lion in 1998 for IBM promotions work and the Grand Prix the following year for an IBM rich-media campaign and “beyond the banner” ads.

So how will the judging play out this year? “I think we’re going to have some pretty good debates,” Hendra says with a laugh.