Tropa Grey Gets Buzz, but Fallon Takes Bow

CANNES Clever American stunting trumped Chilean emotionalism for the Grand Prix votes of the media judges at the 50th International Advertising Festival this week. Fallon, Minneapolis, won the top award for its Archipelago campaign in which the electronic stock exchange “opened” each day in unusual places around the country at 7:59 every morning on CNBC.

But the Chilean entry, from Tropa Grey in Santiago, for Carabineros de Chile earned the most enthusiastic reaction, both at the Media Lions award dinner on Wednesday night and at the jury’s presentation to delegates Thursday morning at the Palais des Festivals. The campaign featured a spot of video footage showing a wheelchair-bound man handing out flyers to drivers reminding them to put on their seat belts.

The spot’s ability to deliver a powerful emotional message about seat-belt usage got the most buzz in the jury room this year, several jurors noted. “For me, ‘Wheelchair’ was the Grand Prix,” said juror Marco Zuniga Rodriguez, CEO of Initiative Media Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean and vp, Latin America.

Still, while “Wheelchair” was the favorite of the delegates and many jurors, there was no clear-cut winner in the judging room, recalled jury member Kath Watson, group media director at DDB, Auckland, New Zealand. The Chilean entry could not win over enough supporters and had to settle for gold in the special events/stunts category, while the excellence of Fallon’s effort slowly worked on the judges. The Archipelago campaign “kind of bubbled to the surface” as the best of the 779 entries, Watson said.

The fact that Fallon, a creative shop, not a media agency, took home the Grand Prix also represented a dilemma that tested the judging process almost before it began. “One of the interesting things over the last six days [of judging] was that after about 15 minutes, the juries collapsed [into a discussion about] so many creative agencies” competing in the media category, said jury president Fernando Rodes, CEO of MPG. “We were a little bit divided” over the issue, Rodes said. After “a brief but intense discussion,” the jury decided “it doesn’t matter who did the work,” he said.

“The most creative use of media” was what they were there to judge, not its originators, agreed Initiative’s Zuniga Rodriguez. “In the end, media is going to play a key role anyway in getting the work seen.”