Clemenger BBDO Tops PR Lions With Bank's Breakup Campaign

Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne, Australia, has won the 2011 Grand Prix in PR for an integrated campaign that used the concept of a public breakup to distinguish National Australia Bank from the three other Australian major banks—the ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, and Westpac.

     As part of the campaign, 60 couples publicly broke up in restaurants, bars, and public spaces across Australia on the evening of Valentine's Day. Those breakups were filmed and turned into Web videos. The campaign also extended to press, outdoor, radio, mobile billboards, street teams, street chalking, and helicopter banners. The effort also ambushed execs from the other banks in their offices and elsewhere.

     And, quite wonderfully, on the eve of the campaign, a seemingly errant tweet was sent out from one of NAB's corporate Twitter accounts, referring to a personal breakup—which many figured was a case of a social media writer accidentally tweeting from the wrong account. 

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June 20, 2011, 2:24 PM EDT

McCann Romania Wins 2 Grand Prix, in Promo and Direct Agency riled the country by Americanizing a local candy bar

McCann Erickson's Bucharest office has won the first two Grand Prix of the 2011 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity—in the Promo & Activation and Direct contests—for a sneaky campaign in which it replaced the familiar Romanian flag on the local ROM candy bar with an American flag, sending a country into panic.

     The hoax was widespread and elaborate. The packaging was changed first, reinforced by promo activity and advertising that pointed to a microsite and the brand's Facebook page. Angry Romanians began stockpiling the old ROM bars with the Romanian flag. The second phase of the campaign revealed the deception and celebrated Romanians' newly discovered patriotism.

     Anti-American sentiment—often a big winner in France. 

June 20, 2011, 1:29 PM EDT

Is Cannes Really a Tech Conference? Digital is front and center

My Father’s Day cards are mixed in with my Cannes programs and guides. The vague aches and delirium of flying though the night from JFK strapped into a middle seat in coach have been swiftly swept away by a breakneck taxi ride from Nice to Cannes and super strong Café Americain under the city’s tall palms.

Cannes. My first trip to the big ad show. My initial impressions—other than the tang of salt air mixed with the retro sensation of cigarette smoke in restaurants—is that this show has a lot more to do with tech than advertising.

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June 20, 2011, 10:40 AM EDT

Shortlists Unveiled in Press, Outdoor, Media, and 4 Other Categories

Click through to browse the shortlists in the following categories:
Direct Lions
Promo & Activation Lions
PR Lions
Outdoor Lions
Media Lions
Radio Lions
Press Lions

June 20, 2011, 9:42 AM EDT

Huffington Post to Expand to France and Brazil And where else? The audience wants to know

     Since late May, when the AOL Huffington Post Media Group launched Huffington Post Canada, international audiences have been speculating as to just how far the news site intends to expand. The U.K. edition, announced in March, will be out July 6, Huffington said during AOL’s presentation at Cannes Lions. In addition, Huffington announced forthcoming launches for France and Brazil.

     The audience at the Palais was eager to know just how far Huffington intended to take things. Will there be a HuffPost Italy? one asked. When will HuffPost come to Eastern Europe? asked another.

     Huffington, seemingly aware of the torrent of interest she’d unleashed, advised inquiring minds to send her an email (something she had given out as a sort of invitation to blog for her site, presumably for free).

     Huffington was joined on stage by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who said that on Tuesday AOL would announce the findings from their recent research into how consumers use and interact with websites and online advertising. More on that announcement tomorrow. 

June 20, 2011, 9:41 AM EDT

Malcolm Gladwell Draws a Crowd, a Conclusion 'More tweaking, less innovating'

     New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell drew huge crowds Monday morning, filling up two large auditoriums at the Palais for his keynote address, sponsored by Kraft Foods. Weaving together a comparison of military innovations in the Soviet Union, the United States, and Israel with the story of Steve Jobs' famous visit to Xerox Park—and a fierce, evangelical confidence in the validity of his ideas—Gladwell attempted to convince the audience that it was not innovators but “tweakers and implementers” who turn great ideas into successful businesses.

     Steve Jobs had become successful not by being early but by being late, by adapting the ideas of others to benefit consumers, Gladwell said. Think of Google, which did not invent search. Or Facebook, which did not invent the social network. His conclusion: We should put less emphasis on innovation, more emphasis on tweaking and implementation. “We need to be Israel,” he said, returning to the initial idea that Israel had made the greatest use of Russian and American revolutions in military affairs.

     As was to be expected, Gladwell’s talk was met with awe and appreciation in some quarters, criticism in others. “That Malcolm Gladwell is a hell of an implementer,” Zach Rodgers, managing editor of marketing news website ClickZ, wrote on Twitter during the address. “He’s his own best case study, a master at being 1st by being 3rd.”

June 20, 2011, 7:05 AM EDT

A (Relatively) Calm First Night in Cannes On the Boulevard Croisette

     Cannes was quiet on Sunday night. At just 2:30 a.m., roughly 150 people crowded around 72 Croisette, the infamous Gutter Bar opposite the art deco Hotel Martinez. Girls in purple Yahoo shirts ran around cleaning up drinks. A glass broke, on occasion. A few sprays of beer, once. An accidental cigarette burn to the sleeve of a stranger’s shirt.

     The week was still very young. Delegates seemed eager to mingle, but cautious. Dallas was still talking to Detroit, London to London, and so on. They stumbled in packs, in agencies, primarily American and European. Where were the Brazilian delegates, with over 360 companies in attendance this year? Where, too, those from East Asia? And where, of course, the CEOs and celebrities who could be seen having dinner in the grand hotels along the Croisette?

     Across the bay, a few yachts flickered in the dark, but no music. The hotel roofs were silent. A delegate stumbled by: “I have cocaine!” “No,” he corrected himself, rather forlornly: “I need cocaine.” Another glass broke. A purple spotlight ran the length of the boulevard with stubborn inconsistency. But you could still hear yourself think, still hear the waves on the beach (a rogue swimmer, out for a drunken dip). This, one assumed, was as quiet as Cannes Lions would get.

June 19, 2011, 10:45 PM EDT

The Jonas Brothers' Venn Diagram Or, Celebrity Still Sells

     imc2 brought back the beloved Venn diagram on Sunday. "Gone is the consumer era where we dictated messages to the masses," went the program's description of imc2's panel. "Now we are in the relationship era, the Venn era of locating and cultivating common ground." That, at least, was the conceit used to justify the presence on stage of Nick Jonas, star musician of the Jonas Brothers. He may have nothing to do with Swedish art directors, "but now check out the Venn intersection of the Jonas Brothers and girls aged 7 to 14. The overlap is whopping. Now tell those girls you’re going to spend the morning with Nick Jonas. The next thing you will hear is eardrum-piercing shrieks. And, in an instant, you will have miraculously been rendered cool."

     Spending the afternoon with Nick Jonas at the Palais, there were no ear-piercing shrieks, and no girls aged 7 to 14. Instead, Jonas' Venn diagram seemed to overlap most significantly with the three or four photographers who charged to the foot of the stage and clicked away rapidly throughout the panel (only slightly awkward for the others). The audience, meanwhile, was more or less silent, and certainly more interested in what Mashable CTO Frederick Townes and imc2 CMO Ian Wolfman had to say. But the theater was full. Proof, perhaps, that the Venn intersection works after all. Or, more likely, that celebrities draw consumers. Who knew? A clip, from the folks at Cannes Lions:

June 19, 2011, 6:06 PM EDT

Ali Ali's Creative Lament The founder of Elephant Cairo want to push things forward

     Ali Ali’s Egyptian creative boutique Elephant Cairo has had quite a few successes to date—from Google to Coca-Cola to, most beloved of all, the “Never Say No to Panda” series, an Egyptian cheese commercial that went viral last year. So the creative director’s presentation at Cannes Lions Independent Agency Showcase on Sunday won quite a few hearts and minds among the audience, who seemed to love each Elephant campaign video more than the last.

     But Ali had quite a few criticisms for the state of his industry. It wasn’t just his conviction that big agencies were, almost categorically, “dinosaurs” restricting the creative imagination. It was that even the smaller, independent agencies had lost their edge."I remember coming to Cannes in 2003, and things were just a lot funner back then," he said. "Today it's a lot of talk about digital and social media, and every seminar starts to sound the same."

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June 19, 2011, 2:54 PM EDT

Item: From HBO's Voyeur to the Old Spice Guy An unforeseen sell

     A small item from what Adweek was reading on the plane here: In 2008, BBDO’s campaign for HBO, called “Voyeur,” won ten Lions, including the Grand Prix for an integrated promotional campaign. The campaign, which featured a series of synchronized short films depicting various narratives in one apartment building, “was essentially content itself,” James Othmer noted in his book, Ad Land. When Othmer sat down with Courtney Monroe, HBO’s EVP of consumer marketing, she conceded as much: “She also agreed that it helps to have your very own network… as a media platform,” Othmer wrote, “and that selling entertaining content is easier than selling the benefits of a deodorant stick.”

     Coincidence, irony, or indication of the changes in the advertising game: Two years later, in 2010, Weiden + Kennedy won the film Grand Prix for Old Spice, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.”

June 19, 2011, 5:43 AM EDT