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CANNES, FRANCE The Cyber Lions jury awarded three Grand Prix prizes, with jurors describing the winners as vehicles to send a message about the direction of the industry.
Top marks went to Projector Tokyo for "Uniqlock" on behalf of retailer Uniqlo; SOL Comments live banner ads by Mediafront Oslo for Scandinavia Online; and 42 Entertainment in recognition of its alternate reality game Year Zero to promote Nine Inch Nails.
The awards were meant to convey that interactive experiences needed to be just that, said Colleen DeCourcy, the Cyber Lions jury president. In the past, she said, awards have gone to work that does not take full advantage of the unique qualities of the medium, but rather simply used it as an efficient means of distribution.
Projector's effort for Uniqlo was a "beautiful piece of work" that showed the possibilities of combining video with interactivity, DeCourcy said. The application is a twist on the Web clock, using video of young women and catchy music to show time. Mediafront was recognized for turning the often-under-utilized banner space into a two-way communications medium. The shop had copywriters who would display messages in real time and respond to visitors. 42 Entertainment's impressed the jury because of its use of a variety of media, from outdoor to guerrilla to online, and how digital can play a central role of a big idea campaign, jurors said.
It also showed how a campaign could be viral outside of a video clip posted to YouTube, said Michael Lebowitz, CEO of Big Spaceship and a jury member. For that reason, an early favorite, Crispin Porter + Bogusky's "Whopper Freakout," came up short while still earning a gold Lion.
"I love 'Whopper Freakout,'" Lebowitz said. "But to me it's not an idea that's truly and essentially digital."
Overall, DeCourcy said the Cyber entries reflected the changing nature of the industry, as more work was submitted by traditional agencies instead of solely interactive specialists. Much of the work was unimpressive, she said.
"It's a transitional year and an important year for this growing industry," she said.
Small shops fared well compared to big agency networks. The top prizes all went to independents, and the Cyber Agency of the Year was Lean Mean Fighting Machine, a 21-person shop in London. It won four gold Lions, two silver and one bronze. Crispin came in second place.
"It shows you don't need to be a great big organization to do great work," said Sam Ball, creative partner at Lean Mean Fighting Machine.
With the rising profile of digital work at Cannes, festival chairman Terry Savage said there were no plans to move the competition to later in the week, when the focus is on the Film and Titanium categories.
"The reality is we can't put everything on one night," he said.
READ BARBARA LIPPERT'S TAKE ON UNIQLO.
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