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Burnett Predicts Cannes Winners

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NEW YORK Will the contest for the International Advertising Festival at Cannes' Film Grand Prix be a tight race between PlayStation 2's "Mountain" and Soken's "Kill Bill Kill Bill" from Thailand?

That is one potential scenario from Mark Tutssel, vice chairman and deputy chief creative officer at Leo Burnett, on the Cannes predictions reel released by the Chicago-based agency last week. Tutssel is a member of Burnett's global product committee that produces the Cannes reel, which has been distributed since 1987.

There's not one standout entry this year, Tutssel said. "We don't really have a John West 'Bear' or a 'Cog'—one that's head and shoulders above the rest," he said.

"Mountain," which shows a mass of people, each vying to reach the top of the pile, could win if the jury, under jury president Piyush Pandey, group president and national creative director of WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather in Mumbai, India, is searching for something "epic," Tutssel said.

"Kill Bill Kill Bill," on the other hand, "is a great product demo done in a hugely entertaining way," so it might also take the top prize, Tutssel said. The spot, by the Euro RSCG agency in Bangkok, Thailand, shows an office worker freezing and repeating words, much like poor-quality DVDs, as he tries to describe the movie Kill Bill.

The reel of 50 spots includes lesser-known international work, like the Soken ad, as well as this season's award-show favorites. Those include Honda U.K.'s "Cog" follow-up, "Sense," showing lights, TVs and other devices that switch off when not in use, and "Everyday," with close-ups of common objects used by people on a daily basis; "Tractor Beam" and "Gravity Boots" for Sony PlayStation 2's Rachet & Clank, by TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., placing video game weapons in real-life settings; and silouhettes of dancers in Apple Ipod's "Hip-Hop," also by TBWA\C\D.

Tutssel predicted a tight race between the PlayStation 2 "Mountain" from the U.K. and the "Traktor Beam" and "Gravity Boots" spots from the U.S. in the entertainment category, but said that Burnett in Chicago's "School's Out," for Nintendo, showing children turning into Super Mario characters, could also do well.

As far as sports commercials, Tutssel commended Nike's "Musical Chairs," by Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which shows people at basketball game playing the children's game. Because it's a sequel to the 2002 Grand Prix winner "Play," however, Tutssel said the jury might not consider it for the top prize.

"It's still a very good spot," he said. "It takes the idea of 'play' to the next level."

Beginning in December, Tutssel, along with Burnett worldwide chief creative officer Miguel Angel Furones, began contacting some 40 Burnett regional creative directors about what spots were doing well in awards shows or generating a lot of buzz. As the year progressed, they noted the winners at the D&AD Awards, the Andys and The One Show, among other major competitions. They pooled this data to compile their list of 50 spots.

"There's a lot of good work, but how much great work there is remains to be seen," Tutssel said. "It's a credible year, but not a vintage year."