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The 'Evolution' of Advertising

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Cannes, France "Evolution" was the watchword at the 2007 Cannes Lions last week, as 11,000 delegates from the ad industry gathered in the South of France to celebrate creativity and contemplate how the business and the award shows that honor it will evolve in the future.

The Dove viral sensation "Evolution" took top honors in both the Cyber and Film categories, pointing to the colliding worlds of consumer-powered digital distribution and brand building. It's the first time in the festival's history that the same execution won in both categories.

"It's a big idea, beautiful execution and a powerful story for Dove to tell," said Bob Scarpelli, jury president of the Film and Press Lions and chairman and CCO at DDB Worldwide. "We believe in the power and the goodness of the idea."

While the spot's viral history—it began as an Internet video before being shown a limited number of times on TV—wasn't the key factor in the Grand Prix discussion, Scarpelli, who prior to the festival encouraged organizers to recognize viral entries in the Film competition, noted that its viral beginnings were considered.

"The jury thought it was the best advertising in the whole show," added Brazilian judge Celso Loducca, president of Loducca Publicidade in Sao Paulo. "It doesn't matter that it got started on the Internet."

In the double Grand Prix winner, the ad industry has a helpful guidepost to navigate the future where consumers will choose the brand messages they interact with and often power the distribution of. Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto, used time-lapse photography to show the transformation of an average woman into a glamorous billboard model using beauty stylists and Photoshop enhancements. Since Ogilvy uploaded "Evolution" to YouTube last October, it has been watched 3.7 million times.

Dove "Evolution" won out over three more traditional TV spot gold winners in contention for the top Film prize: "I Feel Pretty" for Nike by Weiden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore.; "Paint" for Sony Bravia by Fallon London, in which explosions of color paint rip through an empty apartment building; and "The Power of Wind" for Wind Energy Initiative from Nordpol+, Hamburg, Germany, which visually represents the wind as a giant whose power is misunderstood.

Thor Santisiri, chairman and ecd of TBWA\Thailand, said Dove represents an idea that can travel well beyond the single execution. "It's a bigger idea for a bigger brand," he said. "It's not advertising for a product. It's a huge brand idea."

In total, the Film jury awarded 12 gold Lions, 17 silver and 50 bronze. The U.S. took four gold, six silver and 16 bronze. U.S. gold winners were Coca-Cola's "Videogame" from Wieden + Kennedy in Portland; Volkswagen's "Safe Happens" campaign from Crispin; and Nike's "I Feel Pretty," which won two gold honors, one for best use of music and one in the clothing, footwear and accessories category.

The Titanium and Integrated Lions' jury, led by jury president Alex Bogusky, CCO of MDC's Crispin Porter + Bogusky, awarded the Titanium Grand Prix to Crispin's Burger King-branded Xbox video games. Rather than give them away as a promotional exercise, BK turned them into a revenue generator, charging $3.99 for them. It has sold over 3 million copies.

"Creatives from all over the world will look at it and say, 'I wish I had done that,'" said Titanium and Integrated juror Colleen DeCourcy, chief experience officer at JWT in New York.

The Titanium and Integrated Lions jury also singled out another effort that began with a product enhancement with its Grand Prix choice for Integrated campaign. The top prize went to VegaOlmosPonce in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which helped Unilever not just market its new body spray, Axe 3, but create it. In addition to the top prize, the jury awarded three Titanium and three Integrated Lions.

"If you cook some marketing right into [product development], you can do good things," said Bogusky, who explained that the choices send a signal that the future of marketing communications can be enhanced by greater and earlier collaboration between agencies and their clients.

The festival's other awards competitions honored several entries that moved beyond interruptive messaging to find new ways to engage consumers. Rather than focus on typical online brand sites and initiatives, the Cyber jury sought campaigns that attracted consumers to them and encouraged them to spread the word in the manner of "Evolution."

While Ogilvy used the hopeful message that women need to question society's preconceptions of beauty, "Heidies 15 Minutes of Fame" from FarFar in Stockholm, Sweden, tapped sex appeal and user involvement to attract a following by showing a pair of underwear-clad models staging a "takeover" of diesel.com.

The Cyber jury took an even more radical departure in giving R/GA a Grand Prix for its work on the Nike+ application, which straddles the world of product design and branding. R/GA also won a Titanium Lion for the effort. Tom Eslinger, interactive CCO of Saatchi & Saatchi and Cyber jury president, said Nike+, which links the iPod to a chip inserted in Nike shoes to track and share runs, represents the future face of advertising. R/GA developed the technology that uploads the running data to a social-networking Web site it also built. "It's product design meets viral," said Eslinger.

Many agency executives said the changing nature of media made classifying executions very difficult. In the year-old Promo lions, for example, jury president Geraldo Rocha Azevedo, president of integrated solutions at Neogama BBH in Brazil, said the jury "could not come up with one conclusive definition."

However, nowhere is the blurring of the marketing world more acute than in the Titanium competition, which has been recast several times since it was created four years ago as a way for the festival to award "breakthrough ideas." It was reintroduced as an integrated award in 2005 and revised last year so that the entries were not restricted to a specific number of executions and types of channels used.

Other Titanium Lions included Tap Project, a Unicef effort by Droga5 to raise money for clean drinking water, and "Earth Hour," a Leo Burnett campaign in Sydney, Australia, for the World Wildlife Fund that dramatized energy conservation by encouraging residents of that city to turn off their lights for an hour.

While much of the delegation and jury members acknowledged that the definition of the Titanium and Integrated awards is unsettled, Bogusky noted that the jury is "trying to solve some of the confusion" with the two Grand Prix winners, BK games for innovation—innovation being what then-jury president Dan Wieden in 2003 was originally looking to reward—and Axe 3 for integrated campaign. "Titanium doesn't mean the best, it doesn't mean best of show. It's a sanctuary for these ideas that don't fit anywhere else," he said.

The first Agency Network of the Year award went to BBDO Worldwide. Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, was named Agency of the Year. Smuggler in New York took home the Palme d'Or.