Cannes picks from Adweek’s Eleftheria Parpis

By Eleftheria Parpis, Adweek creative editor

Attendance is down and so are the entries, but it goes without saying that fabulous work will be celebrated at this week’s festival. The recession, of course, will temper the show’s over-the-top activities. It’s time to get back to basics-and that means a renewed focus on the work. This year, 11 different juries will consider a total of 22,652 entries (down 20 percent from last year). Here are my five favorites — and why I think they should bring home top prizes.


Campaign: Obama for America

Will the advertising industry’s largest international awards show honor a political campaign with its highest honor? Depends on whether the jury, led by David Droga, founder and creative chairman of Droga5, can put aside politics when reviewing the 403 entries in the Titanium and Integrated competition, and view the case history for what it is: one of the most powerful examples ever of modern brand building.

  “Obama for America” used every available media channel to put a candidate in direct communication with the public, along the way rewriting the rules of political advertising. A rich showcase of engagement, it utilized a Web site and a blog, social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, an iPhone application, videogame advertising — even Barack Obama merchandise — to build an unprecedented grassroots movement that turned a little-known senator from Illinois into a U.S. president and global icon for “change.”

  The campaign won a Grand Clio last month (a gold Clio in Interactive went to the powerful Obama music video, “Yes We Can,” created by Black Eyed Peas’ frontman And Droga5’s hysterically funny call to action for Obama via the Jewish Council for Education and Research, “The Great Schlep,” starring Sarah Silverman, will most likely score in Cannes. But will the insular ad industry give a political campaign its most prestigious award? It would be a daring move that embraced the notion that a great idea can come from anywhere. For more on this pick, click here.

AFTER THE JUMP: predictions for Cyber, Film, Press, Design and Integrated.


Campaign: Burger King, “Whopper Sacrifice”
Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, Miami

Leave it to the agency that created Burger King’s “Subservient chicken” to come up with a Facebook application that flipped the entire social-networking model on its head. Instead of adding friends, BK cheekily set to prove “friendship is strong, but the Whopper is stronger” by asking members of the site to ruthlessly sacrifice their friends in exchange for free Whoppers. For every 10 friends dropped, the fast-food chain gave participants a coupon for a burger. Users also watched “ex”-friends go up in virtual flames. Like much of Crispin’s work for the brand, the application was controversial: Facebook, as a rule, does not alert members who are dropped as friends, but those sacrificed to the “King” were indeed notified. Instead of making any changes to the promotion, however, the client and agency decided to end it. The attention-grabbing effort — one of 2,205 Cyber entries — was flawlessly executed, well timed, and tapped into a latent dissatisfaction with the social network and its liberal use of the word “friend.” To date, “Whopper sacrifice” has amassed a gold One Show Pencil, a gold ADC Cube, a Yellow Pencil from D&AD, a Grand Clio in Interactive and more. As one of the smartest and most inventive coupon promotions I’ve ever seen, a top prize in the Cyber competition would be well deserved.