CANNES UPDATE: Nike and Wieden’s “Tag” Takes Top Honors

CANNES, France — Nike’s “Tag”out of Portland, Ore.-based Wieden + Kennedy beat out another spot based on a “Play” theme, the heavily-favored Xbox “Champagne” from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, for the film Grand Prix at the 49th International Advertising Festival here last week.

The commercial, directed by Frank Budgen, features an inventive game of tag set to a driving techno-beat. A young man, wearing Nike sneakers, naturally, is seen running after and hiding from other urbanites joining in the game.

In addition to Xbox, three other gold lion winners were favorites in the jury room and, in the early hours of deliberations on Friday, got enough votes to be considered Grand Prix worthy. Those contenders were: Levi”s “Odyssey” from BBH London which features a couple crashing through walls; Reebok’s “Sofa” from Lowe, London, showing a man trying to escape his grip of his couch which has come to life, and a Fox Sports campaign out of TBWA\Chiat\Day, San Francisco, that warns “Beware of things made in October.”

In three executions touting Major League Baseball (titled “Leaf Blower,” “Nail Gun” and “Boat”), various types of machinery malfunction because factory workers were distracted by the games. The Xbox commercial, featuring the tagline “Life is short. Play more.” follows the flight of a baby that torpedoes straight out of womb and crashes into a grave as a withered old man.

“If any of the four were picked for a Grand Prix I would have been happy,” said jury president Jeff Goodby of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. “The four or five best things (in this year show) are as good as any year.”