‘Crazy’ at the Clios

TV back in spotlight with CP+B’s ‘Lamp’ coup

When TV and radio juror Chuck Porter, chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami, took the stage at the 44th annual Clio television and radio ceremony last week to present one of the gold honors, he joked that he had seen the ads so many times, he even knew the dialogue to Fallon’s eight-minute John Woo film for BMW, “The Hostage.” “We’re working on a nine-and-a-half-minute spot,” he said. “Of course, our dream is to do a two-day spot.”

Yet it was a 60-second spot, “Lamp” for Ikea, that gave CP+B the Grand Clio in television, a contrast to last year’s competition, when Fallon’s first BMW Films dominated the show and no television Grand Clio was awarded. This year the Minneapolis-based agency’s second round of Internet shorts won four gold honors at the Miami Beach, Fla., festival.

Part of the “Unböring” campaign that launched last September, the Spike Jonze-directed “Lamp” is shot from the lamp’s point of view as it gets discarded in the rain after its owner finds an Ikea replacement. A Swedish man faces the camera and tells viewers: “Many of you feel bad for this lamp. That is because you are crazy. It has no feelings.”

“There was a lot of discussion about the whole Ikea campaign,” said TV and radio jury chairman Bob Scarpelli, U.S. chief creative officer of DDB in Chicago. “We agreed that it plays with your emotions and perception the way few commercials do. You feel uneasy when you see it—that’s great. It makes you think.”

Noted Porter: “It’s amazing, because I’ve heard more anecdotes about that spot than most spots—people calling friends across the country and saying, ‘I just saw this unbelievable ad.’ It really resonates.”

The comic insight—that people get so attached to trivial items—is “surprising and relevant,” said TV and radio juror Dion Hughes, partner and cd at Dion&Mark, Minneapolis. “The fact that an American advertiser can get away with calling its audience crazy pushes it over the top for me.”

Humor also drives Grand Clio winner “Real Men of Genius,” DDB Chicago’s Bud Light radio campaign, which won for the second year in a row. The print jury, however, awarded no top honor in that competition.

“The TV work was far stronger [than the print],” said TV and radio juror Mark Tutssel, vice chairman, deputy chief creative officer at Leo Burnett in Chicago. He noted that Publicis worldwide creative director David Droga, print and poster jury chairman, was a demanding jury leader. “Droga sets a new standard in the industry,” he said. “He raises the bar.”

Droga said seeing the TV and radio Grand Clios, which he called “inspiring stuff,” reinforced his jury’s decision not to award a Grand Clio. International efforts dominated the print contest, with TBWA\Paris taking home two golds and BMP DDB in London taking one.

“Real Men of Genius” drew huge laughs from the 450-person TV and radio gala audience. The spots are tongue-in-cheek homages to eccentrics such as “Mr. Tiny Thong Bikini Wearer,” “Mr. Beach Metal Detector Guy” and “Mr. Handlebar Moustache Wearer.” Those spots won all three gold awards given to radio; another three spots from the same campaign won four silvers.

The creatives behind the 17-month-old campaign, which consists of about 100 ads, have a slew of fresh spots in the works. DDB creative director Mark Gross stopped dancing in the aisles after the ceremony long enough to note: “We just finished 26 new ones.”

The agency won the most Clios among U.S. contenders, 24, and also picked up Agency of the Year and Network of the Year awards. Fallon in Minneapolis took home 19 Clios. The number of Clios awarded was flat from last year at 281. The U.S. won the most, 112.

One other Grand Clio was awarded, in design, to Happy Forsman & Bodenfors in Göteborg, Sweden, for a Color Book brochure that features subtle gradations of color. “It showed simplicity and restraint,” said jury chairman Neil Powell of Powell in New York.

Neil French, former Ogilvy & Mather worldwide creative director, received a lifetime achievement award during the print ceremony. The presentation featured video tributes from several creatives, including Jeff Goodby of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. Goodby’s video showed standout words the copywriter has used over the years, including “whombus,” “fusillade” and even “butt crack.” “I didn’t know this was going to turn into a roast,” protested French, who took issue with one description on stage: “I never used ‘mountain fresh.’ “

Hall of Fame honors went to BMP DDB in London’s Volkswagen campaign and Goodby’s Chevy’s Fresh-Mex restaurant campaign.

At the end of the ceremony, Andrew Jaffe announced he is concluding his six-year tenure as executive chair of the show. He said he plans to start an advertising consultancy and that he is parting amicably with Clio owner VNU (parent company of Adweek).