Creative Briefs

Controversy: Gold Turns to Dust

Gold Lions eluded a few almost-winners at the Cannes Press & Poster competition last week.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty chairman John Hegarty had to do right by his client, Unilever, and comply with its re quest to decline a gold for “Com mu nion,” the controversial Lipton Recipe Secrets ad. It’s one of four (all of which were short-listed) in the campaign aimed at young urban males. A 20-something guy in line to receive a communion wafer looks on with a smirk and a heaping bowl of dip. There’s no copy, only a shot of the package in the lower right corner.

By the time Hegarty was notified of the win however, Lipton parent Unilever was facing criticism from Catholic leaders in the U.S. The New York Post, among others, reported that Catholics found the ad demeaning and a “mockery” of their faith. In response, a Uni lever representative apologized and said the ad would never run again. Fearing that any award, let alone a gold, would fan the flames, the company asked BBH to forego the honor.

Hegarty would have loved to add a gold to the silver that his New York office won for two print ads in its nontraditional-family campaign for Lipton Sizzle & Stir. Still, he respected Lipton’s wishes. “They’ve been a very good client for us,” he says.

Separately, the Press & Poster jury, led by Bob Isherwood of Saatchi & Saatchi, pulled would-be Gold Lion-winning ads from Spain and Germany. Isherwood would not identify the clients or agencies involved, ex plaining only that the work, which had not run in any media, was in violation of the festival’s rules.

The Buzz on Lions and Loos

CANNES, FRANCE—The intensity of competition, toilet envy and equal rights for bears were topics that inspired colorful comments at the International Advertising Festival here last week.

“We’re trying desperately to beat BBDO, and so far we lead,” said Keith Reinhard, CEO of sister Omnicom shop DDB, on Wednesday. “They’re not big on integration and all the various disciplines. Jean Michel Goudard [president of BBDO International] told me, ‘At BBDO, it’s the work, the work, the work.’ So after the Print & Poster competition, when we won 12 awards and they won 11, I said to him, ‘It’s 12-11, Jean Michel. The work, the work, the work!’ ”

During a seminar on “Humanity in Advertising,” the always entertaining Joe Pytka explained how he tried in vain to “screw up” the assignments he got from Leo Burnett because he considered them too sweet and heartfelt, the sort of thing that Disney and Hallmark commercials are made of. Before showing the spots, he qualified his remarks with, “These are the kinds of overtly sentimental commercials that Europeans don’t like. There’s a lot of bathroom humor in European commercials, which we don’t like, either. But then again, our bathrooms are better than yours.”

Throughout the week, delegates were buzzing about another Leo Bur nett spot, the John West salmon ad out of its London office. Un aware that bear humor apparently doesn’t go down well in Iceland, Geoff Thompson of FCB featured the spot in his seminar “How to Look at a Reel.” Two directors on the panel protested. “There’s a responsibility we in the media have,” said Stefan Arni and Siggi Kinski of Gus-Gus. “We’ve already been treating animals so badly that it’s unfair to kick a bear in the balls. We need more respect for the bears.”

Winners in Print, Cyber and Media

After three hours of deadlock and several votes, the Cannes Press & Poster jury awarded its Grand Prix to Paradiset DDB, Stockholm, Sweden, for a Diesel campaign featuring a mock newspaper called The Daily African. Irony-filled reports de scribe a world in which Africa, the global economic leader, sends aid to Europe.

Arnold in Boston was the runner-up for its Volkswagen New Beetle campaign that shows the car stealing the spotlight from various attention-getting images.

The jury’s votes for Die sel repeatedly came up 12 to 9 (juror Bjorn Rietz of Paradiset had to abstain). The im passe was resolved only after the group agreed to bypass the festival’s two-thirds-majority rule.

The U.S. won five Press & Poster golds, tying with Brazil. The U.K., traditionally a top winner, took only two golds. The other American golds went to Crispin Porter + Bo gus ky, Miami, for a GT Bicycle campaign; Fallon, Minneapolis, for a Sports Illus trated ad; Holland Mark Advertising, Boston, for a Boston Globe ad; and Wieden + Kennedy, New York, for a Nike point-of-purchase poster.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky won the Grand Prix in the media competition for its Florida Anti-Tobacco Pilot Program media plan, featuring a movie-promotion–style campaign.

Three U.S. companies won golds in the cyber Lions contest: Ego Media, New York, for its self-promotional Web site; Modem Me dia, Norwalk, Conn., for its Weightwatchers program; and TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, for its Doctors Without Borders campaign.