Jurors Take ‘Fun’ Route To Grand Prix

After six days of what jury members described as an “efficient” judging process, TBWA\London’s captivating “Mountain” spot for Sony PlayStation 2 won the film Grand Prix at the International Advertising Festival here.

The 22-member jury, led by Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and national creative director at WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather in India, considered two other gold Lion winners for the top prize: Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius” campaign, which salutes overlooked heroes such as “Mr. Way Too Much Cologne Wearer,” from Omnicom Group’s DDB in Chicago; and a spot for Unilever’s Vim bleach from Zig in Toronto in which a mother-daughter conversation seen through a glass shower door looks like a prison visit.

“It was a fair process, fair discussion—we ended up with a consensus,” said juror Alan Russell, creative director at DDB Canada in Vancouver, of the final two-hour discussion last Friday. “No one was falling on a sword to defend [any spot]. All three were good selections.”

Juror Linda Kaplan Thaler, CEO and chief creative officer at Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York, said the three could have been voted “a Grand Prix, a Grander Grand Prix and the Grandest Grand Prix.”

“Mountain” ultimately triumphed because it is “such a global commercial,” explained Kaplan Thaler. “It is a spot that is instantly understood by every human on the planet. Nations may battle each other, but at home we’re all playing videogames. It’s a great metaphor: We really all want to have fun.” (For more from Kaplan Thaler and three other Cannes jurors, see page 22.)

Directed by Frank Budgen, the 60-second spot follows swarms of urbanites running and trampling over each other to climb onto a growing heap of people, all trying to get to the top; the successful ones enjoy a brief moment of glory at the peak. The tagline: “Fun, anyone?” Set to Shirley Temple’s “Get on Board,” “Mountain” also won the Lion for Excellence in Music.

“[‘Mountain’] was the most memorable and universal,” said juror Gary Goldsmith, chairman and chief creative officer at Interpublic Group’s Lowe in New York. “It is a really nice idea, and the execution is fantastic.”

Pandey said the jury wanted a Grand Prix that represented “a milestone in the advertising of 2004.” “There’s wonderful work from the past, but we didn’t want to live in it,” he said, referring to the Bud work, which began as a radio campaign in 1999 and was translated to TV in 2001 in the U.K. and last year in the U.S.

The U.S. won three gold Lions, down from last year’s six, for “Real Men of Genius,” the FedEx work from Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York and Toyota Tacoma’s “Girlfriend” out of Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi in Torrance, Calif. U.S. shops had 1,177 spots in the competition.

Jurors described Pandey as “fair,” “diplomatic” and “efficient.” “He should work at the U.N.,” said Goldsmith. “He kept everything structured and on course. He is a great leader.”

Pandey said he instructed the jurors to keep the debate positive. “My message was, ‘I don’t want you to criticize; I want you to talk about why you feel something is great,’ ” he said.

A total of 18 gold, 25 silver and 46 bronze Lions out of 5,082 entries were awarded at Saturday’s ceremony at the Palais des Festivals.

After a half-dozen meetings during the week, the four jury presidents decided to withhold the Titanium Lion, added last year to recognize forward-thinking ideas. “There wasn’t something as unique and innovative as BMW Films,” said Cyber jury president Bob Greenberg, chairman and CEO at Interpublic Group’s R/GA in New York, pointing to the Web films that won the inaugural award.

Procter & Gamble, returning for a second year to drink the Cannes creative juice, won a bronze for a Head & Shoulders spot from Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi in Australia. With 65 P&G delegates at Cannes along with clients including McDonald’s and Hewlett-Packard, some attendees were concerned that the festival’s creative focus would be diluted. At a press conference on Thursday, global marketing officer Jim Stengel reassured them that if P&G’s involvement changes the festival in an “unwelcome way, then I will pull back.”

Omnicom’s TBWA\Paris was named Agency of the Year. The Journalists’ Award went to Nike’s “Musical Chairs” out of Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam, and the Palme d’Or went to Hungry Man in New York.

Film jury member Pierre Berville, president of Callegari Berville Grey in Paris, likened “Mountain” to the ad competition itself. “A week ago, we were looking at more than 5,000 commercials,” he said. But just as there is only one king of the mountain, “in the end, there is only one Grand Prix.”