Lion Roars For Arnold, VW

Hub Shop Wins Top Print Prize at International Fete
CANNES, France–Ron Lawner has a new- found respect for awards. The chief creative officer of Arnold Communications last week accepted the top prize in the Press & Poster competition at the 45th International Advertising Festival here when the shop won the coveted Grand Prix for its minimalist Volkswagen Beetle launch campaign.
Arnold was not the only Boston-based agency to earn accolades at the industry’s most revered show. Holland Mark Martin Edmund won a bronze Lion for the Massachusetts tourism campaign that urges readers to “Take a real vacation.” Holland Mark creative director Bob Minihan said he was “thrilled” to have received recognition for work that positions the Bay State as an alternative to theme-park vacations. The award was made sweeter, Minihan said, by the fact that the campaign was “a tough, tough sell” to a new client.
Conversely, Volkswagen executives cited the “close team approach” that resulted in the Beetle campaign. “We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Liz Vanzura, marketing and advertising director at Volkswagen in Auburn Hills, Mich. “The Beetle was probably one of the toughest marketing challenges VW has encountered. There was a lot of pressure to make it great.”
That pressure, she admitted, only now intensifies in light of the award show success. Rumors that all or some members of the VW creative team were leaving Arnold to set up their own shop were dismissed by Vanzura, who said there is no better brand to work on than Volkswagen. “Our core creative team is a tight, close-knit team. We have a lot of fun and it shows in the work,” she said.
Members of that team not attending the award show were Lance Jensen and Alan Pafenbach, who remained in Boston to work on, among other things, a city- or site-specific billboard campaign to launch this fall.
The print campaign was singled out from 7,097 entries from 58 countries. The Grand Prix is selected from among the gold Lion winners, of which there were 21 this year. TBWA Chiat/Day’s “Think Different” campaign for Apple Computer, featuring black-and-white portraits saluting “creative geniuses,” won two gold Lions for print and came in a close second to the Beetle work for the Grand Prix. Ironically, Arnold was the only other shop considered by Apple when it moved its account to TBWA Chiat/Day last year.
Lawner, one of the 22 print jurors and the only U.S. representative, said that while the judging experience was wonderful, it became quite nerve-wracking when the Volkswagen campaign emerged as a leading contender for the Grand Prix. Like all jurors, Lawner was forbidden to vote for his own agency’s work, so he was left to pace outside the judging room while the others continued deliberating. “It was very tough for me in the last two hours or so, but it worked out great,” he said. “I’m very happy.”
Lawner, who has long professed a disdain for award shows in general, said during the event last week he was feeling differently toward them now.
Arnold’s Bernbach-inspired Beetle campaign shows the redesigned model against a white backdrop with a single line of copy; for example, “If you sold your soul in the ’80s, here’s your chance to buy it back.”
“It’s a wonderful bridge between the past and the future,” said jury president Jean-Marie Dru, president and chief executive officer of TBWA International. “It talks well to each generation.”
Print juror Robert Campbell, a creative partner at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe in London, applauded the work’s effectiveness. “It made me want to buy the car.”
The only other Boston shop ever to win a Grand Prix was Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, which in 1986 won in the broadcast category for John Hancock’s “Real life, real answers” campaign. Ten years later, Hill, Holliday’s “Insurance for the unexpected. Investments for the opportunities” campaign for Hancock was awarded a silver Lion.
–with Judy Warner