LIVE FROM CANNES Short list heats up Film jury, Nike on ropes

Latest Cannes Headlines
Short list heats up Film jury, Nike on ropes
Crispin Porter + Bogusky Wins Media Lion
Levin Sees Tech-Driven ‘Golden Age’
Diesel Campaign Wins Press & Poster
Our Grand Prix Pick

Short List Heats Up Film Jury, Nike on Ropes

CANNES-After six days of deliberations, the 22-member film jury narrowed down the list of 6,117 film entries to a shortlist of 546 commercials.

The environment in the jury room, report sources, had been relatively uncontentious up until Friday. But on the last day of deliberation, with five gold contenders still in the running for the Grand Prix, the room quickly turned into what one source described as “quite the sporting event.”

Though the John West Red Salmon spot, “Bear,” out of Leo Burnett, London, was still considered a front-runner for the top prize, one juror argued that a kick in the balls is “an easy trick.” A favored spot from the U.S., Nike “Freestyle” out of Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, received so little support in the jury room that it had to be forced on the shortlist.

By the end, the five top contenders for the Grand Prix,, according to one of the judges, were, VW “Ransom,” Levi’s Engineered Jeans’ “Twist” from BBH/London, L.A Dodgers , from WongDoody, L:A; Fox Sports from Cliff Freeman and Partners, and John West Salmon, from Leo Burnett UK.

The U.S. has a total of 189 spots on the shortlist in what was seen as a year with some solid work but few creative breakthroughs.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky Snares Media Lion

CANNES-Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami, won the Grand Prix in the Media Lions competition at the 48th International Advertising Festival here for its Florida Anti-Tobacco Pilot Program media plan featuring a movie trailer-style ad campaign.

Designed to look like a movie promotion rather than a traditional commercial or outdoor ad, “Secrets of a Tobacco Executive” was placed in movie theaters, on buses and transit shelters.

The contest for the Grand Prix was “very, very close,” said Media Jury president Chris Ingram, chairman of London’s Tempus Group. The debate came down to the anti-tobacco campaign, a Minties campaign from DDB Auckland, New Zealand, and a Nintendo campaign from Starcom in Chicago. Both won Lions.

Ingram commended the clever use of media in the promotion. “The game was to trick the consumer to relax and think it was a movie,” said Ingram. A shorter version of the spot also aired in video outlets. For Minties, DDB Auckland used the time delay of local sports broadcasts to cut “Minties Message” spots using bloopers from the game.

Starcom targeted college males for a Nintendo video game featuring Conker the frisky squirrel with “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” media placed on school campuses, fraternity houses, bars, urinals and condoms. One illustrated image shows the squirrel nestled between a woman’s breasts. The campaign won two Lions, one for the best use of mixed media and another in the category targeting men.

In addition to the Grand Prix, the jury awarded 15 Lions, with four Lions going to U.S. agencies. Team One Advertising, Los Angeles, won for an online effort for Lexus, which allowed visitors to the site to create and send their own TV spots. Mediacom, New York, won a lion for best use of sponsorship for its Reebok product placements and tie-ins with on reality-based TV show “Survivor.” The winners were chosen from 643 entries.

— Elefteheria Parpis

Levin Sees Tech-Driven ‘Golden Age’

As new technology becomes prevalent, advertisers must think of innovative ways to spend their media dollars, Gerald Levin, CEO of AOL Time Warner, said at a press conference Wednesday.

“Increasingly, there’s an opportunity for marketers to reach an audience in ways that go beyond traditional advertising,” Levin said.

Levin, one of the leading forces behind the mega-media merger between AOL and Time Warner, was named Media of the Man of the Year at a ceremony here last night. The Media Lions Awards Ceremony also honored excellence in media strategy planning and execution (see related story).

The Internet, personal video recorders, video on demand and wireless applications will force advertisers to re-think their media planning and buying, Levin iterated. “Media buying is changing simply because there are so many different platforms,” he said. Agencies and media buyers should act as a “creative third party element to drive interesting expenditures across the board,” he continued. Levin called for young, creative people, who understand consumer behavior and what technology makes available, to push the envelope.

“This is a time for young people to use their creativity,” he said, adding that “this is probably the beginning of the golden age of advertising and marketing.” AOL Time Warner boasts 133 million subscribers across its Internet, publishing and cable properties. Despite the current economy, the CEO said he’s optimistic about the company, which derives much revenue from advertising, going forward.

— Ann M. Mack

Diesel Campaign Wins Press & Poster

CANNES — Paradiset DDB in Stockholm won the Grand Prix in the Press & Poster show at the 48th International Advertising Festival here for a Diesel campaign featuring the front page of a mock newspaper called “The African Union.” Irony-filled headlines describe a world in which Africa is its cultural and economic center–such as “African expedition to explore unknown Europe by foot.” The newspaper stories are superimposed over pictures of people wearing the Italian company’s jeans and accessories.

The 22-member Press & Poster jury, led by jury president Bob Isherwood of Saatchi & Saatchi, came to the decision late Monday night after much deliberation and only after the jury voted several times in order to break a deadlock between the Diesel campaign and a U.S. campaign for the Volkswagen New Beetle out of Arnold in Boston, that took home a gold. The VW campaign features images that would normally captivate a viewer, such as a beautiful model wearing only lettuce leaves or a man blanketed by bees, if only the New Beetle wasn’t nearby.

“We had two fantastic Grand Prix campaigns on the floor,” said Isherwood. “We were totally locked for many hours.” The jury remained at an impasse for three hours. Although the votes for the Diesel campaign repeatedly came up 12 to 9 (Juror Bjorn Rietz of Paradiset had to abstain from voting), it was only after the group voted on changing the festival’s two-third majority rule that the effort for the fashion company was awarded the Grand Prix.

“The argument for Diesel was not only have they built a brand that is more powerful than Levi’s in most of Europe, they’re about advertising that makes the world a better place,” said U.S. judge Alex Bogusky, vice chairman and creative director of Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami, explaining that the ads not only sell the products in a fresh manner, but engage consumers to think and possibly behave differently. “The jurors are sending a message this has pushed us to a slightly newer place.” “It is a little edgier,” added juror Ashok Kurien, chairman of Ambience D’arcy, India, of Diesel, which also won the Grand Prix in film in 1997. “It takes a lot more nerve. Yet it does everything that an ad needs to do.”

Paradiset’s Grand Prix winning campaign broke in February this year, the same month Diesel’s pan-European account review ended, relocating it to KesselsKramer in Amsterdam.

Though Arnold lost the Grand Prix by a slight margin, U.S. agencies won five Gold, three Silver and six Bronze Lions.

In addition to Arnold, the U.S. gold winners were Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami, for a GT Bicycles campaign highlighting the product’s speed; Fallon, Minneapolis, for Sports Illustrated “Career Path;” Holland Mark Advertising, Boston, for Boston Globe “MLK;” and Wieden + Kennedy, New York, for Nike point of purchase poster “Bathrooms.”

Silver Lions went to Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, for its Lipton Sizzle & Stir campaign, “The T’s” and “The Woolery’s;” Crispin Porter + Bogusky for GT “Security Camera” and Fallon, Minneapolis, for Sports Illustrated “He Knows.”

Bronze went Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, for Harley-Davidson “Shotgun;” GMO Hill Holliday, San Francisco, for a National D-Day Museum campaign, “Little Black Box,” “Kansas Farm Boy” and “The Longest Day;” Hill Holliday Connors Cosmopulos, Boston, for Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities “Smarter Bombs;” J. Walter Thompson, New York, for DeBeers “Smelly-Socked Romantic;” TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, for Absolut Vodka “Absolut LA;” and Wieden + Kennedy, New York, for Nike “Bathrooms;” in the clothing category.

The Cyber Lions were also presented at the same ceremony on Tuesday night, awarding a Grand Prix to a Nike e-commerce web site from Critical Mass, Calgary, Canada, and a Grand Prix to a beyond-the-banner ad for Milko Fjallfil Dairy Products out of FarFar, Stockholm, Sweden. Both Grand Prix winners in the fourth Cyber Lions competition at Cannes featured extensive consumer participation. The Nike site allows customers to create and custom-order their shoes, while Milko allows visitors to create and send their own Milko-branded video emails.

The U.S. gold winners were Ego Media, New York, for its corporate website; Modem Media, Norwalk, for Weight Watchers and TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, for a Doctors Without Borders simple banner campaign. Silver Lions went to AKA Euro RSCG Interaction, San Francisco, for Ensenda; The Velodea Group, Culver City, Calif., for Paramount Pictures’ Enemy of the Gates; PopNYC, New York for the Cartoon Network and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Freestyle Interactive, both San Francisco, for a Hewlett-Packard rich media banner.

Bronze Lions were awarded to The Concept Farm, New York, for its corporate site; Chemistri, Chicago for a United States Army basic training brand promotion; TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, for an Absolut Lifestyle Spirit campaign and Ogilvy Interactive, which won two Bronze Lions, for the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the non-profit category and an IBM rich media banner for e-Business Hosting.

There were 1,471 entries in the Cyber Lions this year and 10, 782 in Press & Poster.

My Grand Prix Prediction

Very few commercials capture my attention the way Wieden + Kennedy’s 60-second “Freestyle” has.

The spot opens with a simple pass of the ball, the way most basketball games do. But then this elementary image gives way to a hypnotic cres cendo of movement and rhythm. Each player dribbles, dances, spins and bops to a subtle hip-hop beat and the rhythms of the game. The players themselves—the thump of their basketball, the squeaks of their rubber soles, and the grunts of their passes and their fouls—provide the musical accents.

It is no ordinary game on no ordinary court. A stark black backdrop and onyxlike metallic floors replace the customary fluorescent lighting and hardwood. It’s the perfect stage for the players’ every flex, jump and dunk. The contrast, combined with the overhead lighting, accentuates their muscular forms, while the floor reflects their agile movements. The rhythm builds.

Most of the shots feature single athletes performing their hip-hop–inspired riffs, but then a traditional break-dance circle surrounds one of the players as he spins on his head. The track finally breaks with a rim-clinging slam dunk. A lone figure runs into the distance as a ball bounces alone on the court and the Nike swoosh pops up in the corner of the screen.

It’s another slam dunk for Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and a spot worthy of the Grand Prix this year. It’s beautifully choreographed and graceful in every way. And you can see the effort that was put into it.

The agency recruited an all-star cast of on-screen and off-screen talent to produce the virtually flawless tribute to the game. Vince Carter of the Toronto Raptors, Ra sheed Wallace of the Portland Trailblazers, Jason Williams of the Sacramento Kings, and Darius Miles and Lamar Odom from the Los Angeles Clippers are joined by street-ball players from New York and Los Angeles. (For hip-hop and basketball aficionados, the two-and-a-half-minute version, which airs on MTV, is a must. It’s even more dazzling than the original and can be found on Nike’s basketball Web site.)

To put the players in motion, the agency hired Savion Glover, the Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk Tony-winning choreographer and dancer. For the classic hip-hop rhythm that forms the spot’s underlying track, the agency went right to the “godfather of hip-hop,” Afrika Bambaataa (the New York DJ who transformed dance music with his 1982 electro-funk hit “Planet Rock”).

With Glover coaching and “Planet Rock” piping into the studio, the athletes matched their freestyle moves to the electronic beat. Music-video director Paul Hunter was brought in to di rect. In fact, the look of the spot was inspired in part by his video for D’Angelo’s “Untitled.”

The final track fuses a Bambaataa composition with a track by Jeff El massian of Digihearit, a Los Angeles-based music and sound-design company. Elmassian used his re cordings made during the shoot—of the ball bouncing, sneakers squeaking, whistles blowing and players grunting.

Despite the blatant attempts to disguise the spot as a music video, I can’t help but get caught up in the rhythm. Not since the Globetrotters has such a stylized and en tertaining ode to street ball been brought to the masses via mainstream TV. You don’t have to know the background;or even to really like basketball&;to en joy the commercial. It’s in fectious. I haven’t dribbled a ball since I was forced to in high school, and I’m not particularly a fan of hip-hop. But the spot keeps me riveted. And it makes me want to move. Isn’t that the point of a Nike commercial?