NEC, Nike Honored at Cyber Gala

CANNES, FRANCE A NEC Corp. Web site that created a virtual tree out of consumers’ comments on environmental issues took home the Cyber Grand Prix at the International Ad Festival tonight, as did Nike for an online campaign that used bears to motivate people to run.

The 16-person jury, which reviewed 1,561 entries from 43 countries, awarded 26 gold, 30 silver and 48 bronze Lions at a ceremony at the Palais des Festivals.

“The promise of the Internet and interactive advertising is really in our reel tonight,” said Cyber jury president Bob Greenberg, chairman and CEO at R/GA. “The Internet has really come to a new level as of January of this year.”

On the NEC site, created by the Japanese client’s in-house agency, NEC Media Products in Tokyo, consumers’ comments formed leaves on a tree as soothing music played. The effort, which highlighted the company’s efforts in planting trees in endangered areas, has been sweeping awards shows this season, winning the Grand Clio and One Show Interactive Best of Show in May.

Calling it a “lofty-minded” idea, juror Sasha Kurtz, creative director at Dotglu in New York, said, “You become a part of the tree. You’re planting a part of yourself in the Web site. It was immersive and engaging and beautiful.”

In the Nike campaign from DoubleYou in Barcelona, Spain, bears chase a runner across banners, skyscrapers and other ad units to encourage people to register for the San Silvestri Valenciana race.

“It is used as a metaphor for runners that need to constantly keep pushing themselves to run further and faster,” said Greenberg.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Nike has landed a Cyber Grand Prix. Last year, Framfab of Denmark received the prize for its Nike Panna K.O. effort.

Eight gold winners were in contention for the Grand Prix, said Greenberg, declining to name them. One juror abstained from the vote that determined the Web site winner.

“We came up with two winners that were quite different, but represented the best of the channel,” Greenberg said.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky won a gold and a bronze Lion for Burger King’s Subservient Chicken, a Web site where a man dressed in an elaborate chicken costume follows users’ commands. The MDC Partners-backed Miami shop also got a gold for a Virgin Atlantic campaign that allowed people to bounce on the airline’s flatbeds via a virtual passenger and massage a banner ad.

Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco won a gold for a Hewlett-Packard online execution that lets users arrange a virtual bouquet, and another one for its “Budweiser’s Reject Ads” Web film series, which combines amateurish line drawings with humorous voiceovers to illustrate why an advertising idea would not work. In “Quittin’ Time,” a creative director gets shot down for proposing a commercial that depicts people forgoing beer because they have to work. The San Francisco-based Omnicom Group shop also took a silver for a Discover Card campaign.

Two golds for Napster went to Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco, which created online animated shorts that tell the story of the online music file-sharing service’s cat character.

R/GA won a gold for Nike Lab, a Web site featuring sketches of a dream sequence, and another one for Nike ID, an e-commerce site where consumers can customize their shoes. The New York Interpublic Group shop also earned a silver and two bronzes for its work for the Beaverton, Ore.-based athletic goods giant.

Other U.S. silver winners included Beam in Boston for Mini USA, Digitas in Boston for American Express’ “The Adventures of Seinfeld and Superman,” Publicis Groupe’s Fallon in Minneapolis for the Islands of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, and EVB in San Francisco for Wrigley’s Winterfresh.

Bronzes were awarded to the following U.S. shops: WPP Group’s Ogilvy Interactive in New York for Ameritrade, Publicis’ Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York for Unilever, Pop & Co. in New York for Lego and Digitas in Boston for Saab.