OMD Tops Media Lions

CANNES, FRANCE OMD took home the Grand Prix and Agency of the Year honors in the Cannes Media Lions competition.

The Omnicom agency’s New Zealand branch took top honors for “Money Goes Digital,” a wide-ranging effort for a mobile cash transfer service by ASB Bank called Pago that leaned on innovative and digital media placements.

OMD in the United States was tapped as Media Agency of the Year, earning a gold and two bronze Lions. In total, OMD won seven Lions.

David Verklin, jury president and CEO of Carat Americas, said the jury was particularly impressed by OMD’s ability to get ASB stickers placed on actual New Zealand banknotes. This scored high in the “inspiration” criteria Verklin laid out for judging.

“Media has become the new creative,” he said in a press conference. “Media has become the place that’s driving innovation.”

Several of the awarded campaigns tapped new digital channels. OMD, for instance, took home a gold Lion for the user-generated commercial campaign it ran for Doritos. The winning ad entry, which cost a mere $12 to make, aired during the Super Bowl.

The jury also awarded Lions to Japanese agencies that used “QR Codes” that scanned a barcode to upload information to cell phones.

“It’s a real example of how the U.S. is behind in mobile,” Verklin said.

But not all of the top media campaigns revolved around digital channels. Nike received a gold Lion for its “Barrio Bonito” campaign that “rebranded” a Buenos Aires neighborhood.

One other factor played a large role: results. Verklin said the jury was unapologetically exacting in insisting that the 1,700 submitted campaigns proved they quantifiably moved a client’s business forward.

“This jury is very commercial,” he said. “We’re in the business of commercial persuasion. If we don’t see market effect, it didn’t win a Lion.”