CANNES, France—The Press Lions competition was sealed with a kiss here tonight, with the Grand Prix going to Benetton's provocative "Unhate" campaign showing world leaders kissing, created by Italian agency Fabrica with help from 72andSunny in Amsterdam.
Three executions in particular were honored—the ones with U.S. president Barack Obama and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez; Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and German chancellor Angela Merkel and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Notable absent was the campaign's most incendiary image—a photo of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a senior Egyptian imam. Benetton pulled that particular ad almost immediately after the campaign broke last November.
The Italian fashion house said the "Unhate" campaign was meant to foster tolerance and "global love," but the arresting images were, of course, much more controversial than that. They did get huge play around the world.
A total of 94 Press Lions were awarded tonight. Three U.S. agencies were honored. BBDO, New York, took home silver for three ads in a campaign for Gillette Odor Shield antiperspirant. Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., won silver for its "Action Hero" and "Rocker" ads for Old Spice Swagger. And Pereira & O'Dell won bronze for its "Blue Brick" ad for Lego.