Y&R Sydney Wins Direct for JB Spots

CANNES Young & Rubicam in Sydney, Australia, won the Direct Grand Prix at the International Ad Festival here tonight for a Jim Beam direct marketing campaign that parodies self-help ads.

A series of radio, TV and print ads, which aimed to position Jim Beam as an alternative to lightweight bourbon and beer, encourages weak men to call 1900-9-JIMBEAM for help. One radio spot, for instance, intervenes with the number after a guy compliments his male friend by saying, “Those pants look really good on you.”

The faux “self-help” line received 39,000 calls in three months and Jim Beam increased its share by 4.3 percent as a result of the effort.

“The campaign shows that you don’t have to be boring to be in direct. You can make an attempt to make a human connection. It was full of humor and full of human connection. I think it will be recalled and continue to perform in the market,” said direct jury president Daniel Morel, chairman and CEO of Wunderman Worldwide in New York. “The response technique was quite cheesy and fun. They didn’t try to hide it. They poked fun of it. It was blatant, strong and powerful.”

The 20-person jury handed out 17 golds, 14 silver and 24 bronze Lions out of 1,123 entries in the second year of the competition at the ceremony held at the Palais des Festivals, which also recognized the Media Lion winners (see related story).

BMW Films from Fallon in Minneapolis was the only U.S. entry out of 117 to take home a Direct Lion, a silver. It was awarded for building traffic to BMWfilms.com for the sequel to “The Hire” through an integrated campaign that mirrored promotional efforts of Hollywood and independent film houses.

Morel attributed the lack of U.S. winners in the direct competition to “less risk taking.”

The U.K. won the most Direct Lions, taking home 11 (five gold), followed by Spain with nine (four gold), Austria with eight (one gold), Germany with seven (one gold) and Brazil with four (two gold).