***FLASH*** – No Canadian wins in Direct or Promo Lions

Disappointing, yes, but with only 170 out of 1,700 entries making the short list, we were in the top 10% of the best work in the world.

It was not a golden day for Canada on Day 2 of the Cannes Lions ad festival. Or a silver or bronze day, for that matter.

While Canada did land four nods on the Direct short list (MSN Canada’s ‘Video’s Back’ by Wunderman Toronto, The Score’s annual report by Leo Burnett Toronto and two for RBC’s ‘Crime Doesn’t Pay’ by Proximity Canada), we turned up empty-handed when it came down to the hardware.

‘Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of [Canadian] entries,’ says Shirley Ward-Taggart, SVP/CD at Toronto-based Arc Worldwide. Fellow Canuck judge Matt Shirtcliffe, EVP/ECD at Toronto-based Proximity Canada, is looking on the bright side. ‘Only 170 out of 1,700 entries made the short list. That means we were in the top 10% of the world’s best work.’

The Direct Grand Prix went to The Times of India for its ‘Lead India’ campaign by Mumbai-based JWT India. It challenged Indians to stop complaining about being stuck as a ‘sleeping tiger’ and get to work becoming a world superpower – inviting well-educated professionals to submit their names online to contribute to making India a better country. About 37,000 people responded, and the competition led to a reality TV show with seven sponsors whose winner is being touted as the next prime minister. The overall goal was to elevate the paper from a social mouthpiece to a catalyst for social change.

‘It was a world-shattering campaign,’ says Ward-Taggart. ‘It moved the whole country.’

The Promo Grand Prix went to HBO for its ‘Voyeur’ campaign by BBDO New York. 7-11′s transformation of its stores into Simpsons havens received a Gold, and was in contention for a Grand Prix. Ultimately, the jury decided that ‘Voyeur’ was a ‘masterpiece of today’s communications,’ according to jury president Armin Jochum, CCO at BBDO Stuttgart & Berlin.

No Canadian work even made the Promo short list. ‘I wasn’t impressed by the quality of work that came from Canada,’ says Canadian juror Rico DiGiovanni, president/partner, Spider Marketing Solutions, who adds that he personally saw six Canadian entries (each judge sees about a third of the total entries). ‘When I asked other jurors if they saw anything good from Canada, they said, ‘No, sorry.”

DiGiovanni says more Canadians need to enter, since ‘a lot of great Canadian work this year wasn’t here.’ Shirtcliffe and Ward-Taggart agree, and encourage Canadian shops who may be intimidated by the mighty Lions to submit their work.

And, to make sure you really stand out, ‘You’ve gotta move judges by making them laugh or cry,’ says Shirtcliffe.