Festival of Media shortlist IDs the cream of the crop

Canada represents on the international awards finalist roll, with PHD and Starcom leading the pack.

The Festival of Media Awards shortlist is in. After two days of intense debate by a jury of 28 advertisers, senior media execs and communications experts including Unilever’s Laura Klauberg, VivaKi’s Jack Klues and Madison’s Sam Balsara, Starcom MediaVest tops the contenders list in the campaign categories with 18 nominations followed by Mindshare with 13, MediaCom with 11 and Havas taking seven.

The campaign shortlist, which includes entries from 29 countries, is dominated by the US with 33 nominations, followed by the UK, Canada, Germany, China and India. ‘Campaigns that passed this test demonstrated both an ability to innovate as well as demonstrating real results for their clients,’ says awards director Alastair Ray.

PHD and Starcom racked up the most spots for Canada on the shortlist.

In the Branding Bravery and Best Use of Content categories, PHD and Ogilvy & Mather’s ‘Finding Body and Soul’ for Unilever’s Dove Pro-Age brand got the jury’s attention; and PHD is also in the Best Targeted Campaign finals for ‘Dove Sleepover for Self Esteem’ with Capital C and Harbinger, for Unilever’s Dove Self-Esteem Fund.

Other Canadian doubly shortlisted campaigns include Starcom MediaVest Group’s ‘Be Proud of Your Wiener’ for ConAgra Foods’ Pogo, helmed by Leo Burnett, Smak and Arc Worldwide, which made the final cut in both the Best Communications Strategy and Best Youth Campaign categories. And in the Best Targeted category, Starcom’s ‘Fai…what? Creating a New Medium for Chinese Canadians’ with Duan Media and Leo Burnett for Diageo’s Johnnie Walker made the list.

Canada is also is in the running in the Consumer Benefit/Advertising as Service category with J3@UM’s ‘Johnsons Baby On-Demand’ for J&J’s Baby brand, and Canada also got a nod in the Best Use of Search category with Cossette Media’s ‘GM Optimum Dynamic Paid Search Strategies’ for General Motors of Canada’s GM Optimum brand.

Shortlisted campaigns will now be asked to produce a reel for the jury to consider in Valencia ahead of the Festival of Media alongside their written strategies. The jury will also award the four top awards: the Creativity award, the Effectiveness award, the Partnership award and the Media Owner of the Year.

Agency of the Year and Media Agency Network of the Year will be calculated from results in all categories and the Jury awards.

The media owners shortlists include both global giants such as Clear Channel Outdoor and smart single-market operations such as TV2 in Hungary and Finland’s MTV Oy. Microsoft, the Wall Street Journal, Meredith and BBC Worldwide all secured three nominations for the first global prizes for strategic innovation and delivery by media owners.

Shortlisted campaigns will also be entered into the People’s Award, which allows anyone with an interest to have their say online, with festival delegates voting for the final winner from the top public campaigns. Voting for the People’s Award starts on April 10.