Canada nabs two Media Lions, plus two in Radio

At the second awards gala at Cannes, the country walks away with one Silver for MEC and BBDO, and three Bronze.
Swiss Chalet Rotisserie Channel

By Emily Wexler, Jonathan Paul & Mary Maddever

On day two of handing out the hardware at Cannes, Canada scored four Lions – two in Media and two in Radio, but were shut out of the Outdoor category.


A Silver Media Lion went to Swiss Chalet’s Rotisserie Channel, with media handled by MEC and creative by BBDO. It caused quite a stir back in March when the Cara restaurant chain aired nothing but rotating chickens on a dedicated Rogers TV channel with no branding and only a coupon offer on screen.

“I took a lot of ribbing from my fellow jurors,” says Mark Sherman of Media Experts, the Canadian judge on the panel, on the reaction to this humorous made-in-Canada execution. But, he says, it resonated with the jury because, “it was quirky, simple, product-oriented and it was a pure use of media.”

And Proximity scored yet another Bronze (having amassed two others in Promo & Activation) for its “Find Red” effort for Mars’s M&M’s brand.

“I hoped it would have done better than it did,” says Sherman of the campaign. “I thought it was absolutely ingenious, it demonstrated Canadian spirit – seeing something coming months and months in advance, sticking M&Ms in windows [prior to] the campaign.”

The Media Grand Prix went to Cheil Worldwide in Seoul, Korea for Tesco’s Homeplus subway virtual store. The retailer papered the walls of subway platforms with images of products on store shelves, just as consumers would find them in an actual Homeplus store. The catch was the passersby could snap up codes for each product with their smartphones to actually purchase the products, which would be delivered to their homes upon their arrival. The retailer saw a 130% increase in online sales and it became the number one retailer in the online market in Korea.


Canada has matched its trophy total from 2010 in the Radio Category this year, nabbing two Bronze Lions thanks to work from DDB and Grey Canada.

DDB won for a spot it crafted on behalf of Subaru, called “Conditions,” promoting the carco’s WRX model. The ad centres on a gent named Brad who suffers from a condition that causes him to “come too early.” Because he is a Subaru WRX driver he’s burdened with excessive speed.

Grey Canada was the other Bronze winner, taking home the prize for an ad entitled “Chuck” it created for the Special Olympics. The spot features a Special Olympian named Chuck, one of the first athletes to participate in the Special Olympics, who talks about how sports taught him a lot about independence and self-respect. He goes on to say that his new self-perspective helped change the way people look at him, a point illustrated by changing from a voice typically associated with Down’s syndrome to Chuck’s actual voice.

Canuck juror Paul Little, newly minted co-CD at Sid Lee, said that the Canadian work was well received and that simplicity was the key to Canuck success.

“The two pieces that got in were just different, really smart and simple,” says Little. “I think Canadian radio is quite simple and I mean that in a good way. It’s easy to get, it’s very technically written and pulled together well, and obviously the production value is good with Canadian stuff.”

The Grand Prix went to South African Agency Net#Work BBDO for its spot for Mercedes-Benz. The spot extolled the virtues of the carco’s accident avoidance features by telling the tale of a relationship that would have never happened if it weren’t for Mercedes’ focus on safety.

Jury president Eugene Cheong, regional executive CD at Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific, said that the spot was post-modern and really felt that it came from a different angle. He also noted that the craft of writing is important in order to do well in the radio category, adding that “the quality of writing around the world seems to have fallen.”

Good writing was one of the reasons Net#Work BBDO’s Mercedes spot stuck out from the rest of the pack he said, as the jury was after “really original ideas, not just funny sounds.”


Canada was shut out of Outdoor, which gave its Grand Prix to “Decode Jay-Z with Bing” by Droga5 New York. When Bing wanted to reach youth, it hooked up with Jay-Z and created a campaign to launch his book, physically putting a page of the book everywhere there was a content connection with a physical location – for instance, a page on “big pimping” was on the bottom of the Delano pool, another page was inside a Gucci jacket.

The OOH was interactive, with an online game supplying daily clues so fans could find the pages in the real world, and then the audience assembled the book online. The effort netted 1.1 billion impressions, the book went directly to the best-seller list, where it stayed for 19 weeks, and Bing traffic was up 11%.

Jury president Olivier Altmann, CCO of Publicis Worldwide, commented on the irony that “with this great digital brand, you need reality to engage people in their everyday life.” A similarly premised Google exercise out of BBH London took campaign Gold, reinforcing the real world OOH choice of online giants, as virtual and physical continue to collide.

UK Outdoor judge Ed Morris says it’s a category in which you can see the future coming, and of the Jay-Z Bing Grand Prix case, he says, “This bridges the gap and takes the medium into the future.”