First Cannes Lions winners announced

And Canada has already taken Bronze!

Canada picked up a Bronze today at Cannes Lions 2007, the sole Canadian win at the Direct Awards. Leo Burnett Canada created the winning campaign for Ariss Brothers Propane in Kitchener-Waterloo, the hometown of Leo B’s Kelly Zettel. The creative director led the effort for the company’s local direct campaign, which entailed a lot of leg work by the Ariss brothers themselves.

Asked by MiC what she believes caught the jury’s eye, Zettel says, ‘It was probably how all the pieces worked together as a package for a very small client, which gave them huge bang for their buck. We focused a lot on the personalities of the proprietors, and I think that came through in all the elements we used.’

Today’s win gives Zettel a Bronze in this category for the second consecutive year. At the 2006 Cannes Lions, she and her Leo B team won for work on behalf of the Assaulted Women’s Help Line. That campaign, she says, contained ‘a lot of the same thinking we used for Ariss Brothers.’

The only other Canadian contender in the first day of awards at Cannes was Bell Mobility’s ‘Invisible’ Bus DM work by Blitz Direct, Data & Promotion, Toronto, which was short-listed in the Direct category. Sadly, Canada did not even make the short list for the Promo awards.

The Direct jury members commented on a significant drop in good entries in the technology realm in this category, and also noted that the best work is more than direct – so much so that the blurred borders on integrated campaigns made category sorting a tough slog. Jury president Rory Sutherland, vice-chair of Ogilvy Group UK, identified the rise of the Internet in DM as a huge opportunity, since it makes possible direct relationships without the shackles of individual media costs. He also commended the focus on creating memorable customer experiences, adding that ‘the best direct work is more than just direct – emphatically so.’ One juror noted that ’80% of this work would have been unrecognizable (as DM) to a jury 10 years ago.’

Canadian Direct judge Thomas Nelligan, joint creative director at Blitz, said the showing was poor this year, with few entries from Canada. And when it came to the Bronze Lion-winning Leo work, Nelligan says it was the simple and cost-effective idea that stood out. To promote a gas store, the locally focused effort starred the owners, and entailed ads, direct, stickers and house-to-house efforts – with the siblings sporting T shirt sloganed, ‘Even if our product stinks, the service doesn’t.’

Several short lists were announced, and Canada has a few shots at a Media Lion. The ‘Get Scared More Often’ Corus Entertainment campaign for Scream TV out of zig, Toronto, got a nod in both the ‘best use of special events and stunts’ and ‘best publications and media’ categories. In the PSA category, the Canadian Red Cross’ ‘Fallen People’ effort out of Downtown Partners made the cut.

Elsewhere on the short-list front, Canada has five contenders for a Radio Lion. ‘Nonstop’ for Subaru Canada, out of DDB Toronto and prodco Kitchen Sync, Toronto, is short-listed in the Auto category. The ‘Forest Hill’ PSA campaign for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees by BBDO Toronto, produced by Eggplant Productions, also made the cut.

Quebec took several spots on the Radio short list. In the media section, The Montreal Gazette and BleuBlancRouge got a nod for ‘Nurses,’ produced by Audio Z. On the financial front, Sid Lee is in contention with ‘Telekinesis’ for Belair Direct, produced by Boogie Studio. And the Quebec government’s ‘Unison’ work out of Brad, produced by Studio Expression, made it through to the final round in the PSA category.

Short-listed for a Press Lion are four ads for Playland out of Vancouver’s Rethink, two Gazette ads by BleuBlancRouge of Montreal and three Greenpeace ads by zig, Toronto.

On the Outdoor short list roster: three Vespa ads out of Dentsu Toronto; three ads and three Mattel ads for Hot Wheels out of Ogilvy and Mather, Toronto; Purell ‘stickers’ and four Washyourhands.TV ambients out of JWT Toronto; four Playland ads by Rethink; the ‘hand shadow light projection’ effort for Campbell’s instant soup and the MP3 access transit installation for Pepsi plus three ambient Guinness ads, all out of BBDO Toronto; two ‘LED’ executions for BC Hydro and three Braintrust Canada ads by DDB, Vancouver; the ambient ‘speedbump’ for Octopus Garden Yoga done by John St., Toronto; and Mini’s ‘Let there be Zenon’ out of Taxi Toronto.

The Grand Prix for Direct was won by Spain’s Banco Gellego, out of Shackleton, Madrid, for its ‘Lopetegui Deposit’ campaign. The bank capitalized on soccer star Julen Lopetegui’s famous World Cup faint by creating a back-story and a financial product for it. The creative had the soccer star fainting because of the bank’s new 10% financial product, the Lopetegui Deposit. The campaign included video of the faint, a continued spot, Internet, mail, radio, print and events, and garnered a ton of free press.

The Promo Grand Prix went to New Zealand’s TBWA/WHYBIN, out of Auckland, for NZRU/Adidas’ ‘Bonded by Blood’ effort. Each year, Adidas does a commemorative poster on the new All Blacks squad. This time, the limited edition poster included star player DNA and was made available only to rugby jersey buyers. Promo efforts included a ‘making of’ video shown in stores, plus website coverage. The 8,000 posters sold out and are now fetching over US $400 on online auctions, while the promo also garnered a ton of free media.

Good luck, team Canada.

Continuously updated lists of winners are available at: