NEWS FLASH: Canada snags its first Grand Prix at Cannes Lions 2007

Last year, we won 15 Lions. This year, we're already up to 11.

Canada rocks Cyber. As predicted (by us), ‘Evolution’ has earned a Grand Prix in the Cyber Lions. The Unilever viral win out of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto was actually one of three Grand Prix awards handed out today by the Cyber jury in Cannes.

O&M’s Nancy Vonk describes her team’s reaction as duly ebullient: ‘We got word from Cannes about the big one about two minutes before boarding our flight. Picture a small group of five-year-olds on Christmas Day, the moment they spot the big score they really didn’t think Santa could pull off. It doesn’t get much better than a Cyber Grand Prix.’

And according to US Cyber jury member Fernanda Romano, right now, ‘it’s more career-changing for someone to win a Cyber Lion than a Film lion.’

Jury president Tom Eslinger, interactive and emerging technologies CD, Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand, said that the finalists were well and truly scrutinized. ‘We were looking for the most exceptional cyber ideas in the world,’ he said, ‘and the ones that were awarded were far and away more brilliant than others in the category.’

Romano, who is ECD Lowe New York, added, ‘Pretty much every year since Cyber started, you’ve seen upgrades in tech, and the truth is, this hasn’t happened this year. There hasn’t been a new technology. The three Grand Prix, if you look at the technology, they didn’t invent anything new. ‘Evolution,’ what’s the new technology? None. It’s more and more about ideas. A Grand Prix has to be groundbreaking and game-changing.’

With ‘Evolution,’ the jury was impressed by the decision to put it on the Internet and go the peer-to-peer route – the fact that the advertiser said, ‘I don’t believe I need to buy the space, they will come to me.’ And, of course, as Romano explains: ‘What was happening in the last few months that made us stop in our tracks? It was ‘Evolution.”

Eslinger says the winning work represents a shift for Cyber. ‘They had a strong relationship with the aud – that’s game-changing for us, that they could make that emotional connection with an idea.’ He added that the jury had a quest. ‘We were looking for exceptional ideas in the category; we wanted to find a Titanium Lion before the Titanium jury found it.’

Steve Mykolyn, interactive and design CD at Taxi and past Cyber Cannes judge, says he thinks it’s possible that Cyber is a temporary category. ‘The best companies in the world think about the idea first, then think of how to get the message out, but not in a traditional sense. That’s what makes ‘Evolution’ so great, and ‘Subservient Chicken’ so cool. Companies that are most successful are using new kinds of media to reach their audience in ways we haven’t even dreamt of. Cyber might not be a category when everything boils down to the big idea.’

Mykolyn comments that ‘Evolution’ and last year’s big winner, Ecko’s ‘Stillfree’ by droga5 New York, share a few things – they both connected with their target, as well as the public at large. As per Mykolyn: ‘The best praise I ever heard was from a CD who said, ‘I hate ‘Evolution’ because I like it, and everyone else likes it too.”

Two Cyber Golds were also swooped up by Canada, for Taxi Montreal’s ‘See More Side Effects.’ The sexy website created for Reversa picked up two of the 11 Golds meted out, for the beauty brand’s banner advertising campaign and the microsite itself. Mykolyn describes the Reversa work as ‘an Axe campaign for smart people; I’m not dissing teenage boys, but ‘Hello.” Given that the site features an older woman whose Reversa anti-aging regimen’s ‘side effects’ is the attention of buff young men, MiC inquired as to DermTek’s comfort level with the effort. Mykolyn said it wasn’t an issue. ‘The client said, ‘Deliver what you’re famous for – results.”

Canada also won a Bronze Lion for Sid Lee Montreal’s multi-award-winning ‘Experience Maximum Vegas,’ a makeover of the website of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The remaining Grand Prix for Website and Interactive campaign and best Online Advertising went to: R/GA New York for Nike +, the multi-sensory, multi-channel marriage of Apple and Nike. R/GA was brought in on the ground floor to create products and a web experience that would show how Nike running shoes speak to Apple iPod Nanos, which sync with iTunes, in turn sending your personal workout data to the web. They built a platform of virtual racing, progress training, motivational goals and stories and global community comparison tools at

Stockholm, Sweden’s farfar got the Grand Prix nod for their ‘Heidies’ 15 MB of Fame’ campaign for Diesel. The reality-based work had two gorgeous girls stealing the new Diesel intimate collection, kidnapping a nice guy and locking him – and themselves – in a hotel room for five days, dressed only in Diesel underwear. For five days, 24 hours a day, six cameras were trained on them and the ‘reality’ broadcast on

Crispin Porter + Bogusky won the overall Interactive Agency of the Year title.

Overall, Saatchi’s Eslinger thought mobile and gaming could have been a lot stronger, as well as out of home interactivity. But he did comment that dollars are now being spent that a few years ago you would never have seen spent. Next year, Eslinger predicts more gaming platform work, and Romano expects to see work from Asia ‘that will be really, really good and different.’

Canada’s only trophy haul from Press was a Vancouver score. Rethink took a Silver Campaign Lion for its four-ad series for Playland Amusement Park.

Rethink partner/co-CD Chris Staples, who was the Canadian Press judge, noted that ‘Simple always wins at Cannes. If you have an ad that has no words, but communicates what the product is, and it’s executed beautifully,’ it has an advantage in a multi-language international jury scenario.

As to Canada’s otherwise non-impressive showing in Press, Staples attributes the dishearteningly few Canadians on the short list to our foreign media domination. ‘Canada is not a land of magazines, so we have so few chances at bat.’ Staples estimates that 98% of the work entered to Cannes was double-page spreads, which are not abundant in Canada.

However, the Silver win was quite significant, given the odds. Jury president Bob Scarpelli, chair/CCO DDB Worldwide, New York, says his team looked at almost 7,000 ads, and ‘we picked 1%’ -12 gold, 24 silver, 36 bronze.’

Scarpelli says the first criterion was, ‘Is this a great idea – does it stop me?’ He furthermore instructed the jury to think like consumers: ‘I asked everyone to trust their instincts – does it make me think differently about the product?’

Apparently, the jury likes to be squeaky clean, as Procter & Gamble swept some serious press bling based on this approach. P&G took Grand Prix campaign for its Ultra Tide Stain Remover ads, as well as Campaign Gold for Glide Dental Floss, both out of Saatchi & Saatchi New York. P&G also snared campaign Gold and for its Ariel Washing detergent work out of Del Campo Nazca/Saatchi & Saatchi Buenos Aires.

‘We based it on what stood out for us,’ explains Scarpelli. ‘I told the judges I want us to have a show that we’re proud of – real clients, real brands, real advertising. It’s a signal that you don’t have to do a one-off kind of thing, you can do something for a real client and build a brand. This year, the ones that rose to the top were some of the unexpected categories.’

Of the Grand Prix work, Scarpelli says the notion of communicating ‘stains don’t stand a chance against Tide’ with little ninja guys representing stains was brilliant. ‘It’s a very fresh and contemporary way to bring it to life. We want to send a message to young creatives.’

Julian Watt, ECD Net#work BBDO South Africa, supports the theory. ‘I can go back and say ‘Never tell me you can’t do great work for a difficult category’ – we owe P&G a debt of gratitude for being a beacon.’

with files from Claire Macdonald

Continuously updated lists of winners are available at: