Lowe Roche, Leo Burnett and BBDO on Cannes shortlists

The agencies nabbed nominations for work for O.B. Tampons, Ikea and Skittles in the PR and Promo categories.

Lowe Roche has earned a spot on the 2012 Cannes Lions PR shortlist for its “A Personal Apology (Just for You)” online spot for O.B. Tampons.

Canadian agencies submitted 27 entries in the PR category this year, up from three last year. Overall, there were 1,130 entries in PR category, up from 819 in 2011.

The O.B. website was created after consumers were unable to find the brand on store shelves for a period of time. The brand responded with a tailored video sent to O.B.’s database of about 65,000 consumers. The ladies, typically aged 18 to 35, could write in their name and then watch a personalized music video, featuring a studly musician who sings to them directly.

The quality of the video, its cheeky satirical nature and the seamless integration of the personalization element garnered attention very quickly, appearing on various blogs, before its official launch.

“Early indication is that it’s going to spread quite quickly,” Shelley Kohut, director of communications and PR at Johnson & Johnson said at the time of the launch late last year. “We’re really pleased with it, but a little surprised in that we haven’t launched the campaign yet,” she added, noting that there had been no other media planned aside from the emails.

Leo Burnett and BBDO Toronto both made the first round of cuts in the Promo category at Cannes for their work for Ikea and Skittles respectively.

Announced alongside the Direct shortlist, the Promo category saw a total 2,674 entries across 71 nations, including 75 from Canada – up from 44 in 2011. However, despite having 47 entries in the Cannes Direct category (up from 25 in 2011), Canada will not be walking away with a Direct Lion this year after failing to make the shortlist.

The Promo category awards Lions to campaigns that create an immediate activation and/or offer for the sale of a product or service, and campaigns were judged based on creativity, strategy, execution and results. The winners will be announced Monday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Leo Burnett’s Ikea Moving Day placed boxes around Montreal in an effort to make Ikea top of mind for the July 1st moving frenzy (the day many Quebecers’ fixed-term leases expire). The campaign, with media by Jungle Media, has already nabbed Gold at the Effies and strategy’s AToMiC awards.

Skittles, “Touch the Untouchable,” is an extension of BBDO’s award-winning 2011 campaign, “ Touch the rainbow,” which took home a Gold Film Lion last year. This year’s extension invited consumers to put their fingers on their (non-touch) computer screen in an effort to touch something untouchable, including a princess, a were-baby and a zombie.

Canadian judge Brian Sheppard, EVP and co-ECD, Saatchi & Saatchi, said that he was excited to see work across all mediums in the Promo category.

“The judges have been treated to Promo and Activation entries that have included radio, print, ambient, guerilla, television, poster, digital, social… in practically every sort of combination,” he says. “We’ve seen it all. And then some.”

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With files from Megan Haynes and Emily Wexler.