This past week Donovan and I checked out the Cannes Lions Festival screening in Vancouver, showcasing the best-of-the-best advertising from around the world. The Event was brought to Vancouver by NABS (National Advertising Benevolent Society) Vancouver Chapter at the Vancity Theatre in the heart of downtown and was hosted by Dawn Chubai and Riaz Meghji from Breakfast Television on CityTV. It was a fantastic event intermingled with ad agency folk, media and creative minds all excited to see what the wonderful world of advertising had produced over the last year.
Thankfully there were a few familiar faces in the crowd so Donovan and I didn’t stick out like wallflowers. It was great to catch up with some old friends from the industry and my university years, but the true pleasure came from the two-hour showcase of bronze, silver, gold and grand prix winners. The event takes place in France each year, and if the award winners aren’t able to make it to the extravagant event, the awards are sent to the local screener to present on home soil. We were blessed with the honour of seeing two bronzes trophies handed out, and one illustrious gold trophy handed out to Grey Advertising Agency (Vancouver) for their work with Tropicana.
After the show Donovan and I gushed about some of our favourite ads. The majority actually came from the bronze medal category!
The first campaign we absolutely loved was LG’s ‘Give It A Ponder’ Mobile Phone campaign, speaking to young adults about to send a text message that could eventually come back to haunt them. The following is my favourite execution out of the three ad spots that were created by Y&R Agency in New York, for the US market:
The second campaign caught my attention for entirely different reasons, mainly, the unbelievable sexual nature of the ad. Aides.org in France developed a campaign to raise awareness around protection and condom use. The ad was created and produced by TBWA Paris, and man the audience’s reactions to this spot were priceless!
Donovan’s second favourite ad definitely had the audience smiling in their seats. The concept is so simple, yet brilliant, and highlights an unsung hero that most people wouldn’t recognize. I’ll admit, I definitely appreciated this creative, developed by Venables, Bell and Partners for Intel, in the USA.
My final bronze medal noteworthy ad (and in my opinion should have won a gold Lion) was developed for Volkswagon in Stockholm, aptly titled The Fun Theory. There were three ad spots, and I recommend you Google the other two executions as they are equally brilliant. For now, I’ll simply show you the staircase versus escalator advertisement.
The one silver Lion award winning spot that I felt necessary to call out goes to my favourite guilty pleasure, McDonalds. Their advertising spot created by Leo Burnett in London, for the UK marketplace is a fabulous example of all the people who frequent McDonalds, and how there is a little something for everyone. A commercial after my own heart, and blocked arteries…
The gold Lion winners go without saying, are the best advertisements of the year and therefore I recommend you search out each and every one of them! I’ve chosen my three favourites, as this list is already a little long but it’s important to save the best for last!
My third most favourite ad of the night goes to Puma, for their Puma Hard Chorus campaign, to be found at pumahardchorus.com. The ad spots were created by Druga5 in the USA for select markets holding a soccer match that so hap hazardously coincided with Valentine’s Day. Needless to say, most women wouldn’t be content with their men choosing to watch a soccer game instead of spending ‘The Day of Love’ with them, so Puma tried to find a suitable compromise. The UK version of the ad is absolutely brilliant, and therefore my personal selection:
My second most favourite ad sent chills down my spine as it played out on the screen and left audible gasps hanging on the lips of everyone in the theatre. I simply looked over at Donovan, whispered, ‘WOW’ and felt the impact that ninety-five seconds can truly have on a person’s life and overall awareness. The spot was created and produced by Ogilvy Johannesburg in South Africa, promoting Aids Fundraising. The spot is aptly titled SELINAH, after the woman that allowed cameras to follow her for 90 days and document her journey with the disease. The twist to this ad is what truly causes the impact it had on the ad, and if you’ve watched no other commercial in this post, I insist you watch this one:
The best ad of the night was aptly awarded a Golden Lion at the festival in France, to BBDO Toronto for their work with Tropicana. The spot was shot in the Canadian Arctic, and beautifully showcased the lifestyle that all walks of life have had to adapt to in the extreme harsh Northern conditions. For one day in the dead of winter, Tropicana decided to shine a little light into this town, for the simple sake of creating a little happiness. This ad is the perfect combination of heart, cinematic brilliance and deep Canadian pride that is often buried right beneath the Parka layer. The ad was created by BBDO in Toronto for the Canadian marketplace, and I personally believe that Tropicana could subsist on this campaign for several years to come.
The Grand Prix winner at this year’s Cannes Lion Festival was none other than well-known Old Spice and their infamous advertising campaign of 2010. The spot, created by Wieden + Kennedy in Portland for the US market went viral almost instantly and has been viewed the world over. The simple idea of The Man Your Man Could Smell Life was so beautifully executed that it’s hard to find a flaw, and really, what’s the need? The ad speaks for itself, with over 28 Million views on YouTube alone.
I hate to admit that although I fast forward through the majority of commercials on TV today, there are a few that I will stop and take the time to watch. The Cannes Lion reel boasted a few of those spots, and opened my eyes to several more from around the world that I normally wouldn’t have had the chance to witness. For that I am grateful!
For the full list of award recipients, check out the following website: