Cannes 2009: Battle between traditional and contemporary at the Outdoor Lions

By Prajjal Saha , afaqs!, Cannes | In Advertising | June 24, 2009
The Zimbabwean newspaper campaign, done on one trillion Zimbabwean dollars, won the Grand Prix. For India, it was six Lions - three silvers and three bronzes. Publicis and O&M won one silver and one bronze each, DDB Mudra won one silver and Leo Burnett bagged one bronze

The jury for the Outdoor Lions at the International Advertising Festival, Cannes was ambivalent for one moment while deciding on the Grand Prix. It had to choose between two entries, one which was an effective piece of traditional outdoor advertising with a strong message, while the other was a contemporary piece of work where ambient media was used innovatively.

It finally decided on the traditional entry. A Zimbabwean newspaper, which was banned in its country, launched an anti-government campaign. It played on the fact that the value of one trillion Zimbabwean dollars is less than the value of the paper required to print the ad. So, one trillion Zimbabwean dollars were pasted together, with the message written on it. The campaign was done by TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris, Johannesburg.

& #BANNER1 & #The jury was of the opinion that in this particular campaign, the media itself became the message and it lent power to the idea.

Rob Belgiovane, executive creative director, Belgiovane Williams Mackay Australia and a member of the jury, said, "We also chose it for the Grand Prix because we thought this would be the last time when we could award a work on traditional advertising."

There were two other entries which were close to the Grand Prix. One of them was the 'Oasis dig out your soul' campaign by NYC and Warner Brothers, conceptualised by BBH New York. For this, rock band Oasis picked up more than twenty buskers in New York and taught them the unreleased songs from its forthcoming album, Dig Out Your Soul.

The musicians took to the streets to perform the songs - weeks before the album was launched. Acclaimed directors, the Malloys, documented the event. The whole performance was then put online. Rather than letting their music end up in the streets, they encouraged it to start there. The jury found it to be a fresh way of thinking.

The jury added that this particular entry could win in other categories as well.

The other entry which came close to winning the Grand Prix was the 'Share Our Billboard' campaign by Toronto's James Ready Brewery. The company used only 1/3 of the hoarding space, inviting other advertisers to use the remaining space to save costs. The message: if any advertiser shared the space, the company could reduce the price per bottle by $1. The campaign was created by Leo Burnett, Toronto.

On the overall quality of entries, the jury was of the opinion that many of the entries entered the category on the basis of the use of a new and innovative technology. However, the jury did not take notice of that and gave more priority to the idea.

Among the winning Indian entries, Publicis and O&M won one silver and one bronze each, DDB Mudra won one silver and Leo Burnett bagged one bronze. Publicis Ambience won a silver for Cupid Condoms and a bronze for L'Oreal India, while O&M got the silver for Sour Marble Candies. The bronze for O&M was for its work on Sab Miller India. Mudra's solo silver came in for the Air India campaign. Leo Burnett won the bronze for its campaign on Bajaj exhaust fans.

The jury found Mudra's Air India campaign to be a simple yet powerful one. Belgiovane said, "The creative very interestingly used the connectivity to show the mixed marriage concept with a very powerful undertone. Besides, it was hard to do it in a poster." However, it could not bag a gold because the category was already crowded.

The jury also found the Cupid Condom ads to be funny and appropriate in view of the current recession. Belgiovane adds, "There are many ads based on the same premise, where the negative attributes of having a baby was shown. But this one did it in a funny way, which caught the eye of the jury."

KS Chakravarthy, national creative director, DraftFCB, who was also part of the jury, says, "The Indian entries stuck to the brief and provided to the point solutions. There were also a few great pieces of craft, but none of the Indian entries took that quantum leap to qualify for the gold."