Cannes gosssip - who will take home the Grand Prix?

So, all the action is down in Cannes. Stockholm agency Grey are marching about looking like clones, all dressed in grey suits with the words "Grey" - in Grey of course - on their backs. The Young Creatives' Competition has been sorted, the Media Lions and Direct as well - their grand prix reinvents movie sponsorship for Christal beer in a clever fashion. Rumors about who will win press and poster tomorrow....

The rumors say: Grand Prix, DDB London for Volkswagen Polo "Cops"

Outdoor Grand Prix, J. Walter Thompson, Kuala Lumpur, Malysia for CH-9 Media "Missile Car".

Care to place your bets on who will win the commercial category on Friday?

Previous years:

Playstation "Nipple" 1999

Club Med 18-20, winner 2002

Playstation Rebirth 2003

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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andromeda's picture

They can't seriously be calling that a Grand Prix....?

James_Trickery's picture

It's funny. It's not as great as Nipple back in 99 on the other hand it's not as icky as the Playstation rebirth poster grand prix winner..... Is this the "Missile Car" winner? Adforum has a thumbnail and lists it as a Cannes 2004 winner... already.

Dabitch's picture

Their elert shows images - the balloon-missiles tied to the car won Grand Prix outdoor.

Neo's picture

I liked this one, worth a gold. Shot by Clang, done by BBH USA.

CopyWhore's picture

Lamentable that the Polo ad took the Grand Prix for press... I mean, seriously, hasn't everyone seen ads this year better than that one?

Not that COPS is a bad ad... But the best ad in the world from the past year?? Hardly.

Kind of makes you wonder just exactly what's going on with these award juries.

aiiobo's picture

I think COPS is a great ad. Nay, a fanstastic ad. The only thing that worries me is... Is that The best ad in the world last year? Well move over, as I'll be coming to cannes next year. Looking at the runners up COPS was the only one that truly had winning potential.

CopyWhore's picture

Look, I think COPS is a nice ad...But there's no way it was the best ad from the past year. It communicates a rather dubious promise -- viz and to wit, the car is "tough." And it communicates this in an interesting way...

But putting strategy, as well as alacrity, aside, is the ad based on any kind of fresh, new insight?

I think not.

But this illustrates the real difference between Europe and America in terms of how advertising is judged. Many of the guys from the New York school of thought (my CD included, as well as guys like Gary Goldsmith) judge work on the freshness of insights. Find a fresh insight, and you've done 90% of the creative work.

It seems that much of the European work (and Latin American work--particularly Brazilian ads) emphasizes quick visual jokes that communicate a single adjective. Sometimes that adjective is based on a strategic leap, which passes as "insight"...In the case of COPS, that the car should be tough.

All in all, then, COPS won on the basis of a fresh strategy: tough ('n small, I suppose).

And although tough and small were communicated in a clear, simple way, the ad didn't really have much depth of thought, or insight, as it were. Did it? In fact, COPS is a bit contrived.

CP+B's Borders Books ads with the wrapping paper were far fresher than COPS. They were based on insightful thinking...

But what's popular is rarely the best. So there you have it...

deeped's picture

I'm not the man to judge if it's about old world vs new world school or something else but I think you're right when pointing out the difference in ad-perspective.

A thought: is it possible that the euro/latin-perspective is based on printthinking when the US-perspective is based on TV-ad-thinking?

CopyWhore's picture

Actually, the difference in advertising thinking between America and the rest of the world is even trickier when you consider the British perspective, for example...

In many cases, UK ad folk will only bestow praise on an ad that represents creative STRATEGIC thinking (hence the love affair with COPS). When working off of a particularly inovative strategy, you don't need to fall over yourself being creative -- you just communicate the cutting edge strategic thought as straight forwardly (and interestingly) as possible. Inevitably, the ad will stand out because it'll be saying something that hasn't been said before.

In the US, it seems, freshness of strategy is second to saying something ordinary in a fresh way -- it's not what you say, it's how you say it.

Want an example?

In last year's CA, there was an award-winning ad for American Standard, a toilet manufacturer. The campaign was done by a Minneapolis agency (I forget which one.)

Quite simply, the ad was a photo of a toilet, and the line was "It's a shame you sit with your back to it."

This isn't saying much, other than "it's a beautiful toilet."

I guarantee if that ad hadn't made it into CA, but you had it in your book and you were showing it 'round to English agencies, it would fail to garner a single bit of praise.

Why? Because the Brits would say a product shot and line isn't enough. Because you're not telling people something they don't know. Because you're not being suprising enough.

Maybe they're right.

In any case, the judges who chose that ad as CA worthy probably don't have the expectation that a single ad is capable of pole vaulting a brand into the zeitgeist. Rather, the ad made them smirk, or chortle, at best. What kind of reaction is an ad really capable of eliciting? It was, after all, an ad for toilets.

But the point is this: there is a very different point-of-view between what is considered good in America and in every other country. All of these different opinions get diffused in a jury, so that what ultimately rises to the top isn't representative of the very best there is.

And in spite of all this, Cannes is still the one to win.

deeped's picture

Thanx for the great text on the subject. I recognize this from some books on planning I've read (APG), but this was enlightening.