UK Creatives Steal Show at Cannes

29 June 2004

The UK was the big winner at this year's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. British agencies took the Grand Prix for the film and print categories as well as the most medals. The UK's creative haul totalled 64 Lions, nineteen of them gold.

The festival's top prize Mountain was won by TBWA\London's ad for Sony Playstation 2, with a cast of thousands forming a human mountain to the Shirley Temple song Get on Board. Longtime Volkswagen shop DDB London took the print Grand Prix with an ad for the VW Polo.

The US came second with 59 awards overall, while Brazil was ranked third with 39. Top prize for interactive advertising -- the Cyber Lion -- was jointly awarded to NEC Japan and Spain's Double Vision. For the second consecutive year TBWA\Paris was agency of the year. BMW was advertiser of the year.

"The festival has completely changed. It's a new era," claimed Roger Hatchuel, the omnipresent veteran chairman of the 51st festival.

One reason appeared to be an increase in the number of women judges. Last year Hatchuel decreed that at least 25% of the juries must be women. "They made the boys club behave a little better and work a little harder," said Piyush Pandey film jury president and national creative director of Ogilvy & Mather India.

There were also more delegates from smaller markets, more clients and apparently a conspicuous absence of partisan voting. "Never once did I feel there was any nationalistic voting," said Cannes jurist and chief creative officer of Lowe New York, Gary Goldsmith.

The consensus was that interactive advertising was finally starting to prove itself. "The industry has come to a new level as of this year. There was a misunderstanding of interactive and how important it would be in marketing. Now it's being recognized by the agency groups," said Robert Greenberg, Interpublic's chief creative officer and Cyber jury president.

Online advertising may be doing brilliantly. Unfortunately the combined brainpower of the world's brightest and best creatives didn't manage to come up with the sort of breakthrough idea which merited the Titanium award, a concept introduced in 2003. Perhaps 2005 will prove the breakthrough year.

Data compiled from multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff