LONDON: Hype for adland's biggest annual party - the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival -traditionally commences alongside the hangovers on the day following the previous year's closing ceremony.

Mildly surprising, then, that Phil Thomas, chief executive of the Lions' den, waited to reveal the winner of the 2007 Advertiser of the Year award until just six weeks before the onset of the 2007 shindig.

The accolade - accorded a reverence by the Lions' organizers usually reserved for the Nobel Prize - recognizes advertisers who achieve "inspiring innovative marketing" and "embrace and encourage the creative work produced by their agencies".

So take a bow Honda Motor Europe, set to be crowned at the awards ceremony on 23 June and Wieden & Kennedy London - the labourers in the creative salt mines who made it all happen.

Says Thomas: "The essence of Cannes is all about great creative work so we are delighted to honour Honda who continue to make a tremendous effort to market their brand with imaginative, original and cutting-edge advertising."

While Ken Keir, the automaker's svp Europe, also lauded the hewers of the creative sodium chloride: "Through our agencies and a great marketing team we changed our advertising direction five years ago.

"From that point our success has been the result of a consistent, honest approach projecting the company's philosophy and values in an entertaining and unique style which has changed Honda awareness out of all recognition."

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff