A Japanese viral campaign has won the top award at the third Intercontinental Advertising CUP, a global event organised by Adfest (Asia-Pacific), FIAP (Ibero-America), Golden Drum and ADC*E (Europe).

A total of 33 prizes were handed out at the ceremony, held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 18th. The GRAND CUP went to 'Love Distance', from GT Inc (Tokyo) for Sagami Rubber Industries.

The campaign, which ran for a month to late December 2008, told the story of lovers, living 1,000km apart, running towards each other to meet on Christmas Eve. It incorporated a social media element, with each of the pair providing blog, SMS and video updates on their progress to the rendezvous.

The precise nature of the product being advertised was kept secret to the very end; the eventual "reveal" came with this viral ad.

As suggestive visual metaphors go, I'm sure Alfred Hitchcock would have approved of the fireworks and the temple. GT has since released a behind-the-scenes look at the "billion millimetre marathon".

Elsewhere at the Intercontinental Advertising CUP, AlmapBBDO was voted agency of the year, with GT and BBDO/Proximity Malaysia coming second and third. For a full list of winners, click here.

Looking ahead, the deadline for FIAP 2010, one of Latin America's major ad events - falls on March 31st. Entries for the EACA Care awards, an EU-affiliated event promoting social marketing campaigns, have to be in by April 2nd.

Meanwhile, a few more major US ceremonies - the ARF 2010 David Ogilvy Awards, the REGGIE awards and the John Caples awards, for direct and interactive campaigns - are held later this week.

Check back on the Warc Blog for further news; the Warc Awards Calendar also has a full list of upcoming awards dates.