MPG Mexico and MediaCom were named Agency of the Year and Media Agency Network of the Year respectively at a ceremony in Valencia, Spain, last night as the three-day Festival of Media drew to a close.

On the client side, Mars won Advertiser of the Year and UK business daily the Financial Times was Media Owner of the Year.

Attendance at the Festival of Media was inevitably hit by the Icelandic ash cloud which has grounded flights across Europe over the past week, despite the best efforts of organisers C Squared. Some delegates took overland routes, with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, one of the keynote speakers, arriving at the event after a 24-hour coach trip.

At the ceremony, the People's Award - where festival delegates voted for their favourite of five shortlisted campaigns - went to a British anti-knife crime campaign from Manning Gottlieb OMD UK. 'It Doesn't Have To Happen' aimed to reach an audience who knew their shanking from their skanking through a specially-commissioned grime song.

Meanwhile, the jury commended MPG for its work with Snickers Urbania, which used street culture events - promoted through a microsite, profiles on social network platforms and a blog - to boost the chocolate brand. MPG also helped Nike to call on the Mexican national football team to show "huevos" - literally "eggs", colloquially "balls" - in the run-up to a crucial match with local rivals the USA last summer.


The ad above - "Balls - to keep believing when no one else does" - features Giovani dos Santos, formerly of Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur, who now plays for Galatasaray in Turkey. 'Huevos' also won Best Consumer Driven Campaign at the awards.

Other campaigns recognised include 'Dance', from MediaCom UK, Saatchi & Saatchi and Freud Communications for T Mobile, which won Best Communications Strategy. The spot below, which caused something of a sensation online a few months back, now has almost 20m YouTube views.

Mars also impressed with a sports sponsorship parody from Starcom Melbourne, featuring "Strauchanie", a fictional Australian Rules footballer - and iconic bogan.

The client's use of a spoof character rather than an actual star yields a double benefit: it avoids the - potentially boring - sports hero hagiography usually employed in such campaigns, and it also allows for relentless in-programme product placement.

Elsewhere, constant touting of the Mars bars would just look desperate. Wrapped up in the sheep's clothing of satire, it becomes part of the joke.

As well as winning Best Use of Content at the Festival of Media, the Strauchanie "endorsement" also received a gold award at the Cannes Lions in 2009.

In other awards news, the Russian Effies were handed out in a Moscow ceremony last week, with grands prix going to carmaker Nissan (long-term brand development) and Just5, which sells a range of phones for the elderly featuring large buttons and a simplified display.


There were a total of 227 entries to the competition, with 54 gold, silver and bronze prizes awarded.

A full list of Festival of Media awards winners can be found here. Russian Effies information (in Russian, naturally) is here - and you can check upcoming dates on our Warc Awards Calendar here.