We left the best until last, but Kiwi agencies picked up three Lions on the last night at Cannes, with Colenso taking home five of the six local Lions won in this year's festival of creativity.
There was quite a bit of gushing about the record haul of 25 Lions last year (especially with the addition of the old Kiwi chestnut of 'per capita'), so 2011 certainly isn't one to write home about. But the biggest accolade of the six-day ad fest came when Colenso was awarded one of just six obviously rather rare lions in the new creative effectiveness category for TVNZ's The Pacific.
The award honours creativity that has shown a measurable and proven impact on a client’s business and affected consumer behaviour, brand equity, sales, and where identifiable, profit. Only entries that were either shortlisted or winners at Cannes in 2010 were eligible to enter into and, after 142 entries were received, only ten international campaigns made it through to the shortlist stage.
Colenso’s managing director Nick Garrett and planning director James Hurman, who has just launched a book all about this very topic called The Case For Creativity (buy it here. Or else) and represented New Zealand on the Creative Effectiveness Jury, were in Cannes to accept the award. Then they may have gone and looked for some new boat shoes.
The 'Real Stories' campaign, which won two bronzes in the outdoor and media categories at last year's Cannes Lions, sent 346,000 actual letters written by soldiers during World War Two to New Zealand letterboxes and it culminated in an aerial dogfight over Auckland’s Mission Bay. And it worked, apparently, because 24 percent of New Zealanders tuned in to the first episode.
"The Effectiveness Lions showcase the powerful role that creative advertising can play in business," Nick Worthington, executive creative director of Colenso BBDO says. "It’s a pretty big deal to be one of only six agencies world-wide awarded an Effectiveness Lion.”
“All of the entries we looked at were examples of campaigns with amazing commercial results," says Hurman, who abstained from voting on his own campaign. "Our shortlist was made up of campaigns that proved beyond any doubt that the effectiveness result was caused by the creative work."
Hurman told Fairfax's BusinessDay that being there while The Pacific work was being considered was “brutal” (he wrote a diary for Campaign Brief here and here), but "he probably learnt more in two days working on a Cannes jury than in two years elsewhere".
“I don’t know if I’m the youngest but I certainly felt like the baby of the jury because the calibre of all the jurors was frightening, so for me it was kind of an education ... Even though we only had a little bit of results information and it was a small campaign, the entry paper really managed to step you through how it attracted a lot of attention then it lifted the brand metrics, then people watched the show, and then because people watched the show TVNZ could charge a higher price for the ads in the show. Therefore the return back to TVNZ in financial terms was a large one.”
Walkers Crisps “Sandwich” by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO London was awarded the Grand Prix.
“One thing I learned was the way it engaged the trade–the retailers and the sales-people of Walkers crisps," Hurman told BusinessDay. "...If you can get those people feeling great about the campaign and involved in it, they will work hard for the campaign and it stands a much better chance of being effective.”
In the other awards from the final ceremony, Rear View Girls, a cheeky viral stunt for Levi's by Colenso and Flying Fish which also made the shortlist of the Titanium and Integrated category, won silver in Film for Other Film Content (Internet Film) and VW's Milk Run by DDB and Robber's Dog took a bronze in the product and service category, somewhat surprisingly leaving DDB and Lotto's Lucky Dog empty-handed.
There were 3,310 entries in the Film category, with 299 entries shortlisted, of which 14 were awarded gold, 30 silver and 57 bronze Lions. The Film Grand Prix was awarded to Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, The Netherlands for Nike’s ‘Write the Future’. Youtube Video
New Zealand production companies managed three shortlistings in Film Craft (Flying Fish for Vodafone 'New' via Colenso BBDO Auckland, Thick as Thieves for Sky TV '60 things in 60 seconds' via DDB New Zealand and Robber's Dogs for VW 'Milk Run' via DDB New Zealand') but came away empty handed.