Cannes 2015: Groceries Not Guns wins gold in Radio

Grey Germany's Berlin Wall of Sound takes the Grand Prix

Grey Canada may have to order a new trophy cabinet for the Toronto office. The agency won two more Gold Lions Wednesday night, its third and fourth of the week, for its “Groceries Not Guns” campaign.

The latest honours came in the Radio and Cyber competitions (read the full Cyber story here).

The Radio Lion was awarded for the three spots, “Poodle,” “Scooter” and “Super Soaker,” for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

The campaign was intended to put pressure on U.S. grocery giant Kroger to reverse its policy of allowing guns into its stores. The radio spots used a recorded call conceit with customers talking to Kroger employees who explain that while a poodle, a scooter or water gun aren’t allowed in Kroger stores, loaded firearms are okay.

Other Canadian entries joining Grey on the Radio winning Lions list were LG2 with “Gandhi” for Société de l’assurance automobile du Quebec, which was given a Silver, and Juniper Park, which landed a Bronze Lion for “That’s No Joke,” “Not a Game” and “Change that Tune” for the YWCA.

The Grand Prix was given to Grey Germany and Soundcloud for their seven minute and thirty-seven second spot “The Berlin Wall of Sound.”

“We listened to 26 hours of audio in the last couple of days and it was a pleasure,” said jury president Paul Reardon, who is the executive creative director of Whybin\TBWA Melbourne. “Not all those 26 hours were good. In fact a lot of them you find yourself wondering ‘I don’t know how anyone could have thought that would actually be the best in the world,’” he said. But that makes finding the truly inspirational work, like “The Berlin Wall of Sound,” so exciting.

Described as an “acoustic reconstruction of the Berlin Wall to remember its victims,” the audio experience — subtitled “The Most Unbearable Radio Ad” — is both a promotional piece for the audio platform SoundCloud and an unsettling memorial produced for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The visual waveform of the audio familiar to users of Soundcloud was used to recreate the wall complete with audio gunshots and barking dogs, which produced spikes in the waveform for the watchtowers that dotted the wall.


It’s 7:32 long because that is how long it would take sound to travel the length of the Berlin Wall.

“It is not a traditional radio spot, but as we are finding and as we discussed, that term seems to be changing by the week,” said Reardon.

It was a powerful memorial to those who suffered behind the Berlin Wall and died trying to get over it, but it was also incredibly relevant to the Soundcloud brand because it reminded people of what is possible with audio, said Reardon.

“It was very, very moving, strategically correct and flawlessly crafted.”

Commenting on the “unbearable” subtitle of the entry, Reardon said he thought they got it wrong. “We all heard 45-second spots, spots that went for a minute-and-a-half earlier this week that were far more unbearable. They were overwritten and it was just a voiceover yelling at us. And then by the end of it you never wanted to hear it again.”

“The Berlin Wall of Sound” did not have that effect on the jury at all, he said.

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