This story has been updated.
Leo Burnett has won a Bronze in the Media Lions competition at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
The award—Canada’s only medal in the Media contest—was for IKEA‘s “Moving Day Wild Postings,” which saw the DIY furniture retailer place free branded moving boxes around Montreal on the July 1st long weekend (when many Montrealers move). Passersby were welcome to take the boxes, which also had coupons printed on the side.
Sunni Boot, president and CEO of ZenithOptimedia in Canada and Media jury member, thought the work was strong and lobbied to have it moved up to a Silver.
“We were a couple of votes away from getting it a Silver,” she said. “I think [the jury] felt that the insight was wonderful and the execution was simple and it had good results, but that there were other [submissions] that were more worthy.”
Boot said she had a personal debate over whether the case presented by Leo Burnett (for which Jungle Media was listed as a media agency partner) was more a creative bid than a media presentation, but ultimately decided the question was unimportant in the modern marketing environment. “Three years ago, I would have drawn strict lines on whether it was a media idea or a creative idea. But now I’ve come around; that doesn’t matter as much.”
There were eight Canadian entries shortlisted in Media altogether.
The Media Grand Prix went to Google for its “Google Voice Search” campaign, entered by media agency Manning Gottlieb OMDin London. The campaign built a database of highly trafficked areas in London where tourists would likely look for information about landmarks or events. It then ran text-only posters (a decidely old-school media choice) with the phonetic spellings of relevant search queries.
The city’s visitors could then use Google’s voice search to find “koh-vunt gar-duhn” or “oks-fuhd cur-khus” (Covent Garden and Oxford Circus, respectively).
Boot garnered attention during the Media jury press conference when she referenced several not-for-profit projects that “knocked it out of the ballpark” and won Gold Lions, but were ineligible for the Grand Prix award because of their non-profit status. Citing “Mobile Medic” for the Australian Defence Force and “BHF – Vinnie” for the British Heart Foundation, the ZenithOptimedia president was soon answering questions about the rule excluding not-for-profits from the top honour.
The media discipline, she argued, remains the same whether the client is a paying corporation or not. “I would argue that, for next year, they should not be cast aside [or] you’ll pass by some wonderful work and categories.”
Canadian agencies accounted for 90 of Media’s more than 3,200 total entries. The contest, like Canada’s involvement in it, increased dramatically this year from the more than 2,800 entries filed in 2011 (when Canada entered only 59 submissions).
Twelve Golds (including the Grand Prix) were awarded alongside 28 Silvers and 67 Bronzes this year.
Tuesday night also saw the awarding of the second annual Creative Effectiveness Lions. These awards honour past Lion winners or shortlisters that demonstrate solid results against their marketing strategies.
No Canadians were shortlisted in this competition.
The Grand Prix went to Unilever‘s Axe campaign for its Excite label by BBH London. The centrepiece of the campaign was a film spot showing angels leaving heaven and smashing their halos to be with a mere mortal (made sexier, of course, by his Axe body spray).
David Jones, jury president and global chief creative officer of Havas & Euro RSCG, said the Unilever’s case study was “incredible.”
“It went out of its way to account for pricing issues, promotional issues, distribution issues,” to show how the marketing campaign specifically led to increased sales of Excite, said Jones.
This competition did see a significant drop in entries in year two, garnering 92 submissions versus 142 in 2011. Cannes Lions CEO Philip Thomas said this is not a matter of concern for the festival.
“I think a number of people [last year] went ‘What a great way to win another Lion. I’m going to enter that.’ They’re learning that it is extraordinarily difficult to win this,” Thomas said. “A number of global agencies I’ve spoken to have said where they might have entered five times last year, they’ve told me they’re now entering two. It’s just a settling-down.
“We’re looking for quality, not quantity.”
Submissions among the winners were typically inch-thick documents that the jury reviewed over the course of eight weeks prior to the start of the festival.
Canadian agencies also won medals in the Outdoor and Mobile contests.
For all of Marketing‘s coverage of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, visit Marketing @ Cannes.
UPDATE: Marketingoriginally reported that Jungle Media had won the Bronze Lion for IKEA’s “Moving Day” wild postings. This was the result of conversations with the Media jury and information released by Cannes Lions. This story has been updated to reflect that Leo Burnett, the creative agency behind the work, has been given the award. Jungle Media was involved in the campaign and was listed on the Cannes Lion entry form as the media agency on the project.