21 June 2008

CANNES: Somewhere along the French Riviera in the most expensive beach town of Cannes is where advertising professionals from the world over gather to celebrate excellence at the Cannes International Advertising Festival every year. This event is considered the true ‘Olympics’ of advertising and winning here is a sure step towards advertising stardom worldwide. A week long festival of talks, seminars, screenings, parties, bumping into ad celebrities, exhibitions and more…

Not many Malaysians may know of this, but Malaysia won its first Cannes Grand Prix in Outdoor at this festival three years ago, Asia’s second ever since the festival started 52 years ago then.

While the Jalur Gemilang was paraded across Cannes’ main thoroughfare the Le Croissette, Malaysia’s finest hour came a year later when we clinched Asia’s No. 1 creative nation status at the festival. This marked a milestone and Malaysia was finally on the world stage of award-winning creative excellence.

It is with this pride that I landed in Cannes this year to cover the festival, I think this is my 5th sojourn to this advertising mecca. But this year was just too crowded for me, and after days of bread, pasta and steak, I wanted nothing more than some good old Rawa Thosai!

This year, a record number of entries have been entered into Cannes Lions. More than 28,000 entries from 85 countries competed for the coveted Lions. There was a 10.2% increase in entries versus last year. Without taking into account the new Design Lions category, the increase is 5.8%.

"We are seeing strong growth right across the categories and right across the world," said Philip Thomas, Festival CEO. "This is the fifth year in a row that we have seen record entries into Cannes, another indication that agencies and clients across the world are embracing creativity and wishing to showcase their work at a global level at the Festival."The launch of Design has been particularly exciting. When we launch a new section at Cannes, there is clearly a minimum number of entries that make it a worthwhile thing to do, and a worthwhile global competition to take part in. Design has outstripped even our most optimistic estimates; with over 1,100 entries it has established itself, in year one, as a major trophy to compete for, and will be a major Lion to win," continued Thomas.

Much of the growth has once again come from the newer categories, with Promo, Media and Titanium & Integrated particularly strong. But the more established categories are also buoyant - there is growth in Press and Outdoor, and Film has reversed a three-year trend of decline, mainly due to the Film section being expanded this year to include categories for films created for transmission on screens other than TV and cinema.

As expected, there is much activity from the booming regions of the world with The Middle East, China, Russia, and India all showing spectacular growth. But there are also more entries from more established players, such as the USA, UK, Germany, Spain, and Brazil which have all grown in entries this year.

Malaysia Boleh
Malaysia had a delegation of about 20 this year but our showing in Cannes did not lack its usual lustre. While many said that this is India’s year, it won a Grand Prix in Direct and an Integrated Lion, Malaysia hero came in the form of Saatchi & Saatchi’s Adrian ‘Metal’ Miller who’s agency scored with 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze and 28 Finalists!

In the Outdoor category, Saatchi & Saatchi Malaysia led the way with 1 Gold for Silverfish Books’ campaign,1 Silver for Procter & Gamble’s campaign for Safeguard Anti-Bacterial Soap and 1 Bronze for Guinness Anchor’s Drink Driving campaign. BBDO/Proximity Malaysia also got a taste of Cannes fame when they won a well-deserved Gold for Chrysler Korea’s campaign for Jeep in Outdoor.

In Radio, Y&R Malaysia had a strong showing clinching 1 Silver for Colgate-Palmolive’s 360 toothbrush and 1 Bronze for A W Faber-Castell’s UHU Glue spot.

In the Press Category, Saatchi & Saatchi won 1 Silver Lion for Guinness Anchor’s Anti Drink-Driving and 1 Bronze Lion for Procter & Gambles Anti-Bacterial soap campaign. While Ogilvy & Mather picked up 1 Bronze Lion for their Anti-Smoking print ad for Advertisers Without Borders.

Adrian ‘Metal’ Miller conquers Cannes this year

But the best was saved for the last. In the Film Category was where we created history for the country. Leo Burnett/ Arc Worldwide Malaysia won a Gold for their Petronas TVC, titled ‘Tan Hong Ming’ (its 20th awards this year!) and a Bronze for the same campaign titled ‘Race”. Acclaimed creative director and film maker Yasmin Ahmad was the force behind this work. But what was more important that a Malaysian tvc has won a Gold Cannes Lions – a feat never accomplished before. Take a bow!


Malaysian Radio shines in Cannes
AdFest Best of Show winner, 'Brushing' picked up a Silver Cannes Lion for Y&R Malaysia who also won a Bronze in this category. This is a significant development for our radio industry applauding Malaysia’s creative standards when it comes to Radio.

Cannes Grand Prix Winners 2008
The were 2 Film Grand Prix winners this year: Fallon London with their Gorilla tvc for client Cadbury. And McCann Worldgroup San Francisco with their Xbox 360/’Halo 3’ Video Game campaign for client Microsoft.

The Promo Grand Prix was awarded to BBDO New York and the Direct Grand Prix went to JWT India, Mumbai.

The Press Grand Prix went to DDB South Africa for their Energizer batteries campaign Paint. The first ever Design Grand Prix was awarded to Turner Duckworth: London and San Francisco for Coca-Cola.

The three Cyber Lions Grand Prix went to Projector Tokyo for Uniqlo’s Uniqlock, in the Website and Interactive Campaigns category, the Online Advertising Grand Prix was awarded to Mediafront Oslo for the Scandanavian Online entry Sol Comments and 42 Entertainment Pasadena won the Viral Advertising Grand Prix for Trent Reznor/Nin’s

The Media Grand Prix went to Forsman & Bodenfors Gothenburg, for the AMF Pension Funds entry MMS while the Outdoor Grand Prix was awarded to BBDO New York, for the HBO Voyeur Projection Installation. And Dentsu Tokyo won the Radio Grand Prix for the Canon Marketing entry Shutter.

Ad Agency of the Year award went to BBD New York and Network of the Year was also BBDO. Sir Anthony O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Independent News and Media PLC (INM), was honoured with the prestigious title of Media Person of the Year.

"I’ll end this piece with a quote from our very own Tony Savarimuthu, CEO of McCann Erickson Malaysia and Vice President of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As) Malaysia, who attended his first Cannes this year: “Malaysia’s maiden Gold Lion for film at Cannes was applauded enthusiastically at the various screenings I attended. LB and Yasmin Ahmad have achieved something very important for Malaysia. The hope that it represents for us as a professional community and as a nation with some serious and significant issues ahead of us proves that effective communication is a force which can be used to bring about positive change in society.”

And now for that Rawa Thosai!

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