Obama campaign wins Cannes double

June 27, 2009

obama8As if winning the world’s premier political office wasn’t achievement enough, USA President Barack Obama has just added another accolade to his CV: winner of two Cannes Lions Grand Prixs in the Titanium and Integrated categories for the multi-platform media campaign that got him the job.

The jury for the categories, presided over by David Droga of New York’s Droga5, decided unanimously that there was no other close contender for the trophies. Speaking at a press conference prior to the awards ceremony, Droga defined the Titanium category as, “ideas that create a movement, bigger than just a disposable idea. Traditionally a public service campaign can’t win a grand prix. But Obama transcended that into becoming a brand that was created by the owner and the public. Our industry couldn’t ignore it. It’s inspiring, Obama sums up how our industry has changed.”

The jury were also keen to point out that the choice was a-political, citing the campaign’s breadth and depth as a truly integrated offering that made it the clear winner. “We didn’t vote for the man. It was a rational and unemotional decision. There will never be another political campaign that doesn’t use the tool the Obama campaign established.

Droga’s own agency also collected a titanium Lion, Droga’s third, for its component in the Obama presidential campaign. The film ‘the great schlep’ featuring comedian Sarah Silverman also collected a gold in the Direct Lions.

Spike Lee chooses MOFILM’s winner in Cannes

June 27, 2009

Acclaimed director Spike Lee kick-started a young filmmaker’s career in Cannes yesterday by announcing him the winner of the MOFILM user-generated content initiative.

 The competition led by MOFILM, a pioneer of crowd sourcing for entertainment and mobile, saw twelve global advertisers, including Nokia, Doritos, Kodak and Philips, hand over a real brief to consumers. The challenge was to produce a 30-second commercial for any of the various brands in 6 weeks.

Spike Lee - Cannes

Lee personally judged a shortlist of twelve films and whittled them down to a final three, before announcing 23 year-old Hiroki Ono of Japan the winner with his film for Nokia. All three finalists had been flown to the festival by the competition’s organisers.

Lee, famed for films such as Malcolm X, 25th Hour and Inside Man, has been the professor of film at New York University for the past twelve years and is a long-term advocate of raw film styles.

 “Anything that gives young people a chance to show what young people can do, I support,” said Lee. “You don’t need to be employed by an agency to make commercials. Before creativity was a lockdown. I’m 52 and my generation went to film school just to get access to equipment. Now they can say, ‘I don’t need to go to film school’.”

Picking up a mobile phone on the table in front of him, Lee said: “We’re coming to a time very soon where we’ll go into a theatre and see a film shot entirely on a mobile phone. You have to make your own breaks. You can’t wait for some hand to come down and anoint you the next Tarantino, or whoever.”

Annan and Geldof urge Cannes to promote Climate Justice.

June 26, 2009

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, and musician and campaigner Bob Geldof, launched the ‘Time for Climate Justice’ campaign in Cannes this morning on behalf of the Global Humanitarian Forum.


In a press conference ahead of their climate justice seminar at the Palais today, the pair unveiled the ‘tck tck tck’ device which is central to the campaign’s message. The work hopes to motivate people around the world to become climate allies by uploading their own personal ‘tck’.

The collective of videos will form a global petition in the form of a personalised ticking clock. The hope is to urge politicians to act decisively and with conviction at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on 7th December this year.

Introducing the concept of climate justice, Kofi Annan said: “Climate justice has, at its heart, the principal that pollution has a price and the polluter must pay. It addresses the issue that the world’s poor are carrying the heaviest burden for a problem they have done least to create.”

 Before beginning his part of the address, Bob Geldof passed on his condolences to the family of Michael Jackson who died yesterday, and spoke briefly of collaborating with the singer at the Live Aid event in 1985.

Though moving on to the topic of climate justice, he reverted to his firebrand self and spoke of the problem in explicit terms.  ”What we’re talking about is the death of humanity,” he said, citing examples of mass human migration across Africa due to the rapid desertification of the landscape. “I like humans. They fascinate me more than anything else on the planet. We need 1 trillion dollars, now, to put in radical measures. Carbon emissions must be cut by 30 percent by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050, or we will witness humanity’s death in our children’s life times.”

The campaign was created by Havas Euro RSCG worldwide and has open source access to all its logos. Advertisers, creative agencies and other interested parties can download any of the graphics to use for free in any communications.

Leo Burnett Beirut makes Film Lions shortlist.

June 25, 2009

Leo Burnett Beirut is the only regional agency to make the shortlists for the 2009 Film Lions in Cannes with its work for client Pert Plus.

The spot for the shampoo brand is called ‘Stop the suffering’ and features animated hair strands grieving after falling from a scalp and being washed down a plug hole. The work has already been recognised at Dubai Lynx this year where it picked up a gold.

The agency has already enjoyed success at this year’s Lions after scooping a PR gold for its ‘Khede Khasra’ campaign. The much garlanded work attempts to empower the region’s women by highlighting the Khasra punctuation mark which denotes femininity in the Arabic language.

The winners of the film Lions will be announced in a ceremony on Saturday night in Cannes.

Yes you Cannes, says Obama’s campaign manager.

June 25, 2009

After a stirring introductory film put together by DDB Chicago, the applause was loud and long when David Plouffe, manager and architect of Barack Obama’s boundary pushing presidential campaign, took the stage at Cannes this morning.

David Plouffe in Cannes

After extensive media coverage, the tactic of leveraging new media pursued by Plouffe to galvanise the USA’s electorate almost needed no explanation. But the capacity crowd was keen to hear the facts, figures and risks taken by the team first hand; particularly as Plouffe had an oratory ease to rival the man he so famously helped to power.

 As Plouffe was at pains to make clear, it was the combination of grassroots empowerment, plus digital, that had propelled Obama to power; the technology being an aid to help voters interact personally, one-to-one. The tactic mobilised an army of volunteers to their cause, 50 percent of whom had no prior political campaigning experience. It was, said Plouffe, an exercise in “giving people the responsibility to change the future of their country”. Beginning as no hopers, as Plouffe put it, they felt able to buck conventional campaigning wisdom.

 He also conceded that rival John McCain was actually the first candidate to raise substantial funds on the internet when he’d stood against Bush four years prior, though he had, suggested Plouffe, seemingly forgotten the lessons he’d learned. Obama’s team used personal fundraising, no matter how small, as the bedrock to their campaign and gained an average contribution of 85 dollars per fundraiser, who numbered in their hundreds of thousands.

 The fundamental component to the whole scheme, said Plouffe, was Obama himself, whom he described as a “great product”. “Nothing is more powerful than authenticity,” said Plouffe, citing Obama’s ability to connect with voters, and that people had a “sensitive bull**** meter”. With this in mind, the campaign team used YouTube vlogs to reiterate the message, with Obama and Plouffe himself reminding voters personally of what they needed to do to engender the change they craved.

Obama in Plouffe's presentation

 At the beginning of the campaign’s two-year journey, the now eponymous Twitter didn’t exist and only became a factor in the final stages of the campaign. The majority of the work was done, said Plouffe, by people taking the cause into their own hands and producing content outside the official campaign. The most famous examples being by musician Will-i-am and graffiti artist Shepard Fairey, who designed the now iconic Obama posters.

 The most famous self-initiated part of the campaign for Cannes delegates, though, was “The Great Schlep” film featuring comedian Sarah Silverman. The work, put together in conjunction with Droga5 New York, has just collected a gold in the Direct Lions.

Should it be called the world wide women’s web?

June 25, 2009

According to findings revealed in Cannes yesterday by BBDO and Proximity Worldwide, the age-old battle of the sexes has shifted venue to cyberspace.

 Despite the web being designed by men, for men, said the speaker, the internet has become a largely female domain, leading him to suggest it be renamed the worldwide women’s web.  

73% French men

Their comprehensive internet survey revealed that 63 percent of online purchases are made by women and the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is women over the age of 55. According to their findings, the nurturing of relationships is the single most motivating factor for the web’s female users.

 Men on the other hand are inspired by point scoring and game playing, with 84 percent of online fantasy role-playing games participated in by men. Despite males being the majority in specific sectors like gaming, the broader web has stronger feminine appeal, with sites like blogher.com enjoying over 8 million female users worldwide.

Press and design Lions bring in a silver and three bronzes

June 24, 2009

The press, design and cyber Lions are about to conclude in Cannes and they have brought home four more chunks of metal for the region.

 It was a double whammy for Y&R Dubai in the press Lions. The agency scooped a silver for its Landrover print campaign that offers menu tips to intrepid travellers, and a bronze for their Harvey Nichols ‘cause and effect’ work. The latter has enjoyed a successful awards season, having already pulled in a bronze and silver at this year’s Dubai Lynx awards.

Landrover Salmon

 TBWA\Raad Dubai has also got cause for celebration. It’s print campaign for  Beiersdorf brand Hansaplast, which shows the plaster’s instant healing properties, took a bronze print Lion. The campaign achieved the same accolade at Dubai Lynx this year.

Meanwhile over in the design section Dubai’s Landor Associates scored a bronze Lion for their brand identity for Aswaaq Supermarkets. It was the only design agency in the region to make it onto the Cannes shortlist.

The region’s two shortlisted cyber entries didn’t convert to metal this time.