It’s really kicking off here in Cannes now. I know this because Peri van Papendorp did “the worm” at Tuesday night’s opening gala. And so he should. Ogilvy Cape Town upped it’s Lion count to five, with two Silver Lions for Volkswagen ‘Bluemotion Label‘ and Carling Black Label ‘Be the Coach’. We also got South Africa’s first ever Mobile Lion. There was much ululating and downing of tequila shots and yeeehaaaaing. South Africa also picked up two Silvers in Outdoor for Y&R’s Landrover “Eyes” work and the Hunt Lascaris Campaign for Enterprise meats ‘Thicker slices“.
Earlier in the evening we had taken in some of the best work yet in the Outdoor, Mobile and Media Lions ceremony. Once again one of the big themes for the year emerged, shiny new tech embedded in really good ideas, like the fabulous ‘Invisible drive‘ for Merecedes Benz from the geniuses at Jung Von Matt in Hamburg. It won one of 2 Grand Prix’s in Outdoor last night. The Germans really seem to be ahead in the application of all the new digital tech and platforms, probably because they are developing and perfecting most of them. Provided it’s only there they keep striving for world domination then we’ll all be safe. The other Grand Prix went to our very own Ogilvy China. Fabulous story behind this one. The Art Director who did the work, Jonathan Mak Long, is 20 years old. It is his first year in advertising. This is one of the first pieces of work he has ever done. So it’s all falling into place quite nicely for him.
The big story of the night was the first ever Mobile Lions Ceremony. The words Mobile Creativity generally do not inspire stratospheric levels of goose-bumpy possibility in your average creative person, but they should now. The work was top class. Some of my favourite pieces of the whole bloody over-priced circus that is Cannes were on show last night. The Mobile Grand Prix went to the incredible ‘Hilltop Re-imagined‘ work for Coke, all part of Google’s project:rebrief. More about that later. The ‘Fake Ad’ for Bradesco Seguros by Almap BBDO Brasil was the first piece of truly great work created specifically for iPad, we’ll be kicking ourselves for ages that we didn’t think of it first. And then another of my favourites won Gold, the genius ‘Backseat Driver’ idea for Toyota by Party in Tokyo (remember the small Japanese man who told us we were all shit, well this was his work, clearly he is not shit).
And on to Media Lions, which also threw up some great stuff. Predictably the Carlsberg ‘Bikers‘ were in there by Belgian agency Duvall Guillaume Modem, a viral that everybody watched loads of times. This familiarity has been a feature of the work this year, a lot of it is already very well known because of the viral nature of really good, absorbing content, I suppose that gives it extra momentum coming in to Cannes. Finally there were 2 Golds for absolutely beautiful ideas. The first, by Saatchi’s Milan, was Integration Day a piece done for World Down’s Syndrome Day. It is remarkable, please watch it. Then there was the Stumbling Stones from Jung Von Matt Hamburg, a piece done to remind young Germans of the horrors of the Holocaust. Apparently over 50 percent of them are blissfully unaware it ever happened.
Today I saw a presentation on Google’s landmark work, :project rebrief. Seated at the front of the room were some of the greatest creatives of all time, heroes of the ad revolution of the sixties. They presided, in their careers, over the advent of television, the last great technology transformation in advertising. It was fascinating to hear their thoughts on the digital transformation we are undergoing now, you could feel history shifting around you, goose bumpy stuff. I sat a few feet away from Helmut Krone’s writer Paula Green, responsible for ‘We’re number 2, that’s why we try harder‘.
Amil Gargano was there too, creator of ‘Drive it like you hate it‘ for Volvo. And also Harvey Gabor, the man who did the most famous Coke commercial of all time ‘Hilltop’. Harvey is in his 80′s, has had a stroke, and struggles to talk, but he was profound and feisty and inspiring about how creative people should go about their business. The google : rebrief project has inspired a full length documentary feature, which will be premiering at Cannes on Friday. Can’t wait.
From there it was on to a Workshop with Geoff Goodby of Goodby Silverstein, the man who gave us pieces of ad history like Budweiser Lizards and Got Milk. The title of his talk was “Why aren’t they buying my brilliant fucking idea? This is a question I frequently ask myself. Geoff answered it very well. I will try to remember what he said and let you all know when I get home. It may come in handy one day, possibly as early as next week.
Tonight (Wednesday night, although you will probably be reading this on Thursday, stay with me here) we have the Radio Lions, Press, Cyber and Design. South Africa has a veritable light brigade of Shortlists which are sure to come lolloping home with Lions. Well, hopefully anyway. We are “traditionally strong” in Radio and Print, whatever that means (It would be a good thing if we became “traditionally strong” in digital and mobile pretty smartly). As a country we are heading for the biggest haul of Lions we have ever had at Cannes. As an agency we at Ogilvy Cape Town are already having our best year ever at Cannes. I am so proud of everything that has happened this week. Here’s hoping we are in for a few more surprises. If anything it would give me a superb reason to have a celebratory bag of Maltesers.
Chris Gotz is executive creative director of Ogilvy Cape Town and chairman of Creative Circle.