Saturday night: the show to end all shows, the one people actually queue in line for. (Though markedly less so than in previous years, as tweeted by Influencia.) And while recession-spawned conservatism was accounted for, the jury hailed from all corners of the globe and generated cheers -- like rock stars.
Saw some awesome work over the next two hours, but it remains a shock who ultimately won what.
There was a lot of talk about how Cannes Lions '09 differed from previous years. I'd say there was a greater focus on how efforts addressed users directly, although creativity remains a big part of that. And given who won the Grands Prix for Titanium and Integrated, it may be the first year agencies must take into account that the user has become a legitimate advertiser himself.
This is no death-of-the-agency foretelling; it's simply a call to listen more closely and respond more intuitively to the crowd. We have spent so many years trying to contrive artificial emotional connections between products and people; it is only natural that, now that they're able, consumers demand to know why those connections should exist in the first place.
What does your company stand for? Does it listen and respond to me? Crucially, is it as willing to incorporate me into its message as I am to incorporate it into my life?
Grand Prix recipients, and a wee bit o' work, listed below.
For FILM: "Carousel" for Philips Cinema 21:9 by Tribal DDB Amsterdam.
This ad depicted a frozen heist-gone-wrong where you intuited the story as the camera panned. Online, you could hone in on parts of the film to see behind-the-scenes material, and manipulate the soundtrack.
Users could also change formats to 21:9 to witness the merits of the film quality: the caked makeup on the clowns, wrinkles on the cops, and that incredible moment where the guy flies through the glass, and you can see, through the shards, the different textures of his antagonist's face.
For TITANIUM/INTEGRATED: The Obama/Biden presidential campaign, which made sound use of all media and is perhaps best-known for turning its voting public into fanatic advertisers and evangelists.
That Obama's effort won both Titanium and Integrated Grands Prix was a shocker, but you could certainly see evidence of its influence in other ads throughout the week. One reporter told me that over 50 campaigns across all shortlists incorporated Obama in some way; "The Great Schlep," a Droga5 effort to get more geriatric Jewish Floridans to vote for Obama, won a Gold for Direct, for example.
And this piece, by Charles Stone III of the infamous Budweiser "Wassup" campaign from 2000, received separate recognition at the beginning of the awards ceremony on Saturday. (It won no awards because it didn't meet formal criteria.)
'Til next year.