Nike+ wins Titanium Grand Prix

June 23, 2012  |  David Brown and Jeromy Lloyd  |  Comments

A digital wristband that gamifies physical fitness, a hologram of a long-dead hip hop icon, and tiny messages of peace that lit up the jungle rivers of Colombia. These are the kinds of ideas that enamoured the Cannes Lions Titanium & Integrated jury in 2012—and the jury rewarded them handsomely Saturday night.

A Titanium Grand Prix went to Nike and R/GA New York for Nike+ Fuelband, a bracelet that measures all physical activity of the wearer and tracks it against goals. The Fuelband was supported with a multimedia campaign that used “Everything you do counts” as the brand platform.

The  jury also awarded Nike and R/GA a Gold Lion in the Integrated categories, and the work won a Grand Prix earlier in the week in the Cyber competition.

Titanium & Integrated jury president and Crispin Porter + Bogusky chief creative officer Rob Reilly said what impressed him was that Nike and R/GA took what was a hugely successful product with runners, Nike+, and adapted it for a mass audience.

“When you have an agency and a client working so closely together, the result is an incredible product, but incredible design and the communication around it was incredible also,” said Reilly. “The whole thing was just perfect.”

While Titanium remains virtually indefinable, in many ways it has also come to define the Cannes Festival in an era when the industry is undergoing seismic shifts.

The winning work is usually much more than an ad campaign, created outside the traditional categories and media that have served as advertising parameters for decades.

“I think it can be anything,” said Reilly. “It could be a product, it could be a gesture by a client that is incredibly brave. It could be a piece of technology.”

“We want to reward things that maybe don’t have a place [in traditional categories] but not exclude things that have been [an] amazing piece of communication also.”

Aside from the Grand Prix, four Titanium Lions were awarded (Cannes does not award gold, silver or bronze in Titanium):

• The holographic performance by Tupac at this spring’s Coachella festival won for Chronic Touring, with Dr. Dre listed as the advertiser;

Kraft’s “Ted Williams Fights Hunger” campaign (remember with homeless man with the perfect FM radio voice?) made the list for Crispin Porter + Bogusky;

• “Rivers of Lights” from Lowe-SSP3 Bogota and the Colombian government saw small glowing spheres floated down rivers to guerrilla fighters during the Christmas season. Inside were messages urging the fighters to leave the jungle, and their war, behind;

Honda and Dentsu acted quickly after the devastating Japenese earthquake last March, turning the automaker’s Internavi navigation system into a useful tool that mapped out which roads were still in use.

Last year, there was no Titanium Grand Prix, in 2010 it was Best Buy’s “Twelpforce,” and the year before that, the “Obama For American” campaign.

Canada submitted 11 submissions to the Titanium & Integrated competition this year, down from 19 last year, though none of them made the shortlist.

A clear theme across the Titnium and Integrated winners list was work that promoted good causes or brands’ cause related efforts. (In fact, this was a theme through most of the awards competitions in Cannes this year.)

The winning work is a real reflection of where the industry is going, said judge Rob Schwartz of TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Agencies are trying to solve problems and promote things like peace, he said. “That’s a pretty good product.”

“It is not purely advertising, it is communication in the best sense, changing how we communicate in society,” added Fred Koblinger, CEO for BBDO Group, Austria.

Much of the winning work is there because the agency and client have “chosen a way to communicate to solve problems of society rather than problems of economy.“

“In advertising, more so now than ever, we have the opportunity not only to talk about a problem, but to help solve that problem,” said Ted Royer, executive creative director for Droga5.

“The most innovative ideas we saw solved problems. To me, that’s more inspiring. Making people ‘aware’ is easier. Being part of the solution is inspiring. More and more, agencies are getting invited into that conversation.”

As for the Integrated side of the competition, no Grand Prix was awarded and just two entries were given Gold Lions. Aside from Nike+, the other Gold Lion went to Droga5 for “Day One” for Prudential.The jury also awarded five Silver Lions and seven Bronze Lions.

Total entries to the competition were up 8% in 2012, with 517 submissions compared to 480 last year.

For news on all Cannes Lions competitions and Canadian winners, visit Marketing @ Cannes.

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