Canada shut out in Press

June 20, 2012  |  David Brown  |  Comments

Canada emerged empty handed from the Press awards ceremony in Cannes Wednesday night.

The odds were always long since only LG2 made the shortlist for its Sears Optical campaign.

The jury, which was without a Canadian representative, awarded 94 Lions in total, 13 of which were Gold.

The Grand Prix went to Benetton and its agencies Fabrica Treviso from Italy with an assist from 72 and Sunny in Amsterdam for “Unhate,” a three-execution campaign which showed pairs of famous political enemies locked in rather passionate kisses.

“We chose this because it’s a pointed message,” said Tham Khai Meng, worldwide chief creative officer for Ogilvy & Mather, during the press conference to announce the winners Wednesday morning.

The jury was asked how such a strong political statement would help the Benetton brand.

The judges were unequivocal about the importance of marketers having a stronger voice on significant matters and events, so long as it fits with the brand history. And Benetton has long been known for weighing in on important global issues.

“It has heart impact, it has gut impact, a very strong emotional impact,” said Meng. “It goes beyond advertising, and has it had brand impact? You bet.”

It’s not an ad to sell a sweater, said Nigel Dawson, creative director for Grey Australia. But it helps the brand stand out and when a consumer is considering entering a store or not, that “Unhate” message will help draw them in.

“It’s a branded humantarian ad,” said Dawson, that helps the brand “stand out hugely.”

Brands are some of the “biggest residents in the world,” added Grant Jacobsen, executive creative director for DDB South Africa. “Brands have a right as global citizens to have a point of view.”

The judges also pointed out that “Unhate” demonstrates that print still has power in a digital age, and can go viral just like anything online. A campaign with a small budget became a global campaign because people were talking about it and sharing it, said Steve Jones, creative partner, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO London.

“What a great comeback for print,” added Komal Bedi Sohal, executive CD for Lowe Mena in the UAE.

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