Canada has a big pair — of Grand Prix, that is

Unilever's Dove 'Evolution,' out of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, scooped two Grand Prix for Canada at Cannes Lions 2007. The first was in the increasingly important Cyber category, the Viral Grand Prix. On the day of the Cyber awards, O&M's Nancy Vonk described the team's reaction: 'We got word from Cannes about the big one about two minutes before boarding our flight. Picture a group of five-year-olds on Christmas day, the moment they spot the big score they really didn't think Santa could pull off. It doesn't get much better than Cyber Grand Prix.' Well, actually, it did. The Dove work also won the top nod in the coveted Film category.

Unilever’s Dove ‘Evolution,’ out of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, scooped two Grand Prix for Canada at Cannes Lions 2007. The first was in the increasingly important Cyber category, the Viral Grand Prix. On the day of the Cyber awards, O&M’s Nancy Vonk described the team’s reaction: ‘We got word from Cannes about the big one about two minutes before boarding our flight. Picture a group of five-year-olds on Christmas day, the moment they spot the big score they really didn’t think Santa could pull off. It doesn’t get much better than Cyber Grand Prix.’ Well, actually, it did. The Dove work also won the top nod in the coveted Film category.

In all, the Film jury awarded six Lions to Canada, and Canada’s total Lion tally for 2007 was 17. This ties with Canada’s 2005 haul and surpasses last year’s 15.

The Film Grand Prix for Dove was controversial, as the jury moved the spot from the Funds & Appeals category it was entered in to make it eligible for the Grand Prix, explaining that it was rightfully a corporate campaign despite its promotion of a CSR effort. ‘We felt strongly enough about it to award it the Grand Prix,’ says film jury president Bob Scarpelli, chair/CCO, DDB Worldwide. ‘We felt it was the best of the best this year.’

The jury described ‘Evolution’ as a very literal comment on the future of ad films, due to its viral beginnings and its social activism position, as well as the fact that it cements the trend of large CPG players coming up with the best work.

‘I think we’re seeing an evolution [of CPG companies],’ says Scarpelli. ‘I think we have to applaud Unilever here. The bigger companies are realizing you have to engage people, and the way you need to reach the consumer has changed.’

Here are the big Film ideas that made the cut from Canada:

A Gold Lion went to ‘Wombleminki’ for Pfizer’s Viagra out of Taxi Toronto, and the campaign also won a Silver campaign Lion. Scarpelli says they singled out ‘Wombleminki’ because ‘it reflected a woman’s POV, and deserved special recognition.’

The Fight Network won a Gold campaign Lion for the work out of Cossette Communication-Marketing Toronto. It was commended by the jury for its simplicity and brilliant reflection of the product. The spots feature an agitated man going around town picking fights.

Holiday Inn’s ‘Long Goodnight’ spot by John St. Toronto won a Bronze Lion. And ‘Memorials,’ another Taxi Toronto spot for ORNGE Ontario Air Ambulance Services also took a Bronze Lion.

Cyber: In addition to Dove’s Viral Grand Prix, two Cyber Golds were swooped up by Taxi Montreal’s ‘See More Side Effects’ sexy website created for Reversa. The Golds were meted out for the brand’s banner ad campaign and the microsite, which features an older woman whose anti-aging regimen’s ‘side effect’ is the attention of buff young men. Taxi VP design and interactive CD Steve Mykolyn describes the Reversa work as ‘an Axe campaign for smart people.’

Canada also won a Bronze Lion for Sid Lee Montreal’s MGM Grand website.

Press: Canada’s sole Lion was a Vancouver score. Rethink took Silver Campaign Lion for its four-ad series for Playland Amusement Park.

Outdoor: Canadians scooped three Cannes Lions for their OOH efforts. DDB Canada won a Silver Campaign Lion for its Braintrust Canada work out of Vancouver. ‘Let there be Xenon’ for Mini Canada out of Taxi took a Bronze Lion. And campaign Bronze went to JWT Toronto for ‘WASHYOURHANDS.TV. ‘

Media: Gold went to Zig, with ‘Get Scared More Often’ for Scream TV. Zig also took a silver Lion for its haunted house mystery work on behalf of Corus’ Scream channel, and tied for third place as Media Agency of the Year.

Direct: Bronze went to Leo Burnett Canada, for a campaign for Ariss Brothers Propane. Ariss Brothers is a small business in Southwestern Ontario, and hardly a sexy category, yet Leo B CD Kelly Zettle managed to make it fun and exceptional.

Congrats to all from Mary Maddever and the team at strategy

For the full report on Canada at Cannes, all the trends + Canadian industry exec blogs, see mediaincanada.com