Cannes Lions: Grey Canada wins Direct Gold

Grey takes home a Gold Lion for its cardboard record player for GGRP, while Leo Burnett nabs a Bronze for James Ready's coupon billboard.


The team at Grey Vancouver can smile today because an innovative piece of direct mail has made them winners. A cardboard record player that can be spun with a pencil for sound design shop GGRP (Griffiths Gibson Ramsay Productions) nabbed a Gold Lion in the Direct category. They wanted to show that a veteran production company can still deliver creativity, and it certainly convinced the jury. Joining Grey in the winners circle is Leo Burnett, earning a bronze for their ‘Coupon Billboard’ campaign for James Ready. The campaign allowed people to snap a picture of a billboard and bring it to local retailers for deals and discounts. The Canadian winners were two of 75 chosen as Lions-worthy, including 19 Gold.

The cardboard player was decidedly low-tech compared to the high-tech nature of many other entries, such as the Grand Prix winner, a campaign for Orcon Broadband by Special Group based in Auckland, New Zealand. The company wanted to demonstrate to New Zealanders that it had the fastest broadband around, and engaged them by holding a Facebook contest with rocker Iggy Pop. Contestants could go online and prove their mad drum (or bass, keyboard, etc.) skills, the winners then linked to Iggy in Miami via internet (Orcon Broadband, of course) to play on a re-recording of his song ‘The Passenger.’ Nine winners were chosen out of hundreds of submissions, which were viewed over 100,000 times.

The large jury – largest in the history of the festival, in fact – of 30 discussed the diversity of entries, from simple paper-and-ink DM to social media and product demos. They agreed that technology shouldn’t be used just for the sake of it, and that at the core, a successful idea is a way of looking at something in a different way. Peter van Leeuwen of Van Wanten Etcetera in the Netherlands noted the cardboard player as a prime example of simple, two-dimensional creative thinking.

‘There was a tremendous range between the old school direct and a lot of things around which the discussion became, is it really direct? Because it was pushing the boundaries so hard,’ said Canadian jury member Brenda McNeilly, VP/CD at Fuse Marketing Group. ‘I think that’s what was great about it, because it was everything from movies with multiple endings…to the military throwing messages to guerrilla soldiers into the jungle. Not all of those made the shortlist, but the range was tremendous and it was really inspiring to see.’

Promo & Activation

Canada came up empty handed in the Promo & Activation category, which saw 55 Lions handed out, including eight Golds. The Grand Prix was awarded to the US Gatorade campaign ‘Replay’ by LA-based TBWAChiatDay and Paragon Marketing Group (which also won Grand Prix in the PR category). To target consumers in their 30s who may not be as active as they once were, they invited former high school football teams to re-train, and then relive the glory by ‘replaying’ an old game, thus determining who the ‘true champions’ are. A live sold-out event brought in 10,000 fans, and footage spread across the web. ‘Replay’ also proved it has legs – it’s spreading to other sports like hockey, and you may soon see it on the small screen as a TV show.

The new name of the category, which now includes ‘activation,’ emphasizes that campaigns must truly inspire people to act, explained jury president Tina Manikas of Draftfcb in the US. It’s a three-act play, she noted – they must attract, then cause people to interact and act. Jury members also noted the integrated nature of entries this year – ideas that spread across all mediums, including, of course, social media. And advice for entering next year? Really understand the subcategory you’re entering and tailor your entry accordingly. Also, no Coldplay music in the entry videos.