Ad agencies win big at Cannes PR Lions

CANNES, FRANCE: Advertising agencies won the Grand Prix and the majority of the Gold and Silver awards at the Cannes PR Lions on Monday, with the top prize going to JWT San Juan.

CANNES, FRANCE: Advertising agencies won the Grand Prix and the majority of the Gold and Silver awards at the Cannes PR Lions on Monday, with the top prize going to JWT San Juan.

JWT won the Grand Prix for its “The Most Popular Song” campaign for Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, which focused on improving the bank's image by putting the country's economic situation in a more positive light. Since 60% of the Puerto Rican population lives on government assistance, JWT San Juan asked salsa band El Grand Combo to rewrite the hit song “No Hago Más Ná,” or “I Do Nothing,” to send a different message to citizens.

The rerecorded song went to the top of the music charts and Banco Popular's image and reputation reached record highs, according to the Cannes Lions.

“It combined elements in a way that spoke to the equity of the brand,” said Gail Heimann, global vice chair at Weber Shandwick and 2012 PR jury president for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. “It galvanized people in Puerto Rico and brought them together around the campaign. It sparked a dialogue that is very unusual in this category.”

Last year, an advertising agency also won the Grand Prix for a campaign for a banking client, with the award going to Australia's Clemenger BBDO for a National Australia Bank initiative.

US Gold award winners included R/GA New York, which won Gold Lions for both the Best Use of Social Media and the Media, Arts, and Entertainment categories for the One Copy Song Facebook App it created for Swedish hip-hop artist Adam Tensta. Leo Burnett Detroit won in the Public Affairs category for the “Book Burning Party” campaign for the Troy Public Library.

Leo Burnett also received a Silver Lion in the Best Use of Social Media category for the Book Burning Party effort.

McCann Erickson New York also received a Silver Lion in the Best Use of Social Media category for its Trayvon Martin public awareness campaign for The Parks & Crump Law Firm. The “#MillionHoodies for Trayvon Martin” initiative, which raised awareness about the unarmed teenager who was shot to death, won another Silver Lion in the Charity and Not for Profit sector.

Another Silver Lion recipient was Ogilvy & Mather London, which won the award in the Consumer Goods category for its work with Unilever on its “Dove Ad Makeover” campaign.

The only big network PR firm that took home an award was MSL Nordic Stockholm, which won a Bronze Lion in the Consumer Goods including FMCG and Household Products division for its interactive Ariel Fashion Shoot for Procter & Gamble Nordic's Ariel Actilift Liquid Detergent brand.

However, Swedish PR firm Prime had a good evening, winning three Silver and one Bronze PR Lions. Prime won Silver for its "Plumbers Without Borders" campaign for Comfort in the Internal Communications category, and "Kids' Kitchen" for Abba Seafood for Best Use of Live Events/Stunts and Best Launch or Re-launch. It won Bronze for "No News is Big News" for Telia in the Corporate Communication category.

“The winners were testaments to a changing industry. They were all multichannel and multiplatform. There was not much 'traditional' PR,” said Heimann. “The jury got excited about brands that were acting with purpose and doing good.”

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