Against a background of sustained booing and whistling, the president of the Cannes International Advertising Festival jury, Frank Lowe, presented the Agency of the Year award to Lowe Howard-Spink of London, part of the Lowe Group of which he is chairman and chief executive.
It was the culmination of a bad night for Lowe. The jury’s decision not to give a Grand Prix for film commercials – or for press and poster work earlier in the week – provoked outrage.
“This festival is about standards, quality and honouring great work – or it’s about giving Lions/awards to people to take home. If it’s about standards, then the standards of our business will improve,” said Lowe, for which he finally won applause.
He told the Cannes audience that AMV.BBDO’s ad to raise funds for disabled people would have won the Grand Prix, but because it was a charity ad it was not eligible. The work shows a disabled woman, who only had the use of her mouth, making scrambled eggs on toast. The commercial ends with the line: “After what you’ve just seen, do you still find if so difficult to write a cheque?” It was given the special jury award instead.
The top five agencies of the year, judged on the basis of the number of prizes gained, were all British. UK agencies also won three of the top ten Gold Lion awards: AMV for Volvo, Lowe Howard-Spink for Tesco and Bartle Bogle Hegarty for its Levi’s Drugstore ad, which also won the journalists’ award.
Among the Gold Lion winners was the Inner-tube campaign for Pepsi by BBDO New York. It shows a boy trying so hard to suck up the last drop from a Pepsi bottle that he sucks himself into it.
Chiat/Day in the US won a Gold Lion for its ad for Sunkist California Pistachios.