Gatorade Campaign Takes Top PR Honors at Cannes
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Gatorade Campaign Takes Top PR Honors at Cannes

A campaign to relive a high-school American football game has taken top PR honours at this year’s Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.

Arun Sudhaman

CANNES—A campaign to relive a high-school American football game has taken top PR honours at this year’s Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.

“Replay”, by Gatorade, won the Grand Prix out of 571 entries to the Cannes Lions PR category, now in its second year. The campaign was devised by advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day in LA.

12 Gold Lions were handed out this year, with advertising agencies again proving more successful than their PR counterparts. Sweden’s Prime PR submitted a strong performance with two golds: for “Carwinism” on behalf of Audi Sweden, and Kraft Foods’ “Save Christmas” campaign.

The other conventional PR agencies to win Gold Lions were Fleishman-Hillard, for a consumer campaign on behalf of the Papa John’s pizza chain in the US, and Italian firm Barabino & Partners, which scored two golds for Heineken’s ‘Auditorium Football’ campaign.

Other golds went to DDB and Jung von Matt in Germany, Finnish ad agency Taivas, and Belgium’s Boondoggle.

A further 31 Silver Lions were handed out, from an initial shortlist of 87 entries. Judges, drawn from PR agencies around the world, praised the Gatorade programme for its appeal to people at an “emotional level.”

“It had a very clear correlation between strategy through the material results”, said jury president and Hill & Knowlton global chairman and CEO Paul Taaffe. “The execution was multi-platform and it was PR-centric in its idea about something that was real and true.”

Jurors also flagged up a disappointing performance from the more mature PR economies of the US and the UK. While the US took home two golds and three silvers in addition to its Grand Prix, the UK won just four Silver Lions.

 Instead, the jury pointed to impressive campaigns from Sweden, Brazil, Australia and Spain.

“The small countries are giving the large countries a run for their money,” said Taaffe. “Those markets have a tradition of risk-taking.”

 

In total, countries from the Asia-Pacific region won six silvers. Germany, meanwhile, scored three golds and one silver.

“We tend to think that London and New York are the creative centres of PR, but it is increasingly places like Stockholm and Mumbai,” said juror and Weber Shandwick Europe CEO Colin Byrne. “It is a bit of a wake-up call for the industry. A lot of what I saw from the UK was pretty pedestrian.”

No awards were handed out in traditional PR categories such as crisis comms, public affairs and internal comms. “Judges felt the quality of entries was not enough,” said Taaffe.

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