The film jury at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity granted two Grand Prix awards at this year’s festival, giving equal honours to Harvey Nichols’ “Sorry I Spent It on Myself” and Volvo’s “Epic Split.”
Ad agency Adam&EveDDB in London created the Harvey Nichols ad. Forsman & Bodenfors in Gothenburg, Sweden, created the Volvo video.
The Volvo video featured movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme doing an improbable-looking split between two moving trucks. Each leg is set on a truck that is driving backward, while Van Damme keeps a calm expression on his face.
In his voiceover, Van Damme talks about having “a mind-set to master the most epic of splits.”The ad was designed to show off Volvo truck’s precision steering.
The Harvey Nichols “Sorry I Spent It on Myself” campaign focuses on people who buy their loved ones inexpensive holiday gifts, such as rubber bands and paper clips that come in Harvey Nichols-branded packaging, so they can spend more on themselves.
The retailer actually sold the cheap, unusual presents featured in its ad — and sold out in just under three days.
Harvey Nichols’ advertising approach was “brave” and “flew in the face of convention around holiday advertising,” said film jury member Pete Favat, who is the chief creative officer at ad agency Deutsch LA, in Los Angeles. “For a retailer to take their highest-selling season and do something like this is remarkably bold.”
He also praised the creative way that selfishness was made to be funny. “To take greed and make people laugh and smile about it is extremely difficult,” he said.
In turn, the Volvo ad stood out because “it really had the product at the heart of the story” and also delivered a big “emotional punch,” said film jury member Al Moseley, who is also president and chief creative officer at the ad firm 180 Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Other jury picks
The Film Lion awards focus on traditional TV and cinema advertising, as well as films created for the Internet and other digital screens.
Jury President Amir Kassei, global chief creative officer at DDB Worldwide, presided over 21 jury members from a broad mix of regions including the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe.
Kassei said that in online/internet film category, two others stood out. The first was fashion brand Wren’s “First Kiss, also part of the Saatchi New Directors Showcase, for which director Tatia Pilieva brought together complete strangers to engage in extended smooching sessions.
Kassei described the film as a “completely different way of telling a story and bringing up emotion.”
The second was “Sound of Honda — Ayrton Senna 1989” from Dentsu Tokyo, which recreated a record-winning lap by the F1 driver to promote the brand’s Internavi driving navigation system and also earned the titanium Grand Prix.
Kassei noted how the latter was an example of how you can create a story using technology, a “great example of how you can redefine film.”