The media had a field day at the announcement of the Films Lions on June 23, 2007 when the jury, headed by Bob Scarpelli, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, DDB Worldwide, was asked how an entry that was never shortlisted in a particular category won the Grand Prix for Films. The entry in question is the much appreciated and written about communication for Unilever’s Dove Self Esteem Fund, done by O&M Toronto.
This entry was moved from the Fund Raising and Appeals category to Corporate Imaging category. As is known, any entry in the Fund Raising and Appeals category does not qualify for the Cannes Lions Grand Prix in any category. The jury moved the entry and simultaneously awarded it a Grand Prix as well.
Were they allowed to do that? Terry Savage, Festival Chairman, informed, “At Cannes Lions, the jury is in charge. When they come to us with a legitimate request, we don’t come in the way and that is what happened in this case.”
Scarpelli added, “There was no work that was better than this one in any category across the Films entries, and we thought that it deserved the Grand Prix.”
The move gave enough reasons to create controversy around the Grand Prix winner, but as is the case with perhaps any contest, the word of the jury is final.
An interesting trend that was seen in the Films awards was that films that were originally designed as viral films received more accolades than what is usually seen – cases in point were Dove’s Evolution and Code Red’s Hostel. Also, the number of entries in the category has been going down since 2004.
According to Scarpelli this was only a glimpse of the future. He said, “This is in any case not a television category, it is films. In the manner that the media landscape is changing, I don’t think the time is far when any kind of film, whether for the web or mobile, can be entered in this category.”