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While everyone's all a Twitter over EA's Act of Lust booth babe stunt, consider this: If the Booth babes were Booth Dudes and the rules were the same, would anyone care?
Of course, encouraging people to "commit acts of lust" and then photograph it in order to get a chance to win "dinner and a sinful night with two hot girls, a limo service, paparazzi and a chest full of booty" isn't going to win any prizes at a church fund raising competition but let's break this one down a bit.
The "booty" referred to in the promotion is not the ass of the "two hot girls." It's a swag bag full of geeky goodness any fanboy would lust over as much as he might lust over a booth babe. The encouraged "act of lust" is most certainly not meant to get people to do anything rude, crude or disrespectful to a woman hired to play the role of booth babe. Anyone who might actually do that is just a loser and in need of castration.
While this promotion can certainly be seen as crossing the ever-moving, hard-to-define line of decency, it's not encouraging rape, prostitution or other unseemly (and illegal) behavior. It's simply using a time-tested - if not tired and lame - marketing strategy to get people to do what a marketer wants.
The "two hot girls" are obviously paid for their participation in this promotion and while we're sure they'd rather spend a night with some hot dude - not to mention their own boyfriends - they knowingly took this job and the money and knew what they'd be getting into.
One of the most interesting people I met at Cannes last week was Herve De Clerck, who runs Ad Forum and Act Responsible.
In this video he talks about how Ad Forum operates, and in great length about Act Responsible -- its humble roots out of the ashes of 9/11, and how it's pushing to do two interesting things:
o Encourage the advertising industry to contribute its talent to social and environmental causes
o Promote the work of those that do
"Every year we gather the work for social and environmental issues ... and every year, we put on an exhibition," he said. The exhibition was held with support from DraftFCB, on a sunny terrace alongside the Palais, where you could grab a coffee, check out the beach and stroll at leisure through a wide-open gallery of interactive and print-based cause work from around the world.
For those too junior or broke to go to Cannes this year, there was Wrath of Cannes in the "East Riviera,"* where advertising's overlooked enter work to win a trophy they can't actually take home. (It gets recycled for next year.)
This year's winner was ex-associate AD Alan Kwon of RTCRM (now freelancing). He entered a tear-out coupon for Crunch Gym, printed on Tyvek, which means the material was virtually untearable.
Saturday night: the show to end all shows, the one people actually queue in line for. (Though markedly less so than in previous years, as tweeted by Influencia.) And while recession-spawned conservatism was accounted for, the jury hailed from all corners of the globe and generated cheers -- like rock stars.
Saw some awesome work over the next two hours, but it remains a shock who ultimately won what.
There was a lot of talk about how Cannes Lions '09 differed from previous years. I'd say there was a greater focus on how efforts addressed users directly, although creativity remains a big part of that. And given who won the Grands Prix for Titanium and Integrated, it may be the first year agencies must take into account that the user has become a legitimate advertiser himself.
This is no death-of-the-agency foretelling; it's simply a call to listen more closely and respond more intuitively to the crowd. We have spent so many years trying to contrive artificial emotional connections between products and people; it is only natural that, now that they're able, consumers demand to know why those connections should exist in the first place.
What does your company stand for? Does it listen and respond to me? Crucially, is it as willing to incorporate me into its message as I am to incorporate it into my life?
Grand Prix recipients, and a wee bit o' work, listed below.
OK. Who knew going to McDonald's late at night was such a big deal. Apparently a few people in Oklahoma City do. Enough to show up for a red carpet-style event put together by Wave Omnimedia Group. Patrons heading to the restaurant had their pictures taken on the red carpet and their likeness projected on a large shadow wall.
You can see a video of the event here and photos here. Other red carpet events will take place July 4 and August 1.
Last night was the Cannes Lions awards event for Design, Press and Cyber efforts. As always, for the full list of winners, go hithery-dithery. But here are the Grand Prix winners for each category:
For DESIGN: "Paper Battlefield" for Nike Hong Kong by McCann Worldgroup/Causeway Bay.
For PRESS: "We Are Animals," that creepy bejeaned-human-meets-carnal-instinct campaign by FRED & FARID/Paris for Wrangler.
For CYBER: "Best Job in the World" -- which is seriously cleaning up this year -- by Cumminsnitro/Brisbane for Tourism Queensland.
"Eco:Drive" by AKQA/London for Fiat also scored a Cyber Grand Prix, as did "Why So Serious?" for Warner Bros.' The Dark Knight. The latter campaign is a typical piece of elaborate genius by the folks at 42 Entertainment/Pasadena, whose every project is not so much advertising as it is grand oeuvre.
Hey, Cannes Lions delegates! Have a big heaping slice of buzzkill, brought to you by Weisser Ring!
I get that these are for a good cause. Given the appropriate context, these particular pieces are damn stirring.
But given that this image ornaments the exterior of the Palais and these ads plaster the interior, you gotta wonder: which sadistic member of the ad festival planning committee picked out this year's damaged kids motif?
Last night was the ceremony for Radio, Media and Outdoor -- not very exciting stuff, but you get a chance to review highly localized work you wouldn't otherwise be exposed to. Always good to remember what ad life is like outside internets.
Here are the Grand Prix winners for each category. Hopefully by now I don't need to tell you where to go to see the full list of oversized bookend recipients.
For RADIO: Net#Work BBDO/Johannesburg wins Grands Prix for "Dancer," "Dog" and "Ferret" -- three radio pieces for Virgin Atlantic Airlines, South Africa. Wanna hear? Listeny-listen.
For MEDIA: JWT Japan/Tokyo scores for "Kit Kat Mail 2009" on behalf of Nestle's Kit-Kat.
For OUTDOOR: TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Johannesburg wins Grands Prix for "Fight the Regime," "Cheaper than Money," "Trillion Dollar Billboard," "Z$250,000,000" and "Wallpaper" -- on behalf of The Zimbabwean. The campaign's objective was, in great part, to demonstrate the ridiculous rate of inflation affecting Zimbabwean currency as a result of the current regime.
We covered one execution in which trillions of Zimbabwe dollars were used to wallpaper a billboard. Trillion dollar bills were also used as flyers. See the rest of the work; if you're curious about the roots of Z's current political situation, read some colourful background.
Just wanted to do a quick update before Cannes consumes me and I lose my will to blog while sober.
Arrived yesterday: five-hour train ride from Gare de Lyon to the Cannes station, which appears to be dead-center of nowhere. You can immediately tell who came from the city because we're all still in coats, looking grimy and sordid.
First ad I saw upon entering the Palais. Where better than a sweltering, decadent vacation spot to remind us of the dire consequences of climate change?
Somewhat less depressing than the wrist slitter cause ad that appeared on BART trains during New Years Eve '06.