Cannes Lions winners find new ways to hook an audience

If anyone questions whether the advertising industry is changing, look at the first round of winners announced Monday at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

They illustrate more than ever that agencies are crossing into each other's areas of expertise as mediums continue to converge.

The winners — 38 in direct sales and 49 in sales promotion — also illustrate that today's marketing is less about advertising to an audience and more about engaging them.

"People today know this is advertising," says Armin Jochum, chief creative officer, BBDO Stuttgart and Berlin and the jury president who oversaw the panel of judges for sales promotion. "If there's a special approach, people get the feeling they are being talked to in a new way."

The top direct advertising award went to JWT India for a print ad in The Times of India. While it was an ad promoting the newspaper, it was also the launching pad for a campaign, which included TV, mobile, video and outdoor, urging people to get involved and "lead India" in honor of the country's 60th anniversary of independence.

In sales promotion, HBO won the Grand Prix for a multimedia campaign by BBDO, New York.

The Voyeur Project out last summer featured stories about eight residents in a New York apartment building. Silent movie stories unfold on a set that looks as if the exterior wall of the building was removed so that people could peek inside. People could get different content through HBO's various distribution platforms — on-demand, mobile and the Web.

"This idea was absolutely magnificent," says Andy Blood, a judge and group executive creative director with TBWA/Whybin/Tequila, Auckland.

Other Cannes campaigns that got people involved:

•New Zealand beer Speight's took a promotion Gold for putting Speight's Ale House on a boat to London. A contest helped man the crew for the three-month journey with stops in Samoa, Panama, the Bahamas and New York.

•7-Eleven and its agency FreshWorks took a Gold promotion for converting stores to look like Kwik-E-Marts to promote The Simpsons Movie.

•MTV Australia won a Gold Lion for turning rapper Snoop Dogg's effort to get Australian citizenship into an online promotion that let people submit petitions to allow it.

•Playground, a Swedish retailer, won a Gold Lion by having a clerk wear a down coat in a temperature-and humidity-controlled tent to help hatch a fertilized chicken egg and boost down coat sales by 370%.

•After the Prodis Downs Syndrome Foundation had ad agency Vitruvio create pro-bono ads, the agency hired four individuals with Down syndrome to make the ads. Their work, with the theme "Let us do it," included commercials and The Story of a Beautiful Ad, a 25-minute documentary that ran in prime time.