USA picks up 3rd best-in-show Grand Prix at Cannes ad festival

The U.S. scored its third best-in-show Grand Prix — for online marketing of Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero — in awards Wednesday at the ad industry's biggest annual creative competition, the Cannes Lions international festival.

HBO's Voyeur Project, meanwhile, racked up gold in two ad categories, online and design, in which Grand Prix and gold, silver and bronze Lions were handed out Wednesday. Print ad winners also were named.

Elements of HBO's multimedia campaign earlier this week took Grand Prix, gold and silver awards in the sales promotion competition, a Grand Prix for best billboard and a bronze Lion for media buying.

The Voyeur Project, created by BBDO New York and Big Spaceship, is on track to win the most awards by any campaign at the week-long festival. "A marvelous piece of work," says design judge Sudhir Sharma, founder of Elephant Strategy + Design in India.

The campaign, designed to let people feel as though they are spying on the lives of eight residents in an apartment building, includes a website, mobile downloads and on-demand TV. The ad's set, designed to look as if the wall of an apartment building had been cut away so viewers could see the residents, was first projected life-size as a video on the side of a New York building. The theme: "Do You Like To Watch?"

Year Zero won one of three Cyber (online) Grand Prix awarded with its campaign that included an online alternative reality game and a network of 30 websites. Coded clues to the sites and phone numbers for more clues were put on concert tour T-shirts. Also, flash drives containing music and more game clues were hidden in restrooms at concert venues.

Japan took a Cyber Grand Prix for retailer Uniqlo's ever-changing website where visitors can watch and share dance moves synced to a digital clock and blog. The dancers wear Uniqlo clothing, and the site is continuously updated as new apparel rolls into stores.

Internet provider Scandinavia Online won the third Grand Prix for its "SOL Comments" site where people can write banner ads that are then posted.

Wednesday awards highlights:

•Print. An Energizer batteries campaign by DDB South Africa took the print ad Grand Prix. Ads show pranks children might play, such as spitting on people from a rooftop, if their toys run out of batteries.

More than 600 U.S. entries resulted in just three bronze Lions: BBDO Chicago ads for Jim Beam, DeVito/Verdi ads for Legal Sea Foods restaurants, and Companions for Seniors ads by Y&R Chicago. "There was (very little) good work" from the USA and the U.K., which took no print Lions, says Craig Davis, jury president and worldwide chief creative officer at JWT London.

•Online. Besides the Year Zero Grand Prix and HBO gold, U.S. Web advertising won three more gold Lions (Apple, TBWA/Media Arts Lab; Burger King, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami; and California State Automobile Association, Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco), four silver and seven bronze.

•Design. Coca-Cola's U.K. unit took the Grand Prix in the Cannes Lions' first design competition for the use of Coke's trademark contoured bottle as a red silhouette in ads, some packaging and retail materials. The new look appeared in the USA last year.

"Every element was created to make the icon more modern," says Nancye Green, CEO of designer Waterworks in Danbury, Conn. "For Coca-Cola to take its key brand mark and simplify it is very courageous."