Cannes lionizes U.S. ads

Americans take 13 of 24 ad nods in 45th Int'l Ad Fest

NEW YORK — The U.S. scored a smashing victory at the 45th Cannes International (Advertising) Festival, which ended June 27 with Americans taking home 13 of the top 24 awards. The Grand Prix went to San Francisco shop Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which won for a trio of Nike spots.

The rout was unlike any in memory, as Minneapolis-based Fallon McElligott, on behalf of Miller Lite, single-handedly took home three Gold Lions — as many as all of Britain’s presumed creative powerhouses combined.

Venice’s TBWA Chiat/Day walked off with two Gold Lions: one for Sony Playstation’s “Sound Check,” the other for the Weather Channel’s “Painted Faces.”

Gotham’s Gold winners were BBDO for Snickers’ “Cologne,” Lowe & Partners for Courtyard by Marriott’s “Missed Cue,” and Cliff Freeman and Partners for four Fox Networks NHL spots.

Goodby’s taking the Grand Prix from 5,000 other contenders was almost as surprising as the U.S. performance over all.

American to the core

For starters, the winning commercial executions — all playing off the question, “What if we treated all athletes the way we treat skateboarders?” — were American to the core. The Nike spots not only broke on ESPN’s “X Games” broadcast of that pastime called “extreme sports” but combined a documentary approach with the sort of humor that seldom travels.

Throw in the “block” voting that once characterized (read: politicized) Cannes’ 40-plus jury, and it’s obvious that global sentiment toward U.S. ad sensibilities has changed.

Rich Silverstein, co-founder of the winning agency, responded to the news with a reflexive “Oh, my God! What are we going to do next year?”