Wunderman strikes gold at Cannes as Team Y&R wins silver

Wunderman struck gold at this year’s Cannes International Advertising Festival taking a Gold Lion in the direct category — a first for a Middle East agency, writes Tim Addington.

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By  Tim Addington Published  June 25, 2006

Wunderman struck gold at this year’s Cannes International Advertising Festival taking a Gold Lion in the direct category — a first for a Middle East agency, writes Tim Addington. The award capped a successful two days for Wunderman’s parent company The Holding Group, with its ad agency Team Y&R picking up a silver Lion in the outdoor category for its Mont-Blanc creative. The two gongs make this year’s Cannes Lions the most successful ever for the Middle East, with some shortlisted agencies still up for awards at the time of going to press. Tonic became the first agency from the region to be awarded a gold Lion for creative at last year’s event. Wunderman’s work for Microsoft marks a successful 12 months for the Dubai-based agency. In January it scooped all three awards in the direct marketing category at the Campaign Awards, with gold given for another Microsoft execution. Kerry Platts, creative director at Wunderman picked up the Lion at last Monday’s ceremony, just an hour after landing in France. She said: “I am over the moon. It is a fantastic result for everybody at Wunderman who has helped us to get here.” Nassib Boueri, managing director at Wunderman Middle East and North Africa, added: “It is the first time a Cannes awards has been given in the direct category to an agency from the region. It is a very big moment for us. We will have a mini celebration this week and a much larger one once the Lion has come home to its den. “I think it will boost the level of creativity in the region because there is nothing better than competition. Cannes is the Oscars for the creative industry and everyone wants to go and collect one.” The Microsoft work called ‘Gotcha!’ was created to highlight the problem of using unlicensed software, most of which is supplied by friends. Wunderman sent out a brown paper envelope to 3000 people each with a handwritten address to make it look as if it had come from a friend. Inside there was a CD with a hand-written Post-it note on. Within seconds of loading the CD into a PC, it apparently crashes, coming back to life moments later with a message telling the user that if it had been real pirate software it might actually happen. The user was offered discounts on genuine Windows software. Bahaa Issa, corporate communications manager at Microsoft Middle East, said: “We are delighted. It is pleasing to see that advertising in the IT industry is recognised for coming up with innovative ideas.” Team Y&R’s outdoor creative for Mont-Blanc features a hand drawn keyboard with the worlds “If love is the message how about you put some into it”, written on the keys. Adil Khan, managing director at Team Y&R, said: “We have been a finalist since 1999 in one way or another, so it has been a long wait for us. We are delighted to have both a gold and silver coming from the same group. It is good for us as an organisation and it is about time our region got the recognition it deserves.”

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