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Prasoon Joshi edits Gunn Report 2012

The McCann boss is the first Indian to edit the Gunn Report, which is the Global Index of Creative Excellence in Advertising

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | February 7, 2013

Prasoon Joshi

The Gunn Report and Showreel of the Year is an annual publication detailing the most successful print and television advertising campaigns of the year. It combines the winners' lists from all of the world’s most important award contests to establish the annual worldwide league tables for the Advertising industry. The first edition of the Gunn Report was published in 1999, and it has since grown to be one of the most authoritative analyses of advertising campaigns worldwide, with findings republished in both industry journals and mainstream newspapers.

This year Prasoon Joshi, Executive Chairman and CEO, McCann WorldGroup, and Member of The Global Creative Council, was invited to be the Editor for the prestigious Gunn Report. As editor, Joshi helped identify the most awarded new work in the world and simultaneously identifying those behind the work – both that the Gunn Report celebrates.

He is the first Indian advertising professional to have been the Editor of the prestigious Gunn Report.

In his introduction, Joshi writes: “It is both an interesting as well as challenging time for our industry as it gets redefined. To create work that rises above the challenge of this changing world, media and mind space around us is no mean feat.”

He has also contributed his personal commentary on the report and written chapters on the most awarded work in the film, print, digital and All Gunns Blazing tables. In addition to this he was involved in making the final selections for ‘The Showreel of The Year’.

With its League Tables, and detailed commentary, the Gunn Report is a feast of the best global ads of the year in Film, Print, Digital and All Gunns Blazing. Included with the book is The Showreel of The Year, a DVD of the 100 most awarded commercials and campaigns in the World in the year.

Earlier editors of the Gunn Report include Craig Davis, Chief Creative Officer of JWT Worldwide who edited the 2007 edition. In 2008 it was Rémi Babinet, Chief Creative Officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide. In 2009 the editor was Howard Draft, Founder and Chief Executive Chairman of Draftfcb. In 2010 Marcello Serpa, Founder of Almap BBDO in Sao Paulo, was the editor. In 2011 it was Mark Tutssel, Chief Creative Officer Worldwide for Leo Burnett.

Here are some comments and other extracts written by Prasoon Joshi in The Gunn Report 2012:

Introduction:

On a cold winter December morning in London, Donald, Emma and I sat in a conference room viewing, debating and discussing all the work that would make its way into the Gunn Report.  Sifting through it all, the word manthan suddenly flashed upon the mind and I tucked it away to reflect upon later.

Indulge me.

Manthan is the Sanskrit word for churn. There’s an interesting legend central to ancient mythology, that of ‘SamudraManthan’ - The Churning of the Ocean. According to this legend, the Gods once lost their power and the control over Paradise. To regain it, they were advised by the Lord to churn the mighty ocean. This, in order to discover ‘Amrut’ - Nectar, the very elixir of life that would make them immortal. During this great, intense churning, many a pleasant and unpleasant object emerged- lethal poison, rare gems, a wish fulfilling tree, the book of medicine Ayurveda, before Amrut could be attained.

To cut a long story short, it felt perhaps as sweet as sipping on ambrosia, once we saw the final work that had made it to the top of the table.

Introducing the Gunn Report 2012.

There are some real gems are in here.

It brings in the limelight a body of work so diverse; from Classic Advertising to creating content and a new dynamic. Ranging from the delightful Dads in Briefs’ campaign to the game-changing Nike + Fuel band concept.

It’s both an interesting as well as challenging time for our Industry as it gets redefined.  Straddling contrasting ends of a world, where some beliefs still go by the book, whilst others are recast with spring revolutions triggered on Facebook and other social media. Today, a climate change conference is no longer just attended by the official national reps but can invite real time twitter involvement from across the world. Content is now democratized, consumers are now co-creators, from honing of digital skills there’s’ now talk of Singularity- of man and machine being one. To create work that rises above the challenge of this changing world, media and mind space around us is no mean feat.

To all those, whose work gets featured here especially on top of the charts - Congratulations, you make it feel worthwhile. To Donald & Emma- Thank you for making showcasing the cream.

Best,

Prasoon

Top 10 TV

This genre of Advertising is seeing newer avatars, morphing into digital and online. But there’s still something about a good TV commercial. Here’s where the power of storytelling is condensed into some seconds and minutes at best.  Turning an idea into a super script that engages and is memorable in today’s world where the flick of a button could zap it out is a challenge. The commercials listed below stand testimony to the impact of a story well told.

1. Canal Plus The Bear:

Irreverent. This commercial about a temperamental director- who intriguingly happens to be a bear – brings alive the magic and love for movies, the product that Canal + wants to focus on.  Very well shot in a medieval Europe reminiscent setting, it draws you into the behind the scenes story, with a witty take at the end.  In the times when the fading away of TV commercial is being lamented upon, this is such a refreshing idea with brilliant execution.   I’d be happy to be the rug. A big thumbs up.

2. BGH SILENT AIR "Dads In Briefs" & campaign:

The things hot weather can drive you to. This commercial had me draw parallels with the ‘visuals’ I still get to see here in India during the sweltering summers. So damn insightful – Dad   walking in briefs – is probably tick marked in many a mental book under the ‘delete embarrassing memory’ column. Brilliantly executed. It strikes a neat balance – exaggerated but within the limits of elasticity. It’s not very often that onesgets to see such fantastic advertising for an air-conditioner brand. And make such a compelling case for it.

3. DORITOS DIPS "Dip Desperado"

My new hero - Esteban the ‘El - Flicko’ champ from this superb commercial. Marvelously casted, the story of this chip-flicking star and his rise and moving fall from grace is an engaging saga. It has narrative, pathos, a certain graph.  The commercial strikes the right chords and plays out the symphony of emotion really well.  It has the codes of a feature film, much like the Stella Artois ads of yesteryears. Great Retro feel. It’s also neatly tied up with social media.  With the dip desperado online game et all.

4. CHIPOTLE "Back To The Start"

Willie Nelson cover of Coldplay's ‘The Scientist’ plays on and goes straight into your heart and whams into your gut. There is searing honestly in this piece of creative. Brilliant animation aside it’s the telling issue that it raises in a simple fashion. For a Fast food company to propagate a change from soulless industrial to a more humane way of manufacturing is a big deal. To reboot, to go back to the start is not easy .One player, one industry at a time...perhaps change will happen. Chipotle shows the way. Bravo.

5. John Lewis: The Long wait

To make a heartwarming ad for the Christmas  season is one thing But to do so with panache, another.  Gifts you can’t wait to get is one thing, a gift you can’t wait to give is another. Beautifully shot, this spot from John Lewis makes the point pleasantly surprising. And some moments of the child’s impatience as he awaits Christmas morning so that he can give his   imperfectly wrapped perfect gift to his parents, are captured very well.  The warmth and innocence shines through the scenes. The track 'Please Please let me get what I want ' is placed well.  The editing and detailing is remarkable. It’s not overdone   Thank God. And yes the kids face stays with you.

6. The Guardian: Three Little Pigs

It’s a big one.  The ‘fairytale’ of the three little pigs and big bad wolf turned on its head and played out in the arena of the 24/7 over informed world.

This spot from Guardian does a fine job of portraying the complex wiring of today’s world through the lens of media, illustrating how print broadcast online and social media converge to shape news real time.  The story of the Three Little Pigs boiling the Big Bad Wolf is open to fevered reporting, frenzied opinions and mutates into a multi and social media snowball. This ‘whole picture’ of open journalism shot in a docudrama style replete with a computerized ‘huff and puff’ stimulation is wonderfully layered and crafted.  An extraordinary piece of work, very today. Epic.

7. MTV Brazil 21 Anniversary  Baloons

‘Flipbook ‘has been an old time favorite and MTV’s used this device in fresh, out of  the box manner. The concept of ‘Music never stops’ is well played out in this campaign that uses hundreds of balloons with images on them that are popped to create a flipbook effect animation.

8. BBC: It’s a Wonderful World:

Nostalgia envelopes, the images delight and one effortlessly falls in love with the world through this tribute from BBC.  Stunning images well in sync with the words of this Louis Armstrong classic rendered, inimitably by Sir David Attenborough.  But soon after I watched it, cold realization set in. This is the wonderful world that we are so callously destroying.  So much to lose, if we don’t act now. Inspirational.

9. FERNET 1882 - Anxious people and a pen cap:

This bit of work from Argentina uses the popular stunt route and dramatizes it effectively.  Mocking the anxious crowd, it plays on two common nervous tendencies –chewing on a pen cap and fingernails in an exaggerated manner. Watching this larger than life display are two chilled out dudes sipping on their beer. Its quirky, visually arresting and brings out the contrast between those who drink Ferret and those who, well, simply tap their feet.

10. JIM BEAM Parallels:

Willem Dafoe’s weather beaten face strikes you first, the eloquently written copy makes its presence more than felt, just a wee bit later.  The philosophical tone explores the impact of the choices one makes, be it the route we choose or the destination we seek. A jet owning corporate flyer or his dandy chauffer, a star trapeze artist in a circus or a mere worker there – the courage of choice and the outcome is well played out. The Milwaukee v/s New York and the real life instance of Dafoe choosing the latter whilst leaving his hometown Appleton adds to personalise this story of choice.   The vignettes are beautifully shot and have deep emotional resonance.  No hard sell, just a measure of reality that stays with you. Introspective.

Top 10 Print

We are witnessing the great migration—to Online. Many think it will get marginalized. But to my mind the draw of the print world is getting more enticing. From the fast paced web world where words and images roll and morph and one thing leads to another, Print has a unique quality of suspended reality. The sheer simplicity of a single window, that leads to just one place, where pictures and words are enough to engage in a one to one relationship, is beautiful. The challenge for this medium to retain relevance surely exists but it will find its takers and more.

1. Samsonite Suitcases "Heaven And Hell"*

Sometimes the quality of idea makes you lazy. Fortunately this piece of work is genius from start to finish.

The observation and insight of you and your luggage travelling in  such diverse worlds is  superb. Add to it, classic imagery uniquely crafted to drive home the message of ‘to hell and back in good shape’.

As said this campaign is so well chiseled from Idea to execution. Salute, This campaign swept most of the award ceremonies and rightly so.

2. Pictionary “Quick draw wins”:

I loved the beautiful illustrational style used. A jet fighter, wrestler and t-rex dinosaur each outdone by a simply drawn character build well on the nature of Pictionary- speed trumps skill. It’s very well executed and brings on a smile.

3. Coca-Cola "#Cokehands"

To create a simple piece of work for an iconic brand is certainly not simple.  But this take on portraying the brand spirit of sharing and friendship is refreshing. The ease with which this design and the graphic flow are enviable.

4. Ministry Of Defence Colombia "Rivers Of Light"

Demobilising an army is not the easiest of objectives for a communication campaign.  Nevertheless, this idea of messages of light and warmth from home, floating as lanterns in the rivers near the guerillacamps , was heartwarming.  Whether singularly compelling them to give up arms and return home from the jungles is not the point. The concept and its flickering impact even if it ignited the desire to return home was good enough.

5. The Sunday Times Rich List campaign

In your face. Sassy. Resizing celebrities and their egos in direct proportion to their wealth is literal but done with élan. The art is uncluttered.

6. Volkswagon Park Assist:

Each ad shows the type of difficult reverse parking scenarios in which the technology helps the driver.  It’s the product’s absence that is capitalized on, really well. Just the logo and the feature, sans any visual of the car, portraying the challenge and the obvious resolution. Clean classic print work. Simple and effective. Nice, like it.

7. Endangered Wildlife Trust "Numbers Left" campaign*

The crimes we are committing against nature. This print campaign makes the alarm ring louder. It brings into clear focus the term we have grown nearly comfortable around –endangered. A strong concept and an effective layout.

8. Harvey Nichols Summer SALE "Daylight Robbery" campaign

Intriguing. Good execution of the message makes this daylight robbery campaign eye catching.  The minimalist copy is just right.

9. Amnesty International "Mug shots" campaign*

These file photos of the (erstwhile) political prisoners taken by the secret Police when Portugal was under dictatorship, juxtaposed against their  present day pictures  make  for a subtle and powerful testimony.

The reality that they are today alive and free due to the intervention of Amnesty International is to be celebrated but at the same time is strangely poignant.  For perhaps the world over there are still many s suffering the extremities of the state. A sobering thought.  This campaign stirred up emotion.

10. Maxam Dentifrice Toothpate: "Egypt"/"Rome"

 The image is undeniably eye catching.  The tucked away tagline ‘Don’t let germs settle down’ gives ample scope for the visual feast of ancient ruins carved into human teeth.  Intricately art directed.

Top 10 Most Awarded ALL GUNNS BLAZING

A 360-degree idea cannot be constructed; the idea has to have feet and wings and an inherent amoeba like quality. In some cases the medium becomes bigger and in the others the messaging. The concept of surround sound for a campaign is not just planning but also reacting real time. Channel agnostic and media neutral, the cases that have worked their way up onto this list are the ones ranging from activating a socio- business idea to becoming a stakeholder in the selection of a soccer team to creating live songs sung outside a competitors work place. The sheer convergence of idea medium and collaboration to create at the speed of thought is inspiring.

1. American Express Open "Small Business Gets An Official Day"

Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers during the holiday season to patronize and flock to their local stores. American Express came up with and sponsored this superb community initiative, which has garnered considerable success. The lifeblood not just of the economy but the community is the neighborhood shop. And driving footfalls and lending a hand of support is the need of the hour.  Celebrity support, plus a visit to the local bookstore by the President and the First family add to its appeal and efficacy.  In the bargain not just raising revenues but raising spirits. Well tied up on the social media with a smartly carved offline presence this small business campaign had a big voice. When a community good is linked with a great business idea it’s a win -win. Top rating.

2 National Australia Bank "Break Up"

I loved the boldness of this idea.  So un- Bank like.

With a ‘Mock ‘announcement on Twitter it went on to splash Break up messages in print outdoor and an array of short films on YouTube. .Heck, they even had a guy on the piano singing break up songs strategically placed near the competitor bank. Orchestrating and leveraging all the different mediums with a single message, it was amplified to good measure. It ambushed the competition. I admire the tongue in cheek stance of this campaign, brilliantly repositioning competition. It’s a bold category transformational idea.

3. Engagement Citoyen "The Return Of Dictator Ben Ali"

Rekindling interest in the political scenario with a provocative stunt that compelled people to act, gets my vote for sure. A chillingly simple giant poster of the ousted dictator Ben Ali is put up at a public place. The stunned reactions of the common people abhorring the idea of this being a signal of the dictator’s return to power are superbly captured. The stoking of their anger and the resultant action of them tearing the poster off the wall only to reveal the message underneath it is a fantastic graph to play on. Reactivating political engagement of the common masses to exercise their vote is the objective, which seem to have been well put on track.

4. Mercedes-Benz F-Cell "The Invisible Drive"

An ‘invisible car’ created using LED technology and cameras, and driven around the streets, promoting the zero emission qualification of their new vehicle, is a pretty captivating sight Especially effective in the part when the Mercedes is parked out in the wilderness, suddenly jumping out.  Garnering eyeballs in the increasingly cluttered world calls for   striking stuff. Here we see great use of technology that blends with the message “invisible to the environment” andi t makes impact.

5. Troy Public Library "Book Burning Party"

The local library facing shortage of funds and a likely shutdown is a common present day issue. But and an uncommon invitation to ‘ burn its books’, ignited many an emotion.  The idea of stirring people to act by publicizing a preposterous book Burning party was ingenious.  Reverse psychology at its best. At the end of the day its not just how well are the mediums used but how well intentioned is the idea.

6. Als Foundation Netherlands "I Have Already Died"

Aiming to raise awareness about the disease, this campaign, created for the ALS Foundation Netherlands is powerful stuff. The testimonials of the patients which are played out appealing for funds end up with a phrase that echoes- don’t do it for me, I have already died”. Amongst the array of charitable causes messaging this campaign stands out for its raw and direct appeal.

7. Carling Black Label "Be The Coach"

Cutting-edge work. Acting on the insight of fans being passionately sure of their expertise in all game and team matters but having no influence, the activation idea sought to reverse this.   Be the Coach via using your mobile phone was a brilliantly simple and effective way to customize and engage.  Using technology and connectivity it ushered in involvement like never before. Passive entrainment is out we are in the era of dynamic participation. Creating an activation property is no simple job. Carling Black cup made it happen going beyond traditional use of mobile. I was blown away.

8. Bundaberg Rum "Watermark"

A unique way to lift up sagging spirits. By actually creating and dedicating a product to the never say die sentiment of the Queenslanders. The resilience shines through the murky circumstance. Closely connected with the sentiment of community, this idea was embraced emotionally.  Genuine symbolic acts leave their mark well. I’d raise a toast.

9. Intel Museum of me:

Today’s world is obsessed with personalization and an all-pervasive desire to see, show and share more of self.  This campaign tapped well into this psyche to create a visual experience that is entirely personal – your friends your likes, your most often used words, pictures and so on, in a museum setting. Set to some good music it delivers the essence of brand connecting in a uniquely personalized way. Insightful and intriguing. This is a nice way of engaging people, putting yourself at the forefront of technology and linking the brand and technological power of social media.

10. Nike Fuel Band

I am amazed the way Nike has diversified. Not just creating products but altering the way one lives. Blending art with the technology to social platform that allows users to track their fitness goals and progress on cool-looking wristband.

Is the Fuel band just a product? Or is it an interactive brand experience or an example of  a new   digital way to reach the consumer. It’s all this and more. For with one simple interface the brand becomes an integral part of the consumers’ life.  Content creation and marketing at its best. Way to go. Truly impressive.

Top 10 Digital

To create and use digital platforms is one thing and to be able to co create it along with the consumers is another. Navigating platform frontiers that expand and mutate at the click of a button is stimulating and tough, especially when a coherent brand story has to be told.  From choreographing a music video online to tracking the trail of your consumption to breakdown orchestra to solo performance and yes have a cat lick off your finger is digital at its best.

2. Intel Museum of Me

Same comments as In All guns Bblazing section

Today’s world is obsessed with personalization and an all-pervasive desire to see, show and share more of self.  This campaign tapped well into this psyche to create a visual experience that is entirely personal – your friends your likes, your most often used words, pictures and so on, in a museum setting. Set to some good music it delivers the essence of brand connecting in a uniquely personalized way. Insightful and intriguing. This is a nice way of engaging people, putting yourself at the forefront of technology and linking the brand and technological power of social media.

2. Google Chrome "OkGo - All Is Not Lost"

A wall has come down when you know what you are watching on the screen is not just a music video but literally a dancing human kaleidoscope, one that changes form whilst you can interact (provided you have Google chrome of course) by typing in a customized message for the dancers to enact and spell out. It starts off pretty simply and then gets amazingly complex.   With it’s heart in the right place – a message of love for the Tsunami torn Japan- this HTML5-enabled multi-window piece   music video by the band OKGo is an fantastic piece of work that pushes the limits. Being nominated for the Grammys wouldn’t have hurt.

3. Philips ‘Obsessed with sound’.

I loved this. Being a song -writer,  I obsess over this the quality of the sound system I am hearing my music on.  Every detail matters. The delicate strain of an instrument less heard is sheer bliss. Taking this kind of passion to craft a piece of work with the Metropole Orchestra and devising it so that every musician in it has his own audio channel which you can tune into with a click of a button and go back to hearing the entire orchestra play , is simply brilliant. Never has deconstructing sound been as enjoyable and effectively showcased.

4. US State Department "Slavery Footprint"

When Technology is married to the idea of social change, movements such as this take shape.  It’s a conscience builder. There is an ugly truth behind the consumption driven lives we lead today, for this unmindful consumption takes a toll somewhere on someone. And chances are the toll is not on one but on several. This campaign so effectively brings this forth this issue of forced labour that taints the global supply chains of many a everyday product used.  It shakes one out of the slumber, engages and prods one to know, to question and to act. Intense idea and execution. Hope it finds increasing resonance.

5. Chipotle "Back To The Start"

(Same comments as in All Guns Blazing section. )

Willie Nelson cover of Coldplay's ‘The Scientist’ plays on and goes straight into your heart and whams into your gut. There is searing honestly in this piece of creative. Brilliant animation aside it’s the telling issue that it raises in a simple fashion. For a Fast food company to propagate a change from soulless industrial to a more humane way of manufacturing is a big deal. To reboot, to go back to the start is not easy .One player, one industry at a time...perhaps change will happen. Chipotle shows the way. Bravo.

6. American Express "Small Business Gets An Official Day"

Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers during the holiday season to patronize and flock to their local stores. American Express came up with and sponsored this superb community initiative, which has garnered considerable success. The lifeblood not just of the economy but the community is the neighborhood shop. And driving footfalls and lending a hand of support is the need of the hour.  Celebrity support, plus a visit to the local bookstore by the President and the First family add to its appeal and efficacy.  In the bargain not just raising revenues but raising spirits. Well tied up on the social media with a smartly carved offline presence this small business campaign had a big voice. When a community good is linked with a great business idea it’s a win -win. Top rating.

7. CNN "The CNN Ecosphere"

Devising a digital ecosystem growing from thousands of tweets with a real-time visualization of the global discussion on the Internet is an interesting way to engage. The 3D platform took tweets from around the world transforming them in the form of an evolving digital garden. This growing inclusive conversation is indication of where we are heading.  Being part of a global village is a reality in more ways than one. This web design is very well executed. Data visualization has seldom looked as good.

8. Skittles; Touch the Rainbow.

Have been extremely fond of the irreverent TV commercials of this brand. The fact that they have been able to create the same bizarre experience in the digital world is amazing.  A sticky idea and an execution that complements it. What I enjoyed most about this online campaign was the simplicity of the interaction, more of the lick of the finger than the click of a boring button. Delicious.

9. Greenpeace "A New Warrior"

With the plethora of causes vying for donations, the temptation to pass the next one that comes along is high. Whilst Greenpeace is a well-regarded charity, a contribution for constructing a ship is not something simply done. Turning this into a cause you can own a tangible part of, was a masterstroke. A unique 3d design of this website allowed potential donors visitors to explore all areas of the ship and figure which part – from an OHP to a GPs unit or the scuba gear- of the ship they can ‘own’ by paying /donating. Exciting, involving and very well executed.  Brings alive the Power of the collective very well.

10. Troy Library:

The local library facing shortage of funds and a likely shutdown is a common present day issue. But and an uncommon invitation to ‘ burn its books’, ignited many an emotion.  The idea of stirring people to act by publicizing a preposterous book Burning party was ingenious.  Reverse psychology at its best. At the end of the day its not just how well are the mediums used but how well intentioned is the idea.

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