Thursday, June 21, 2007

Green big shots in Cannes

Big Shot in Cannes Cannes. The Côte d'Azur. And it is. Very azure. But, Yahoo! (aka Big Purple) is in Cannes this week to turn it from azur to vert. Right. Because, of course, Yahoo! has embraced a major global re-thinking of all matters ecological (purple is the new green, after all). We created a very intriguing little contest aimed at the advertising community in eight countries, with the grand prize being a trip this week's Cannes Advertising Festival for three winners.

What kind of contest, you might ask? Well, it's called Big Shot in Cannes and you can learn more about it (and see the work) here. Since the advertising industry has been abuzz about user generated content, we thought we'd challenge the best minds in our business to create a great piece of communications, on the ecological/green subject of their choice, and do it like a consumer would. No big budgets, no fancy production teams, no boondoggles in exotic locations, and no high-priced celebrity talent.

We got an amazing 165 entries from 10 countries (right, two more than could legally enter) and, with much difficulty, narrowed this list down to 33. Because we generated more than 100,000 viewings of the submitted videos (thanks to JumpCut for putting this together for us), we used viewer feedback plus our own very idiosyncratic perspective to narrow the list for our final judging.

We then sent the final 33 to our 11 top creative judges and, lo and behold, three winners emerged: one from the US, one from Spain, and one from India. We had strong runners up from Australia, France, and Italy too. Check them all out here. Amazing stuff.

Our finalists, Kristin Cahill (USA), Diego Duprat (Spain), and Pranav Harihar Sharma (India) all arrived in Cannes over the last few days. Given that two of them had long and tiring flights, we got them to their hotel room and let them nap. Then plenty of free time to wander around the Palais des Festivals, meet up with friends in the biz, and get ready for their introduction to polite society on Thursday afternoon at the Advertising Community Together (ACT) Pavilion when they'll receive their very own Yahoo! Big Idea Chair. BTW: ACT has an annual traveling exhibition of "socially responsible" advertising from around the world, and Yahoo! has been a proud sponsor since 2006.

That's all the news from La Croisette for today. Somehow I feel virtuous and ready to hug some trees even though we are consuming energy like there's no tomorrow (somebody turn off that TV!). But it's nice to see all the big shots going green in Cannes.

Jerry Shereshewsky
Ambassador Plenipotentiary to Madison Ave.