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Cannes rules that BBDO Singapore’s Guinness Press winners that ran once are ‘legitimate’

BBDO Singapore's Cannes Lions-winning press ad

BBDO Singapore’s Lions-winning press ad in I-S

After an investigation prompted by questions from Mumbrella, Cannes Lions has ruled that a press campaign created by BBDO Singapore for Guinness that ran once in listings freesheet I-S Magazine is “valid” and “legitimate”.

The campaign, which ran only in a single edition of I-S Magazine just before the Cannes Lions submission deadline of 30 April, claimed three Silver Lions in the press category the following month.

In a short statement, a Cannes spokeswoman said: “We have checked the entries as raised by you and have found the entries to be valid and legitimate.”

The campaign, which was overseen by BBDO Singapore’s chief creative officer Ronald Ng, featured five executions of the same idea – a pint glass that morphs into the shape of a bottle – that ran in the same edition of the magazine.

Cannes Lions also cleared an outdoor version of ‘Pint in a glass’, which won Gold and Silver in that category. That campaign ran only in the month of December last year, and was entered into the craft and ‘indoor poster’ sub-categories.

In a Q&A with Mumbrella earlier this week, Cannes Lions chairman Terry Savage defended the festival’s stance on campaigns like BBDO Singapore’s for Guinness, which in his view are not ‘scam’ – work designed to win awards, not build a client’s brand.

“The world is not black and white and strategies that are adopted to test and break new boundaries should be accepted if all parties concur that they were genuine and legitimate. Super Bowl ads run once,” Savage said.

His statement came in response to questions from Mumbrella’s Australia site about campaigns entered into the award show by JWT Australia for J&J’s Band-Aid, which ran once in the same edition of obscure suburban newspaper The Rouse Hill Times as a Bronze-winning ad for McDonald’s.

DDB Singapore's work for Selleys last year

DDB Singapore’s work for Selleys from last year

Last year, Cannes Lions ruled that a campaign by DDB Singapore for a brand of super glue that won an Outdoor Bronze Lion was eligible even though the client was not aware that the campaign had been entered – which is against the rules of the competition.

A DDB spokeswoman later told Mumbrella that the reason the client was not aware that an ad for her brand, Selleys, had been submitted into the world’s top advertising awards was because she was on holiday.

A creative director who used to produce scam for the top award-winning agencies in Singapore told Mumbrella about the process behind scamming awards juries in an interview last year, identifying I-S Magazine as the “scammer’s publication of choice.”

“It’s like drugs in cycling,” he said. “If you want to get to the top of the Campaign Brief creative rankings, you have to take some dope.”

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