on the shore of the ultimate sea

Success has many fathers…design none?

This just came over the e-wire regarding Barack Obama’s presidential campaign winning Integrated and Titanium Grand Prix awards at Cannes over the weekend…

June 30, 2009

Statement on receiving Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival Grand Prix Titanium and Integrated Campaign Awards:

“The Obama Media Team is honored to accept these amazing awards in recognition of the outstanding work done by so many people at the Campaign, in particular the New Media Group, alongside the multi-agency consulting team led by AKPD Message and Media and GMMB.

“The communications agency roster includes: Dixon Davis Media Group, Murphy Putnam Media, Shorr Johnson Magnus, Squier Knapp Dunn Communications, Message, Audience and Presentation, FUSE, Blue State Digital and The Strategy Group. Research firms include: Benenson Strategy Group, Anzelone-Liszt Research, Bendixen and Associates, Bennett, Petts and Blumenthal, Brilliant Corners, David Binder Research and Harstad Research. All of these firms and the Obama for America staff share in this incredible honor.

“But we couldn’t have done it without all those volunteers, who knocked on doors, hosted events, made phone calls, contributed whatever they could afford and stood in line on Election Day to make their voice heard. Most of all, we must thank President Barack Obama, the best client anyone could ever hope to have.

“It is humbling to receive this recognition among so many groundbreaking campaigns around the world.”

In addition to being the highest profile political campaign ever awarded at Cannes, it is likely the most collaborative. I count 19 communications and research firms sharing the Lion, at least the ones that were mentioned on the email I got. Maybe the trophies will travel around like the Stanley Cup to each partner company, but if I were running a political communications, design or research agency, it would be worth the €1999.00 to get advertising’s highest honor for the office shelf1.

Someone may have left Chicago’s Mode Project off the list, though–according to Mode’s website it had a pretty big role: “[Mode Project was] one of the main creative partners in the campaign, assisting its longtime client and the lead agency, AKPD Message and Media. Mode Project oversaw the design of the now famous Obama logo and produced more than 200 broadcast commercials and additional digital content during the course of the primary and general election.” You may remember them from this space previously, as they commissioned one Aaron Draplin to collaborate on some recovery logos.

It’s a conspicuous absence, and maybe strikes at the heart of the creative-versus-rational debate Bob Garfield gets into here when the cool, interesting company that designed the logo is left out of the celebratory dogpile: “the messaging was as creatively barren as it was tactically brilliant. There was no ‘Morning in America’ in this campaign. No ‘Daisy.’ No any single thing that stood out. Cannes has just awarded two Grand Prix to a back office.”

Well, a very talented back office, with political geniuses David Axelrod and David Plouffe running the show, but still one that required the iconic ‘O’ (that ironically headed the email as you see here, yet whose creators weren’t given any dap). Mode Project even produced the video that introduced David Plouffe’s Cannes appearance, made possible by Omnicom’s DDB (watch it at the studio’s site). The Guardian’s Mark Sweney reports here Plouffe dispelled the myth the campaign was 2.0–Plouffee called it “old school,” surely one for which a logo is integral.

So, I’ve asked the spokesperson from GMMB (also an Omnicom agency) a couple more questions about its Cannes strategy and will see if the Mode snub is just an oversight. Maybe it is. Hopefully this isn’t this year’s BBDO-Big Spaceship credit fracas; it would be a shame to ruin the further celebration of optimism and choice with squabbling and politics.

Funnily enough, in the course of dashing off this post things seem to have developed. A colleague received an emailed release from Mode just a few minutes after I received the release from GMMB:

OBAMA FOR AMERICA CAMPAIGN WINS TOP PRIZES IN CANNES
Mode Project, Creative Partner to AKPD Message and Media, Part of the Winning Media Team

Chicago, IL – (June 29, 2009) — The advertising and marketing campaign that helped propel Barack Obama into the White House has been honored with the two top prizes — the Titanium Grand Prix and the Integrated Grand Prix — from the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

Chicago-based Mode Project was one of the main creative partners in the campaign, assisting its longtime client and the lead agency, AKPD Message and Media. Mode Project oversaw the design of the now famous Obama logo and produced more than 200 broadcast commercials and additional digital content during the course of the primary and general election.

Of the Cannes win for Obama for America, Mode Project’s Colin Carter says, “We were honored to be a part of the Obama for America campaign and congratulate everyone on the Obama Media Team in this historic, game-changing endeavor. The Cannes honor is the highest in advertising and knowing we contributed to the successes of the campaign gives us a sense of accomplishment, second only to the election’s outcome.”

Mode Project (http://www.modeproject.com/) is a Chicago-based creative production studio providing motion design, production, editorial and interactive solutions to agencies and brands such as AT&T, ecko unltd, Obama for America, Sunsilk, Tropicana, Kellogg’s, Gatorade since 2002.

So, got any info as to why different agencies and companies involved in the historic campaign may be playing politics in the wake of the Cannes awards? Or is this just an innocent, simple oversight where the email I got was the one that forgot to give praise to the creative parts of the campaign, reserving that for another PR list? Let me know

  1. maybe that’ll help the Lions keep the lights on after this year’s fest was reportedly off some 40%, but surely they had some cash salted away []

Written by Nick

June 30th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Advertising,Politics

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