Geico topped the Non-Television category. Its pre-roll, “Family,” created by The Martin Agency and directed by Park Pictures’ Terri Timely, put a hilarious twist on the typically boring genre and features a family sitting at the dinner table with the Geico logo plastered boldly in the middle of the frame. Seconds into the ad, a voice-over announces, “You can’t skip this Geico ad because it’s already over,” and mid-action, the family stops, except for the dog, who proceeds to devour every bit of food on the table. Although nothing much happens beyond that, the ad gets progressively funnier since it’s blatantly obvious that the actors in the scene are simply holding their poses as the dog carries on.
It’s almost more a reaction now, than an actual decision. Click play on a YouTube video and our brains are programmed to automatically hit the “Skip Ad” button as soon as it appears.
That’s the challenge of the preroll ad—the urge to skip is so great that most people wouldn’t even hear a marketer if they promised free pizza and beer in those few precious seconds.
Top prizes go to camera brand’s recreation of iconic photos, and insurance brand’s unskippable spot.
Geico, on the other hand, “breaks every single rule of filmmaking,” Myhren said. “Instead of begging you to watch this ad, they challenge you not to watch it.”
He went on to describe it as a “deceptively simple piece of filmmaking,” which showed how film can reinvent media, “even the least sexy media in the world, which is pre-roll.”
First, one of the Film Grand Prix winners came from an unlikely media sector–online pre-roll in the form of GEICO’s “Unskippable: Family Long Form 01” directed by the Terri Timely duo (consisting of Ian Kibbey and Corey Creasey) of Park Pictures for The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va. The mundane slice of life shows a family at the dinner table, accompanied by the GEICO logo–at which point a voiceover points out just after a few seconds that “you can’t skip” this GEICO ad “because it’s already over.” Indeed all the family members are in quasi-freeze frame–actually they’re simply holding their poses–as the family dog proceeds to eat all the food on the table. It’s thus the ad that’s over but still you can’t divert your eyes from it.
Cannes Film Jury president Tor Myhren, president and worldwide chief creative officer of Grey, said of the “Unskippable” spot, “This broke every rule that we know in filmmaking. In the least sexy media space available, pre-roll, GEICO made content so good they challenge you not to watch. But of course, you can’t take your eyes off it.”