Blair's favourite persuader bags another victory - for crisps

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The Independent Online
Tony Blair's favourite adman, Chris Powell, had more good news last night, when his advertising agency, BMP DDB, picked up the advertising industry's highest award for a piece of work that wasn't even an advertisement.

BMP DDB, which handles the Labour Party's account, picked up the only gold of the night at the advertising world's Oscars - the Design and Art Direction awards - for its sponsorship credits for Doritos crisps.

The credits, which were used during Doritos's sponsorship of a season of ITV film premieres, had the faces of film stars such as Terry Thomas and Bruce Lee superimposed on a pair of lips munching crisps and making appreciative noises. "This is the first award to go to a sponsorship credit," said Chas Bayfield, a creative at Tango agency HHCL & Partners and one of the judges. "It won because it was original and mould-breaking. Up until a few years ago sponsor credits were just graphics. It also won because it made all the judges in the room laugh."

The same creative team from BMP DDB also won a silver award in the cinema category for its hard-hitting work for the Ministry of Sound nightclub's "Use Your Vote" ads. The cinema ads showed racists, homophobes and yuppies and encouraged young people to vote in the election because the people featured would.

The Doritos "munching mouths", which last only a few seconds, beat off the advertisement from Blackcurrant Tango, the heavily tipped industry favourite. The advertisement featured xenophobic spokesman Roy Gardner marching along the White Cliffs of Dover challenging a French schoolboy to a fight because he didn't like blackcurrants. It won a silver in the longer advertisements category for the agency HHCL & Partners.

Also winning a silver was the third most complained about advertisement on British television last year. Nike's Euro '96 football match between evil demons and a side led by former Manchester United star Eric Cantona attracted complaints from around 120 viewers last year because of its demonic imagery and because of worries it might scare children. The Good versus Evil ad, as it is known, was created by Nike's Amsterdam-based agency Wieden & Kennedy and won its silver in the ads under 60 seconds category.

In the press advertising category Saatchi & Saatchi's controversial Club 18-30 advertising picked up a silver. Saatchi & Saatchi's "Beaver Espana" posters for Club 18-30 won a silver award last year but the advertising agency was forced to hand it back when the Advertising Standard's Authority was deluged with complaints about the suggestive nature of the posters.

This time the ads ran in youth magazines like Loaded and kept their heavy reliance on double entendre to suggest sex-filled holidays for twenty- somethings. Copylines included: "One swallow doesn't make a summer", "Something deep inside her said she'd come again" and "Spend two weeks on some bloke's boat". Mr Bayfield said it was easier for ads that sell youth products to win awards: "It is always the funny, beer ads or sexy ads that connect with the judges. It is also easier to make interesting ads that are just for one group. With soap powder you have to be careful not to turn anyone away, so its advertising is traditionally bland.

"I would love to see something as potent as the Ministry of Sound vote ads used to sell soap powder."