AMSTERDAM—Actress Margaret Qualley winked, strutted and laser-blasted her way into the hearts of judges at this year's Epica Awards, where her long-form ad for Kenzo Parfums has won the Grand Prix in film.
Directed by Spike Jonze as a sort of spiritual successor to his iconic 2001 video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice," the Kenzo spot features Qualley (known for HBO's The Leftovers and for being one of actress Andie McDowell's two daughters) spasmodically dancing her way across a large venue to the tune of an original track called "Mutant Brain."
Patricia Tranvouëz, CEO of Kenzo Parfums, said in a statement about the award: "We're very touched and extremely proud of this project, which is the first we've worked on with Carol Lim and Humberto Leon—artistic directors of the Kenzo fashion house. The project brought together great artists like Spike Jonze, Ryan Heffington, Sam Spiegel and of course Margaret Qualley, whose talents as a ballerina and actress burst out of the screen. Thank you to my entire team, who made this project a priority and brought it to fruition."
Epica is judged by a large panel of journalists who cover the advertising industry around the world. (This year's U.S. delegates were myself and Fast Company's Co.Create editor, Eric Alt, though like all Epica judges, we were not allowed to cast votes on work from our home country.)
Although the U.S. didn't win any Grand Prix this year, it was top in the overall country rankings, with 69 awards, including 12 golds.
Below are the other Grand Prix winners from Epica 2016:
Design Grand Prix:
"Simplified Stories" by DDB Brussels
This innovative book series reformats literary works to be more accessible to those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Research shows reading can slow the disease's progress, and this project with the Alzheimer League Flanders makes it easier to keep track of a story despite memory loss.
Digital Grand Prix:
"The Next Rembrandt" by J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam
This ambitious project for client ING used big data to analyze all of Rembrandt's paintings and then create a new, digitally produced work true to his style. It has quickly become one of the most awarded agency projects in the recent digital landscape.
Outdoor Grand Prix:
"Doors of Thrones" by Publicis London
When a January 2016 storm destroyed ancient trees living in one of areas used to film HBO's Game of Thrones, Tourism Ireland and Publicis London worked with artists to convert the fallen giants into ornate doors representing different episodes of the show's newest season. The doors were then installed in Irish pubs to create a sort of scavenger hunt for the show's fans.
Dave Monk, executive creative director at Publicis London, said: "Who'd have thought combining two of our favorite pastimes—pubs and Game of Thrones—would help us pick up an Epica Grand Prix? We feel hugely honored. It also feels all the more significant because it was voted for by a jury outside our usual advertising bubble."
Press Grand Prix:
"Brad Is Single" by Try (Norway)
Quick turnaround, simple messaging and a sharp sense of pop culture savvy helped agency Try take home top press honors from Epica with this print ad for Norwegian Airlines, playing off news that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were splitting: