Geneseo grad in New Zeland wins French advertising award

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

Art director Heath Lowe's advertising agency has won an international advertising award at Cannes, in France, with a little help from the “Godfather of Punk,” Iggy Pop.

Lowe, a 1988 Geneseo graduate, is a founding partner of the Auckland, New Zealand-based advertising agency Special Group.

The agency recently won the coveted Grand Prix (the best of the best) honor at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival for its Orcon Broadband television and

interactive campaign.

The campaign promotes Orcon's broadband service and demonstrates the possibilities of fast broadband. It connected nine musicians, all at different locations around New Zealand, to Iggy Pop’s studio in Miami to record a version of Pop’s song “The Passenger.”

Each musician was connected to the studio through a laptop. Pop had nine laptops lined up so he could direct each musician and hear all the recordings at the same time. The resulting song was then made into a television campaign.

The advertising equivalent of the Cannes Film Festival, Special became only the fourth Kiwi agency to have won a Grand Prix Award, in a category boasting more than 1,500 entries from around the world. The campaign also won a gold Lion in the Direct category.

“The idea of having Iggy Pop re-record ‘The Passenger’ in real time, using a band in New Zealand chosen via online auditions with Iggy Pop in Miami, was one of the very best uses of celebrity I have ever seen,” said Pablo Alzugaray, president of the Direct jury. “It’s intelligent, experiential and response-driven.”

To see the final ad, visit and search for “Iggy Pop Orcon.”

Lowe is the son of Curt and Bethany Lowe of Osco.