Last year's One Show was about big ideas with small budgets in the midst of the worldwide financial crisis. 2008 saw the coming-of-age of integrated branding. But 2010? If anything could be said about this past year, it would be a more cautiously optimistic tone and a return to basics.
Two of the Gold Pencil winners this year, the Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" TV spot and
Johnnie Walker's "The Man Who Walked Around the World," won on the strength of their writing. Meticulously directed and produced, both were also captured in one continuous take using minimal post-production, creating some on-screen magic and an added degree of difficulty.
The One Show jury all heaped praise on the Best of Show-winner from Johnnie Walker and BBH/London. "Yes, the filmmaking is extraordinary," comments Joe Alexander from The Martin Agency
. "But the words, wow. Witty, informative, engaging, thick with insight, not a wasted letter in almost six minutes. The founders of The One Club would be proud."
"Watching someone stroll down a country road for six and a half minutes should not be this entertaining, but it is," adds Colin Jeffery from David&Goliath
. "This film is unlike anything I've ever seen before; it's captivating, informative, masterfully choreographed and focuses entirely on the products history and intrinsics. It brings 'Keep Walking' to life in an entirely new way and leaves me feeling really good about the brand. Storytelling at its best. Congratulations to all involved."
Print staged a small comeback after taking a backseat to TV and integrated for the past few years with many citing the Diesel "Be Stupid" campaign, The Zimbabwean print and outdoor campaign, Harvey Nichols from Dubai and other work. Rosie Arnold from BBH London
mentions a campaign from Rediffusion Y&R in Mumbai for video-rental service SeventyMM that parodies new films in a clever way.
"It was good to see stand-out work in some of the older disciplines like press, which can look dull in comparison to new interactive channels," she says. "[There was] also some fantastic writing—I loved the work which told the Avatar and Harry Potter plot by simply changing the names."
David Oakley from BooneOakley
points to another print campaign that was a standout in his mind: "It's not exactly politically correct, but I really liked the Dragon Noodle Las Vegas print campaign. It was art directed not unlike the wacky firecracker packages I sometimes purchase across the state line in South Carolina. I loved the headlines, especially, 'Come in to our satisfaction palace, hunger man.' Plus it doesn't hurt that I love everything about Las Vegas."
When asked to name his favorite entries, another judge, Jimmy Smith from TBWAChiatDay
in Los Angeles, also mentions a few print campaigns as well as TV. "Johnny Walker's 'Keep Walking,' Old Spice's 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,' HBO's 'Cube,' Dos Equis Beer's 'Most Interesting Man In the World,' Diesel's 'Be Stupid,' the 'Trillion Dollar Campaign' and then there was this print campaign for a yoga joint that was also off the skillet."
But most of the judges agree that the Diesel campaign from Anomaly is a shining example of print done right. In it, we see images of young people doing "stupid" but fun things that encourage individual expression. The ads are simple and straightforward, but the impact it made with this year's jury was lasting.
"The first thing that I did when I got back to the agency was to print a Diesel ad and put it on my wall," says David Oakley. "'Smart has the brains, but stupid has the balls. Be stupid.' This was my favorite campaign of the show. Stupidly brilliant. Or brilliantly stupid."
Fernando Sosa from la comunidad
was another judge who thought the Diesel campaign was one of the top entries of the year. "The best thing I saw was a graphics campaign that was both simple and classic. It was an ad for Diesel," says Sosa. But he feels that the One Show entries in
general were all over the map in terms of quality. "There was a lot of work but not all of it was great," he says. "In fact, there were very few great ones. In this case, I felt that I left without seeing the combination that I like to see best when I look at advertising: good and fresh. Unfortunately, I only saw good and classic work."
But it wasn't all traditional media that stole the spotlight. Big ideas using digital media like Gatorade "Replay" and the Nike "Chalkbot" had the jury buzzing. "Replay" was traditional storytelling at its core but was presented online as a web series. The Nike "Chalkbot" from Wieden+Kennedy was part of an integrated campaign featuring Lance Armstrong that employed cutting-edge wireless technology.
While the number of the innovative and integrated entries has increased over the past several years, the way the ideas are presented is still problematic. "It did get tiresome to hear digital films telling us how successful the campaigns had been—I think we all felt a simple demonstration of the idea would have been enough," says Rosie Arnold.
Jimmy Smith agrees that case studies have made it more difficult to judge. "I noticed that award show judging has become a lot more complex and tedious. You have to do a lot more sifting through the B.S. to get to the core of an idea. I'm speaking particularly of the Branded Content ideas and the ideas that were digitally based. EVERYBODY has a Facebook, YouTube and Twitter story to tell. But what many award hopefuls fail to realize is that it doesn't matter to the judges how many views it got on YouTube. A shitty idea is a shitty idea. But that was the trend, non-ideas hiding behind Facebook, YouTube and Twitter."
Though most of the jurors were expecting "safe" work because of the recession, many were pleasantly surprised at the risks some companies were willing to take. The Hyundai Assurance campaign from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners was a bold move that ultimately paid off for the carmaker. Procter & Gamble stepped out of its comfort zone and took risks with its Old Spice and Tampax "Zack Johnson" campaigns, which is why it won Client of the Year honors.
"Every year it seems that people complain about how much crap was entered into a show and that it was an off year," comments Jimmy Smith. "This year, however, I felt there was a lot of dope stuff, especially when you consider that we're in a recession. I thought the clients would have played it even more safe. But thankfully, for us judges, there was enough work that was off the skillet to keep us awake!"
Along with professional work, the One Show jury also evaluated this year's One Show College Competition entries. Fashion-brand Nooka and New York non-profit Million Trees provided the briefs, and the entries yielded an unexpected result: a Green Pencil. Called "SWIPE for a Million Trees," a group of students from the Bergh's School and Stockholm University in Sweden came up with the idea of having a separate subway turnstile for client Million Trees at each station in New York City. The simplicity of the idea wowed several judges including Colin Jeffery. "I absolutely love this, it's simple, executable, and I believe it would be highly effective if implemented by the NYC Transportation Authority," he says.
But not everyone agreed that the student entry was the "greenest" entry. "I still think the Johnny Walker 'Man Who Walked Around The World' should win the Green Pencil," muses David Oakley, tongue in cheek. "He could have been riding a motorcycle. He could have been driving a car. But he was walking."
In the end, simplicity was key in this year's One Show winners. For the most part, well-crafted and well-written entries that came in a variety of forms rather than elaborately produced pieces earned Pencils.
"What struck me as interesting in the final rounds of judging was that the work that rose to the top was a wide variety of things," observes One Show Judge Mike Hughes from Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners
. "Anything from integrated to longer format pieces to some traditional 30-second spots to newly invented mediums. It's always really exciting to see content being used in so many different ways. But to see those ideas crafted to the level they were at was really inspiring."