Quite often, at the One Show, small is beautiful. One of the things that makes the show unpredictable and therefore interesting is that a small agency, perhaps from a tiny country, maybe working with a modest client, can outshine the giants simply on the strength of a great idea. And, too, sometimes the work that wins is "small" in the sense that it may tend toward elegant simplicity, as opposed to being overproduced on a monster budget. Generally speaking, at the One Show, the only thing that needs to be "big" is the idea itself.
This year, however, it turned out that big was beautiful at the One Show. Several big-budget, "epic"-style commercials earned high praise from the judges, including the "Best of Show"-winning "noitulovE" (that's "Evolution," backwards) for Guinness. It was also a good year for big agency networks: BBDO took home 13 pencils and DDB 14 to lead all winners, and Ogilvy & Mather had a strong showing, as well. And then there was Unilever, the large packaged-goods company, winning "Client of the Year."
What to make of it all? For starters, it's proof yet again that the One Show is unpredictable and therefore interesting. But it may also be a healthy indication that the "big guys" are starting to truly figure out how this whole "creative" thing works. (Not that anyone's really figured out how creativity works). Big agencies and big clients were once notorious for relying on big budgets to cover up for small ideas. Now they seem to be getting it: It's the idea, stupid. It has to be strong, fresh, smart. If it is, it will be noticed and liked by consumers-and rewarded at the One Show. Doesn't matter if the idea is credited to a big agency or small one, or whether the client is an entrepreneurial company or a corporate giant. And it doesn't matter if the idea is presented to the world by way of a big-budget production-in fact, that can be a huge plus, as long as the idea itself lives up to the fancy execution. The winning Guinness spot was a major production, painstakingly executed, and that was much appreciated by the One Show judges-but only because they also thought it was rooted in a great idea.
So here's to the year of "Big." Congratulations to all the "Big Agency" winners (you see, the award shows aren't biased against you, after all). And to the "Big Client" Unilever (you paying attention, P&G?) Let's hope the big guys keep up this trend of doing good work. After all, somebody's got to keep the little guys on their toes.
Enjoy the issue, and all the fabulous work from this year's show.
-Warren Berger, Editor