Tate was great. Gamekillers killed. Skittles was tasty. Interactive has gone big-time.
But please, please, get those fake ads outta my face! That seemed to be the general
consensus among the judges who selected the winning work at the 2007 One Show,
the 32nd year of the big event.
By Warren Berger
In what many judges considered to be a fairly strong creative year overall, there were some definite standouts. The 2007 Client of the Year was Masterfoods, proving once again (as Unilever did last year) that a large packaged-goods company can, indeed, do cutting-edge work. Masterfoods won on the basis of breakthrough and occasionally off-the-wall work for Skittles, Combos, Snickers and Whiskas. The One Show's first People's Choice award went to Bangkok's Jeh United for its "Jam" spot for Asiasoft. And as far as individual agencies and how they performed, the TBWA network took home the most pencils with 18; Ogilvy & Mather and Saatchi & Saatchi were tied with nine apiece, and BBDO earned eight.
Best of Show was taken by Fallon/London and its "Tate Tracks" campaign for the Tate Modern in London. The campaign attempted to draw a younger audience to the museum and did so by inviting hip musicians such as Chemical Brothers and Graham Coxon from Blur to walk the gallery and find a piece of work that inspired them. Each musician then wrote a track of music that was released exclusively inside the museum via listening kiosks in front of the artwork—offering visitors the unique opportunity to experience the music in the same place that it originated. One Club CEO Mary Warlick described the campaign as "the ultimate innovation in audience interaction."
The judges tended to agree with that assessment. John Butler of Butler Shine & Stern said, "Tate Tracks was just a really smart way for them to get young people into what I consider to be a fairly stiff place. I think they got in there and made more than just an ad campaign—they changed brand regard amongst a tough, cynical target." Another judge, BBH's Amee Shah, added: "It was simple, but so original. And most important, they put their money where their mouth is and made it happen." Judge Kathy Hepinstall called the Tate work "a brilliant, innovative, interactive idea."
Among the various integrated efforts, the "Gamekillers" campaign for Axe seemed to run a close second to the Tate work, in terms of winning over the judges. Rob Reilly of Crispin Porter + Bogusky commented, "I thought 'Gamekillers' was pushing the industry forward into areas that we only dabble in. These guys and their client took it all the way. It takes huge cojones to do that. But add the fact that it was done extremely well throughout all the pieces and it was hard not to consider it as best of show." TBWAChiatDay's Scott Vitrone said, "It's cool that they made a TV show, but it wasn't awarded because of that. It was awarded because it's a strong creative idea." Judge Timm Weber of Scholz & Friends summed up both the Tate and Gamekillers work by noting, "Both ideas explored entirely new channels to bring their messages across."
Weber was one of a number of judges who felt that this was a strong year for integrated work, though he had a quibble with the way that work is presented in shows. "Integrated is just getting bigger and bigger," he said. "And lots of agencies have adapted the Crispin way of presenting their ideas. That leads to lots of mini-movies that all start feeling very much alike." Another judge, Prasoon Joshi of McCann Erickson India, said he felt the presentations of unconventional media were done "too much in the EFFIE mode. Too much stress on numbers and too little on the idea. The presentation and especially the stress on the media coverage that the campaigns received seemed to have been factory-produced; there was so much of the same things."
The show seemed to be a reflection of what's happening in the industry, as clients and agencies are rushing into the integrated and new media categories, with mixed results. Butler put it this way: "I think Integrated is clearly the category that many agencies are embracing or in some cases jumping on the bandwagon. Some get it and some don't. Some of the entries got so caught up in showing how the thing worked across the board and how it seeped into culture ('One of the tchotchkes you created actually got auctioned on EBay? Wow!') that sometimes the actual ad executions paled in comparison to the 'bigger idea.' And I don't think integrated marketing should be an excuse to come up with some big, overarching idea that fails on the basic level."
Integrated work may have stirred debate, but TV commercials ended up being some of the favorite work. "I thought it was a solid TV year," said Ellen Steinberg of McKinney. "Really good, smart, funny stuff. I also thought there was very strong print. The positive spin on this is that it was nice to see people fully embrace classic advertising mediums. The negative: there was nothing truly revolutionary. But a sigh of relief to see people do great in already-invented spaces, particularly with humor. There were some good, old classic stabs to the funny bone."
That certainly describes some of the TV spots produced for the Masterfoods brands Skittles and Combos. "I really liked the Combos and the Skittles work," said Butler. "That stuff elevates packaged goods advertising to a place that I think could potentially inspire many to follow, which is a good thing. Very fresh, really weird stuff. You certainly remember it." Ian Cohen of Wexley School for Girls agreed on Skittles: "It is just right for what it is. I love that the spots have no formulaic endings, they just happen. They feel honest and fun and refreshing. I consider the Skittles work brilliant but since it is mostly TV, it doesn't have the enormous impact or effect that a campaign like the first year of Burger King or MINI had. But it's still amazing and perception-changing in the candy industry."
Among other individual campaigns that earned praise from the judges was the adidas +10 campaign ("a big idea that stayed interesting and entertaining through all the stages of the campaign," commented Vitrone). And Butler called the Burger King Xbox video game idea "inspired. Because they not only created content, they actually created products, games that sold at BK. It was an example of the idea being bigger than the sum of its parts though. I didn't really care much for the executions that led up to the big reveal, the games... but the mere fact that they created and marketed a product that had its own revenue stream, that was pretty fresh. And you can't argue with the numbers."
The issue of "fake ads" was very much on the minds of judges at this year's show. BBH's Shah noted that in particular, there were a lot of entries, including many from overseas, that featured some type of clever guerrilla stunt. "But the issue was, 'Is it real, is it spec, did it get produced? And if it's a guerrilla stunt, did it actually get seen by anybody?" Hepinstall was also troubled by what seemed to be "fake ads" and suggested that stronger guidelines were needed to determine what's real and what isn't. "Not that people will necessarily keep to the rules, but it would be nice to know where the line is drawn," she said. "For example, if you have an account and your agency produces an ad and pays for it themselves and runs it at 3 am in Akron, Ohio, does that fall within the rules of the One Show?"
The One Club did ask judges to flag entries that seemed fake. And once a piece of work reached the stage of being a finalist, the Club then went through a verification process, checking on media schedules and consulting with clients to determine whether work was legitimate.
CP+B's Reilly suggested that perhaps "fake work" needs to be appreciated in its own right. "I think we should look at it a different way than just dismissing that work. I wish there was a category for fake ads. Maybe we can reward people for figuring out a way to get something great out there. I'd rather we call it what it is instead of continuing to judge it against actual produced work."
Getting back to the "real" work, judges tended to have their own favorites, some of which went unrecognized by the larger panel. Vitrone said: "I'm a fan of the 'Midnight Spank' campaign (for G4 channel). It's perfect for the late night TV audience. I also like the Slim Jim 'Snapalope' campaign." Vitrone added that an under-appreciated entry was a campaign of :15 spots for Home Pro, an appliance retailer in Bangkok. "The idea is that prices are so affordable that 'anyone can sell.' They would pick people randomly off the street to do the sales pitch. It's hard to do smart retail, and I thought it deserved a little more attention."
Reilly cited: "Ian Reichenthal singing as the rabbit in the Skittles spot. Also, the hair-growing guy from Argentina was just absurd. I think some of this year's strongest work came from that country."
Leo Pratt of la comunidad said: "I really liked Skittles work, Burger King XBOX Games stuff, and some work for Lava Bar. Some were creative, funny, smart, and with a very cool strategy."?
Cohen: "I loved an interactive campaign for Arnet called 'Hair.' I thought the idea was completely engaging and the actor was hilarious. I loved how long it played out and how it easily could span all mediums. I also loved the FHM ad with little hot women as the typeface. Mainly because it worked on me. I loved the Carlo Rossi and G4 work too, just for the uniqueness and fun aspect."?
Steinberg: "I love the Penline work. Truly surprising, visual and smart. Classy. Love the Stuff-It print as well. And, to nicely counteract the class, I also love the Midnight Spank sand spot and the Combos stuff. There was also this great 'Where's Waldo' campaign for an SUV. It had Waldo, drawn
in the same illustration style, out in the middle of the nowhere, camping, roasting marshmallows, doing whatever it was that his kick-ass car let him do. Saw it once and never saw it again."
Joshi: "I really liked the Skittles films and I loved the Tate museum work. But I still feel that culturally different work from that of the west, like the Happy Dent film from India, deserves much more."
Butler: "I liked the Weiden+Kennedy Coke stuff, especially the Grand Theft Auto spot. I thought it made a cultural commentary and still delivered the Coca-Cola tried-and-true brand. And you can't argue with the Sony spot with the exploding color.... some nice big productions with solid ideas behind them. My favorite print ad was for some New Orleans relief fund, which made the point that if Osama Bin Laden never wanted to be found by the US Government, he should consider hiding in New Orleans. That ad made me laugh and cry simultaneously and I gave it a 9."
In terms of the overall body of work in this year's show, CP+B's Reilly summed it up as follows: "A lot of brands seem to be taking bigger risks. A lot of creative people are trying hard to do something different. That's all we can ask of the industry and our clients."