Integrated marketing and branding entertainment scored big at this year’s One Show Festival.

By Yash Egami

The 2008 One Show proved to be the year for integrated marketing. HBO Voyeur dazzled the crowd. The judges believed after seeing Best of Show-winner Xbox Halo 3. And Burger King once again showed how even a well-known brand can still serve up hot and juicy ideas year after year.

This year’s One Show judging was a grueling affair involving 19,000 entries, three islands (Dominican Republic, Hawaii and Manhattan) and 32 judges. After the work was viewed multiple times and the cuts were made (3 days before the actual show, no less), the contenders were whittled down to a paltry 94 Pencils.

“During a ten-minute break in preliminary judging down in the Dominican Republic, I watched a couple of resort employees carefully navigate a hand truck, precariously loaded down with about 10,000 pounds of discarded reprints,” recalls One Show judge Matt Ian from BBH in New York. “That pretty much sums up the One Show judging process…. Seeing that mountain of rejected work roll by—work that was, in almost all cases, vastly more engaging and entertaining than your average ad—well, that says more than the .001% of metal winners ever could. Pencil-winning ads don’t make Pencils prestigious. The shitload of ads that don’t win Pencils are what make Pencils prestigious.”

Familiar names like Skittles, The Economist, Apple and Coca-Cola made our list, but a few lesser-known, yet equally smart work from Buckley’s Cough Syrup and Diamond Shreddies cereal popped up. Big brands like HBO with their Voyeur project and Microsoft Xbox dominated the show with bold ideas that captured the judges’ (and audience’s) imaginations.

But what’s become of the oldest media of all, print? “I saw that print is the new radio,” remarks Nancy Vonk from Ogilvy in Toronto, a sentiment echoed by many on the jury. “It was a jolt for the jury to see what a weak year it was in this medium, formerly the bedrock of the One Show. We theorized that with attention moving steadily to online and non-traditional spaces, print is simply not being used as much, and the care and attention it once enjoyed is really eroding.”

Marty Cooke, chief creative officer at SS+K in New York, agrees, saying “There was exactly no energy in this category this year. Print used to absorb all the passion of the young. Where did all that unfettered creativity go? I found it Friday night. At One Show Interactive.”

Not surprisingly, this year’s crop yielded a decline in the number of winners in the print categories. Among the Pencil winners were Tide’s “Stains don’t stand a chance” campaign, Cape Times “Know all about it” and perennial favorite Harvey Nichols with their “Wonderful life” print ad. But categories like trade magazines had only two Pencils while black-and-white consumer magazine and small space print yielded zero.

“After this year’s show, I was asked why there weren’t more Pencils given in print,” says judge Paul Hirsch from Hirsch/Denberg in Chicago. “Well, in the end, there wasn’t a lot to reward. Why is this the case? Is it media fragmentation or just creatives not wanting to sweat the small stuff? Who knows. But if you’re reading this looking for a way to win a Pencil next year, unless you can top an ape channeling Phil Collins, I’ve got two words for you: trade magazine.”

Rob Strasberg, formerly from Crispin Porter + Bogusky and now at Doner in Southfield, Michigan, thinks a change in the media itself might have something to do with its decline, especially in small space. “The newspaper category seems to have become the 4-color spread category,” he observes. “The limitations that were once in newspapers seem to have disappeared, thanks (or no thanks) to full-color newsprint and better resolution. I miss the 1/4 page b&w box.”

Skepticism over possible “fake ads” continued to play a role in print. “I found it interesting that in parts of the world, 4-color spreads were a cost-effective way to advertise a miniature toy car or bubble gum to magazine-reading children,” muses Steve Mapp from BSSP. Another judge suggested nominating one particular flashlight maker as “Client of the Year” for its plethora of print work. “Plenty of agencies are still cranking out fake work, which is depressing,” says Vonk from Ogilvy. “It feels desperate and dumb. Real clients need those brain cells. I would have loved to have seen more effort against paying clients’ real problems.”

While all the judges feel that traditional categories like print and radio have slipped in quality and popularity, big strides have been made in integrated and non-traditional media. Says Norman Tan from Bates Shanghai, “Most of the print ads and posters might have very clever ideas that can win awards, but with a single media execution, it will not create a big impact with consumers and the brand. The new and bigger challenge for us is to create really innovative, fully-integrated ideas that work with a big impact like HBO’s Voyeur.”

“With so much attention on ROI’s and budgets, one great TV spot or print ad isn’t going to cut it,” echoes Andy Azula from The Martin Agency in Richmond. “More and more clients are getting savvier about reaching smaller numbers of highly targeted consumers. The result actually benefits the creative, I believe. The work can be more irreverent, or funny, or whatever it needs to be—whatever speaks to that audience—without worrying about what the masses will see.”

To read more of 2008 One Show: The Big Picture, pick up the latest copy of one.a magazine.

| More