The beginning of spring heralds the beginning of the creative awards season and I’m always itching to see what great new work the year will bring.
I normally get to see the results of the jury deliberations on awards night but was delighted to be invited to Bangkok to observe the judging process first hand for the 53rd International ANDY Awards, and it proved to be a highly interesting and useful experience.
The ANDY Awards is the first of the global shows in the calendar and, therefore, the one to set the benchmark for the year ahead. We look for new emerging trends and often see a first showing for some new gems that go on to receive great awards success as well as a place in our end of year rankings.
The judging process varies from show to show, but in the case of ANDY Awards, they have one integrated jury assembled from across the globe that judges all of the submissions. That’s no mean feat when you have thousands of entries! The majority of the 24-person jury was made up of senior agency creatives from around the world but there was also outlier representation from the likes of Vice Media, client organizations Burger King and Facebook as well as production and post-production companies like Prettybird and Framestore. The mix of backgrounds proved enlightening as some jurors were able to bring specialist knowledge and a slightly different perspective to certain categories.
The current chairman, the wonderfully affable Pete Favat, chief creative officer of Deutsch North America, had the task of guiding the jurors through five intense days of judging and making sure everyone had a voice and played fair when it came to the discussion phase at the end of the week. The initial “in” or “out” phase of judging saw everyone split into small groups before coming back together with the short list to vote on whether some form of medal was deserved. I was quite surprised by the amount of previously awarded work that failed to make the cut from phase one to two, so this was a tough bunch to please and not easily impressed. Which is as it should be.
As each phase completed, a picture of the winning work began to emerge. Only once the voting on the shortlist was over did the discussions begin. Some were unanimously and quickly agreed upon, while other pieces were debated at length as to their merits in terms of idea, bravery, relevance and execution.
I was at liberty to remain entirely neutral throughout the process as an observer, so staying tight-lipped during the discussion phases was frustrating at times! However, it was stimulating to hear everyone else’s insights, opinions and reasons for championing or pointing out the flaws in each piece of work. My own opinion was swayed on more than one occasion by a well-thought-out and impassioned plea.
As for the results … .
While it is obviously very important and hugely admirable that the advertising industry is using its influence to tackle many social issues, the awards shows of late have been inundated with worthy and sentimental initiatives that seem to be more about jumping on whatever the latest social movement is for the sake of winning kudos, rather than building a brand’s core values.
The ANDYs steered away from those questionable attempts to save the world. It’s always had bravery at the heart of its ethos and I think this year’s results are a testament to that, with a broad range of ground-breaking, innovative and thought-provoking work. Some of the awarded campaigns had already been recognized and some pieces were fresh and new to everyone in the room.
One that stands out in my memory was Coca-Cola’s “The Line-Up Song,” which was a totally bonkers, funny and joyful collaboration with the Egyptian football team involving a very catchy version of an iconic nursery rhyme that once heard is impossible to forget. You have been warned!
The ANDYs have fired the starting gun, so here’s hoping that 2017 proves to be a wonderfully creative and successful year for agencies and brands alike.