I don’t need to tell you that it was a difficult year for advertising and, like all the major advertising competitions, we saw a significant drop in entries to the 2009 Advertising Annual. Despite the challenging climate, we were pleased to still see some creative risk-taking in the 6,878 entries submitted.
“Not surprisingly, the most innovative work is in the online and integrated categories,” said juror Paul Little. “People are inventing what’s new and that’s exciting. It doesn’t always work but at least they’re trying.”
“I’m always amazed at how talented people can reinvent even the most well-worn categories,” said juror Hélene Côté. “It was great to see much more integrated, conceptual thinking that went beyond traditional media.”
“Television remains a very strong category,” said juror Carter Weitz. “In spite of what experts were saying a few years back, it’s far from being dead.”
When asked what they saw that was new, juror Maureen Shirreff noticed an overall communal feel that penetrated selling propositions. “Lots of the work based its sell on, ‘You’ll be part of our movement if you buy this product,’” she said.
Juror Jim Henderson found the Apple banner ads brilliant. “The imaginative way they used the Web page to create something so smart and entertaining is to be applauded,” he said. “Everyone will want to do banners as cool as those. At least I hope so.”
When asked about disappointments, radio was most commonly cited. “It’s the same story every year,” Henderson said. “Pretty much terrible except for the few constants that we all know.”
“The now old formula of ‘large visual/no headline/no copy/logo in the corner’ that became popular in advertising schools about twenty years ago showed up an alarming number of times,” said juror Guy Bommarito. “And there were still way too many ads that were obviously created just to enter in shows.”
“When the work was good, it was really good. The willingness of some clients to be bold and, in some cases, self-deprecating is refreshing.” —Paul Little
Many comments were also made about the now ubiquitous documentary videos. “They all have the same ending—phenomenal unprecedented success!,” said juror Steve Simpson. “All that proselytizing made the judging much more difficult,” said Bommarito. “I just want to see the work. If they have to take that much time to explain it and tell me why it was so great, that’s
I also asked how well advertising has been adapting to the increasing number of media choices. “I’m not sure that we’re adapting all that well,” juror Ellen Steinberg said. “I sometimes feel we simply, for lack of a better way of explaining it, ‘resize.’ I think the true art in embracing a different medium is tailoring an idea to that medium.”
“Everyone—and I mean everyone—from diapers to diamonds, wants to create a brand engagement experience with their customers on the Web,” Henderson said. “Do you really want to spend fifteen minutes on a diaper site? We need to figure out what makes sense for clients and how to best utilize the Web for them.”
“It will be a relief when we can stop talking about social media in breathless tones and begin to use it as simply and naturally as we do all other media,” Simpson said.
When asked about the future, Shirreff expressed hope that the challenging economic climate will cause manufacturers and brands to concentrate more on innovation. “That’s where great ads really begin—great products,” she said.
“Cultural is becoming social is becoming cultural (is becoming social),” Steinberg said. “How will advertising exist in those spaces? Brands have to find a way to insert themselves without becoming more annoying than they already are.”
“It’s obvious that personalized, self-selected communication is the way of the future,” Côté said. “It’s not about what you do as a company, but how you can be relevant to millions of consumers, one at a time.”
As in previous years, we employed a two-step jurying system, screening and finals. Due to time constraints, the judges screened much of the radio commercials and online advertising in their own offices prior to arriving in Menlo Park.
“There was a lot of great work as you’d expect, but the effects of the economy appeared to show, especially in television. There were some terrific spots, but I was surprised at how few there were.” —Jim Henderson
In our office, they worked in teams of three (Jean Coyne acted as the ninth screening juror due to a last-minute cancellation), screening a third of the television, print and projected entries in one of three halls equipped with broadcast equipment and six rows of tables for print. Print entries were spread out on the tables by category and each juror reviewed the entries independently. Any juror could put an entry into the next round by handing it to a member of our staff. Television, radio, integrated and digital entries were screened by checking an “in” or “out” box on scoring sheets.
After all the entries were screened, we combined the selections from the three teams for finals. During the finals, all eight judges worked as a single team. In one hall, print entries were spread out on tables by category. Two paper cups, one white and one red, with slots cut in the bottom, were placed upside down to the right of each entry, white cups for “in” votes, red cups for “out.” Each juror voted by placing a different colored ceramic tile into the appropriate cup. A check of the tile colors ensured that every judge voted on every single piece.
After all the jurors were finished voting on the print setup, they moved to another hall for a final session of TV, radio, projected images or integrated campaigns. Online advertising was judged on a bank of computers in another location in our office. Again voting was done by each juror checking the “in” or “out” column on the scoring sheets.
Judges were not permitted to vote on projects with which they were directly involved. When judges’ pieces were in the finals, Jean or I voted in their stead.
I would like to extend our grateful appreciation to our jurors for their conscientious efforts in selecting our 50th annual exhibition. —Patrick Coyne ca
Guy Bommarito is a freelance writer/creative director in San Francisco. Prior to that, he spent two years with Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago where he discovered the true meaning of winter. He is probably best known for his tenure at GSD&M where, as executive creative director, he led the agency to its first honors in the Andys, Cannes, Communication Arts, D&AD, the New York Art Directors Club, The One Show and the Radio Mercury Awards. In addition, he's taught advertising creativity and campaign courses at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin. He lives with one beautiful wife and three amazing young daughters.
Hélene Côté, a freelance creative director in the San Francisco Bay Area, was most recently a creative director at DDB in Los Angeles. She was an associate creative director at TBWA\Chiat Tequila and also worked for Rapp Collins, Foote, Cone & Belding and Saatchi & Saatchi. Côté feels her biggest accomplishment as creative director was winning an Emmy for the Ameriquest Super Bowl campaign. In addition, her work has been recognized by AICP, Belding, Cannes, Clios, Communication Arts, London International and The One Show. A graduate of Dawson College in Montréal, Québec, Canada, Côté has shown her limited-edition serigraphs throughout North America and Europe, including the Salon D’Automne in Paris.
Jim Henderson was with Martin/Williams in Minneapolis for 23 years, as executive vice president and group creative director/art director. During that time he was lead creative on LL Bean, Cargill, Coleman, Marvin Windows, Polaris and many others. One of the things he’s proudest of is that even as his management responsibilities grew during those years, he was always able to do what he loved most—being an art director. His work has been recognized by virtually every major awards competition, including the Andys, Art Directors Club of New York, Clios, Communication Arts, The One Show and multiple Stephen E. Kelly finalists. He is currently directing his talents towards pro-bono efforts (the most rewarding work a creative person can do), freelance art direction and photography.
Paul Little is creative director for TBWA\Vancouver. He joined TBWA from DDB Vancouver where he enjoyed a ten-year stretch working with some of Canada's hall of fame ad people. Along the way he collected numerous awards, including Cannes Lions, Clios, Communication Arts Awards of Excellence and One Show Pencils. He's also been regularly named one of Canada's top writers according to Strategy magazine’s creative report card. Under his direction, TBWA\Vancouver is one of the top creative shops in Canada winning every major national award and selected for inclusion in Communication Arts, D&AD, London International Awards and The One Show. When not hanging out with his daughter Frances or at his desk, he can occasionally be seen riding his snowboard up at Whistler.
Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago
Maureen Shirreff, creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, never took an advertising class. "I was a theater major at Northwestern." She did, however, grow up as the second oldest of eight kids on Chicago's South Side. "Trust me, you really learn persuasion, listening and compromise when you are part of a big Irish-Catholic family." Her career has taken her to BBDO, DDB, Foote Cone & Belding, Tatham-Laird & Kudner and Ogilvy. In 2000, Rick Boyko, head of Ogilvy NA, asked Shirreff to take on a pillar Ogilvy brand, Dove. The Campaign for Real Beauty has received every major industry award and provoked a ground swell of debate about society's definition of beauty. It also sold lots of product.
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
Steve Simpson is a partner and creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. After DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, Simpson went to grad school at the University of Chicago. He began his advertising career in Chicago at the now-defunct agency Marsteller, Inc. He next spent six years at Hal Riney & Partners before joining GS&P in 1990. At GS&P, Simpson has worked on such diverse accounts as HP, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Emerald Nuts, the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Nike, Porsche, the NBA, Norwegian Cruise Line and Chevys Mexican Restaurants. Simpson’s work has won every major industry award several times over and he has served on the juries of numerous competitions, including the Clios, Communication Arts, Effies, MPA Kelly Awards and The One Show.
partner/group creative director
Ellen Steinberg currently is a partner and group creative director at McKinney in Durham, North Carolina. Steinberg began her advertising career as an art director at New York’s Korey Kay & Partners in 1990 and continued on to Weiss Whitten Carroll Stagliano and eventually to Fallon McElligott, where she spent five years. After leaving Fallon, Steinberg spent several years freelancing––at Fallon, Wieden and Cliff Freeman. Steinberg rejoined Fallon (New York) as creative director from 2002–3. Steinberg’s work has been featured in Cannes, Communication Arts, D&AD, the Kellys and The One Show. In her spare time, she is a devoted yogi, poet and reverend—to date, she has officiated seven weddings.
president of creative development
Carter Weitz is president of creative development at Bailey Lauerman in Lincoln, Nebraska. Weitz started his career at Bailey Lauerman after earning a BFA from Iowa State University in graphic design. From there he spent a couple of years at Bernstein-Rein in Kansas City creating national work for Wal-Mart and Blockbuster. In 1991, Weitz moved back to Lincoln and rejoined Bailey Lauerman as associate creative director where he has “stayed put” since. His award-winning work has been recognized by the Art Directors Club of New York, Cannes, Communication Arts , OBIE Awards and The One Show. Weitz lives in Lincoln with his wife, Tami, their three sons and their golden retriever, Frisco.