“This year there was an avalanche of digital and non-traditional entries, meaning that, as time passes, the Annual will probably look different from what we’re used to,” said juror Mark Hunter. “What won’t change is the bias toward great ideas and brilliant execution.”
“You know work is great when everyone in the room wishes they had their name on it,” said juror Linda Honan. “There was a mutual sense of envy many times over.”
“It’s very apparent that advertising’s creative community is becoming more and more adept at working in the digital realm,” juror Dave Newbold said. “There were some really surprising uses of online and social venues.”
“The digital space is exploding in lots of interesting ways, and it seems we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible,” said juror Steve Bassett. “One of the ideas was so engaging, consumers spent an average of over 30 minutes with the brand. That’s a real win to me.”
“I continue to be amazed by how much time some consumers are willing to spend with brand experiences,” juror Ron Sack said. “Bravo to those brands that deliver high levels of non-stop engagement.”
Not all comments were complimentary. “Given that we are in the midst of ‘The Great Digital Gold Rush’ era, I expected to see much better online advertising,” juror Roger Baldacci said. “Just doing a stunt or promotion to get Facebook likes doesn’t mean people love your brand and want to connect with it daily. I think there will be a recalibration of brands doing great work and building brand voices instead of just pandering to get Facebook likes.”
“I’m hoping, with time, there will be a resurgence of print,” juror Margaret Johnson said. “It will likely evolve and become more interactive. Print advertising is number one at influencing consumers to start a search online.”
“While there was a lot of aesthetically- pleasing, smartly-executed work, the best of the best were based on powerful concepts.”—Dave Newbold
Other complaints? “Too much distressed type!” Honan said. “That style of typography had its heyday in the early ’90s!”
“Make case studies more interesting/meaningful and nothing over two minutes,” Bassett added.
I asked the jurors how advertising is adapting to media and demographic fragmentation and what developments will most impact its future.
“The more agile creatives are adapting,” juror Lisa Greenberg said. “They see demographic fragmentation as an opportunity.”
“The fact that we can target specific consumers in their daily lives by where they live, shop, eat and socialize is truly exciting,” Sack said.
“We’re using all the new social media platforms as best we can,” Baldacci said. “Instead of bludgeoning consumers with a massive TV buy, we’re being smarter and more efficient with our dwindling marketing dollars.”
“Smaller budgets require smarter creative solutions,” Greenberg added.
“Pinterest is definitely the biggest marketing-tech story of the year,” Johnson said. “Pinboards are driving an unbelievable amount of traffic to retailers. To reach these people, agencies will quickly start to incorporate Pinterest into their digital campaigns.”
“Obviously the biggest change facing us is the proliferation of screens,” Hunter said. “The process of helping brands find ways to be on those screens as often as possible can be a bit mind-boggling. But as this media revolution matures we are seeing that the media is still not yet the message. It only works if it’s built around a sound, relevant idea that is enjoyable to consume.
“Overall, a really strong showing of work in many mediums.”
As in previous years, we employed a two-step jurying system, screening and finals. For screening, the jurors 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 broadcast, projected images or integrated campaigns. 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 in which they were directly involved. When judges’ pieces were in the finals, Jean or
I voted in their stead.
We would like to extend our grateful appreciation to our jurors for their conscientious efforts in selecting our 53rd annual exhibition. —Patrick Coyne ca