Over the past few years of my involvement with the London International Awards, I’ve never ceased to be amazed by the talent represented, pulling together a diverse group of directors and cinematographers from all over the world. It was an honour to judge such a worthy pool of creative talent, and a great experience to see the work of my peers, some of which I might not have seen otherwise. None of us works in commercials for the sole purpose of advertising, we choose the medium because of the vast range of creativity it affords us, and I believe I saw that range well represented in this year’s entries.
What a privilege it was to judge the LIA's with such a world class jury. We had such a great diverse, low ego group that found itself quickly on the same page and happy to discuss anybody's point of view on the work when there were differences. I thank them for this.
Film and Integrated is my favorite categories - in particular Integrated - and I was honored to be asked to chair. Integrated isn't just about checking off a few different media types. It's about a big branded idea pushed through touch points that strengthen the idea and the brand at the same time. Purposeful choices of the where, the when, and the way a brand interacts with consumers all brilliantly executed is key. Of course it always comes down to that simple feeling in your gut of "I wish I'd done that". We saw a lot of great work and shared a few drinks and in the end we celebrated an industry that is bringing powerful change and innovation to business and culture.
I thank LIA - Barbara, Tony and Wayne and our jury for making it such an inspiring experience. And I congratulate everyone that did the work that we chose no matter what metal or mention.
The NEW category is always slightly ahead and behind itself.
Every year the industry [and the world around it] evolves and things that once were NEW become established – or fade away.
Thus the NEW may become a petri dish for new categories to be grown from.
The LIAs look to reflect the changes in our industry’s output and so new categories may be created to reflect trends in the NEW.
This is the category for things that don't fit in other categories – anomalies that may contain the DNA of future species of advertising.
As ever, we spent a lot of time debating the nature of the NEW. We put a few stakes in the ground: New ways to tell stories, to connect businesses to people, to change behavior or society, to build businesses, or even to build a better future.
The Gold winners all pushed the industry out of comfortable advertising solutions: a file format you can’t print, a payment platform for digital goods, a product: dynamic participatory systems that hint at new roles agencies can play, new ways to think about what we do for clients.
Above it all, Small Business Saturday made an old trick new, creating a holiday that works for the brand, its customers, and the country.
And then we come to the Morgan Spurlock documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold into it. Even in a category for things that don't fit elsewhere, it didn't seem to fit.
Pom Wonderful presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a documentary about product placement, paid for entirely by product placement in it, which details the process of getting sponsors on board and the marketing deployed to promote the film.
It didn't seem to sit comfortably alongside the other ideas being judged, but it did seem interesting and directional for the industry to discuss and highlight.
Therefore, in the spirit of recognizing that, the jury decided to create a special award to recognize it, outside of The NEW Category.
[I had to abstain from this discussion, as I was involved in the film.]
In the spirit in which Morgan made the film, the jury would like this award to be offered up for sponsorship. Real estate on the award itself is available for branding, just as it was in the film itself: The Greatest Award Ever Sold.
[Hurry while stocks last!]
My thanks go to the jury for their passion and diligence in what is a very hard category to judge - Chloe Gottlieb [R/GA], Ben Richards [Ogilvy], Anthony Nelson [DraftFCB] and John Wilshire [founder of Smithery] - and for teaching and inspiring me and making the NEW better.
Now before you accuse my jury of being a bunch of mean Prix for again not awarding a Grand LIA, let me explain. The overall standard was excellent but after discussing each of the beautifully executed Gold winning ideas, a ‘best of the best’ was one of the few things we couldn’t agree on.
Radio is a beautifully simple medium and the calibre of an idea is exposed whether you like it or not. This can frustrate the hell out of some creatives as there isn’t much apparent opportunity to innovate. However, be encouraged to hear that others are bravely challenging the conventions of radio and advertising.
Sure, radio will always be dominated by spots and ad-breaks – the model ain’t broke and doesn’t need fixing. But an increasing number of advertisers are finding innovative ways to integrate their message within other parts of the station programming. Many are succeeding and you will notice this year’s Innovative Use of Radio category has a lovely golden hue about it.
Thanks to LIA for organizing a terrific judging experience and to the radio jury for taking the task in hand so personally. Well it is radio.
First a few words of thanks for the warm and careful reception we had during our stay in Vegas. While much work was done, the atmosphere and the care with which we were treated made those long working days a very pleasant time. This time I would say that: What happened in Vegas - should be known out of Vegas.
What we found about the work, and took us many hours of discussion, is that most of the time the cases were average ideas that were presented with too many explanations and turns.
And the reason we only chose a single Grand LIA is very simple. Most of the work was good and solid. But only the winner of the Grand LIA stood out much more above the level of the others. The gap between this work and the other Statue Winners is so great that it had to be the Print Grand LIA.
I had a great jury, smart and very well selected. I want to thank them for their intelligence, good humour and patience. I believe the results we achieved are fair. And I'm happy with that.
The Judging Experience 2011 / LIA Awards, Music:
In the 26-year history of the LIA Awards, this was year 2 for a sperate jury judging in the Music and Sound categories. I was excited to be a Juror the first time around, and honored to be Jury President this year, along with an extraordinary “supreme court” of professional colleagues whose experience and credits are unmatched in our industry. I bow to their genius and passion!
Over all, our judging went smoothly, with no fist fights or gunplay— though there were a few heated exchanges. Well hey, a lot of what we do just “hits you” (or not) in a visceral, subjective way. And that’s okay—it’s supposed to.
Here’s an example: A brilliantly simple and graphic commercial for Absolut Vodka called “Absolut Alembic” had been submitted in the Sound Design category. Without a doubt the unique electro-percolating sounds scoring the eloquent liquidity of the visual were artfully “designed”. And yet they were also musically arranged, creating an unmistakable progression of musical notes. This fact caused our jury to enter into a vigorous and lengthy discussion over whether the spot should be moved from Sound Design to the Original Musical Underscore category. And that, at long last, is what we did. (Which partially explains why we drink vodka.)
After our Jury had completed its work, I was asked if I’d detected any particular “trends” in music based upon what we’d seen / heard. Challenging question! At first I felt inadequate to the task of summing it all up. And then I realized that one of the things that had impressed us most about our list of ‘finalists’ was the extraordinary diversity of musical styles and influences. The work was not enslaved by any obvious directive (‘Make it sound like a club track!’ ‘It should be like an indie rock band!’).
Instead, the spectrum of musical styles, genres and interpretations was vast and invigorating. I was often startled, thinking to myself, ‘Shit, how’d they come up with that?!’ Or, ‘I wish we’d done that!!’ That’s a good thing, right? A few examples: The mesmerizing use of solo cello as a rhythm instrument in the entertaining VW Passat “Change Room” spot; a ridiculously funny show tune called “Love Your Vagina” for Mooncup; the exotic, chugging arrangement of a traditional Indian folk song performed by a Bollywood-style choreographed chain-train of men-in-motion for Indian Railways; the way-over-the-top R&B sex-you-up ballad send up for Bundaberg Five; the heart-pounding, nerve-wiring deconstruction/rearrangement of Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major for the FIAT “Toluca” film …
Sometimes I say It’s amazing what you can see with your ears. At this year’s LIAs, there were amazing sights to behold. Check ‘em out, turn it up and you’ll see.
LIA was once again one of the most well organized award shows I had the privilege to judge. Special thanks to Barbara, Patricia, Wayne and Tony for hosting and organizing this great venue. Special thanks should also go out to my jury who quite honestly were and I guess still are better creatives than myself. It's been an honor kids!
As we realized over the past years, classifying digital executions by certain criteria just didn't make sense anymore. So we decided to just group the work into single and campaign executions and judge accordingly.
We judged roughly 600 entries during pre-judging remotely, then the top 200 entries in Good old Las Vegas. During the first day we narrowed it down to the roughly top 60 entries and kept the final 2 days for hours of discussing the work.
Questions from "Is it a big idea?" or "Is the idea relevant to the brand?" and "Is it executed beautifully? to "What's the value to the consumer" or "How does it change people's behavior". All these great questions we tried to answer truthfully.
And at the end of the day, I think we did a great job.
Define design? I wouldn’t dare. Many smarter than I have tried, but like US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart who wrote "I know it when I see it" when challenged to define the term pornography, I am challenged to define design as a category when faced with thousands of entries spread across a large ballroom in a Vegas casino.
As jurors on a tight schedule, we must follow our instincts—choosing which entries will move through the first-round elimination and which will be slid unceremoniously under the judging tables never to be seen again. At that moment, a potential award-winner is one that catches the judges attention, an instant stand-out in a sea of disparate communications comprised of an odd mix never intended to be seen or considered together.
In consumer communications, design can mean everything and nothing, similar to other offering terms like brand, innovation and digital. The granddaddy of all—advertising—is being used less and less as it suggests an old or limited way of doing things. Each of these terms requires qualification by any user for a coherent conversation with a new acquaintance. In the broader cultural sense, design can refer to indie band t-shirt artwork, or can refer to "intelligent design," a Creationist term referring to a truly robust offering led by the supreme "intelligent designer" who directed creation of, well, everything. Thus, the conundrum: design can refer to a big picture, organizing principle or an end of the food chain tactical execution. Defining design as a category in an advertising award is challenging and a little convoluted, but the confusion accurately reflects the role of design and designers as an offering and occupation in the consumer communications world.
This year we received a large number of design entries in the temporary Environmental Installations/Displays - brand activation category. Many were strong brand executions on their own merit, but some were specifically targeted activations in much larger integrated campaigns. The inclusion of so many of these entries alongside the more traditional graphic design entries resulted in not only longer judging periods, but also required the jury to consider design's role more broadly than the conventional category pillars of the awards process.
Design, like art direction, photography, etc. is inherent and active in most every entry across all categories in the competition. I missed seeing web design this year in the design category. It must have been relegated to the "digital" category. I’m feeling ghettoized. This brings the observation: as the traditional advertising industry desperately tries to evolve, as campaigns become more "integrated," as brands experiment with moving their traditional one-sided communication with consumers to multi-channel "conversations," multi-disciplinary creative teams are required to work together seamlessly. Maybe we should consider multi-disciplinary juries.
I wonder what would happen if the juror mix in one of next year's categories resembled the dynamic of a typical juror’s breakfast table. Jurors filter in—some stagger—each morning and sit at one of the big round tables overlooking the “European Pool.” We all seek solace and strength in coffee, tea, bacon, homefries….. A few jury pals find each other and sit together, but the tables slowly fill with a mix of chatting jurors from all disciplines present.
We may represent different disciplines, but we are united by our creative professions and as judges by our desire to seek out and identify work that inspires us and possibly makes us a bit jealous. But each discipline does have its own language, its own shorthand. I wonder what type of conversation—or heated debate—would ensue if next year all of the designated gold and grand prix winners were submitted to a jury comprised of one person from each of the categories. What would the awards be called?
I had the pleasure of judging two consecutive years on the same jury. So that offered an interesting perspective. Definitely less blockbuster spots this year. But still fun.
What I really like was that the jury was open to embrace just random weirdness. If we continue to work in a set of rules where everything has to make sense we are in danger of going around in circles. Sometimes you need to forget the rules to come up with something fresh. And it was those pieces that stood out the most to me this year.
Thanks to LIA for letting me be part of this judging process. Being surrounded by a bunch of great creative people made it easier to stay away from the slot machines. So instead of hearing dingdingding, we heard some great radio spots that deserved to get an award.
Whoever thinks radio is boring or a medium where nothing innovative can happen is wrong. This year's work proved it.
When it came to the medals we talked about each and every single entry that made it to the shortlist. And yes, we had some heated conversations.
(Is now a good time to thank Ralph van Dijk, for not just being a great jury president, but also being a strong man that kept us in check?)
But once there was peace and decisions that made us proud, we celebrated what the London International Awards are really about. The work.
It's a funny thing, being a judge – because judgments often end up saying more about oneself than about what is being judged. Those three days in Vegas judging the LIA's forced me, and I think forced all of us judges, to turn the mirror around and ask ourselves what great new marketing entails. What are we doing? What are we creating? Why do we show up to work in the morning?
The best entries were the ones that had at their heart not just a great idea but a great marketing idea: an idea that spawned new content, new tools, new experiences, new business models, new product innovations.
Take the Hot Wheels case, for example: they drove demand for their toy cars by simply creating (and selling) branded rolls of tape with track printed on them. Or the ultimate winner, American Express' Small Business Saturday: the marketing was the merchandise, and the merchandise was the marketing.
Hats off and congratulations to all the winners. Thanks for making us think - and squirm.
It doesn’t matter
LIA = London International Awards
LIA = Las Vegas International Awards.
or some of juries may feel
LIA = Liver Irritation Awards
But we, all juries, make sure
LIA = Leading International Awards
Another year is in the books. Long hours... Lots and lots of work... And an opportunity to rub elbows with some of the best radio ad people in the world. Barbara and Company are the perfect hosts and they take wining and
dining to a new level. An absolute pleasure. And if I take anything away from the weekend in terms of the work we reviewed it will have to be the surfacing of innovative uses of radio.
In my opinion, we've seen very little of that in a long, long time... And so last year we LIA judges requested that a new category be introduced: Innovative Use of Radio. I think the timing was fortuitous. Several entries blew me away for their out-of-the-box thinking. I found them to be truly inspirational and I'm excited to see what future work, and the resulting recognition they bring, do to bring more energy and 'heat' to the medium.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” - Bob Marley
Having the privilege to be a judge in the 2nd year of the London International Awards Music Category was a pleasure, an honor and distinctly different from last year in several aspects:
* The categories were re-defined, allowing the jury to spend more time judging and discussing the work, rather than questioning if something was entered in the correct category or not.
* The judges viewed all the work together vs. online separately, leading to a more dynamic and “in-the-moment” reaction to the work.
* The judges had experienced the process once before and thus helped shape the discussion and trajectory for this year’s judging.
Lyle Greenfield, this year’s Jury President, set a tone for the judging that created an atmosphere that led to inspiring, stimulating and dynamic conversation about the work. All of the judges are on top of their game and it showed during the discussion and voting for awards.
The LIA staff made the judging experience a great one. Not one technical glitch in a complex viewing and judging process, and as gracious as they could be.
Thanks to Josh Rabinowitz for teaching me how to play Blackjack.
Two campaigns that stood out for me:
1. Not an easy act to follow after the successful 'Share Our Billboard' campaign for James Ready, Leo Burnett Toronto continue to produce an equally engaging and fun 'Pop up Billboard' campaign this year.
2. Mercedes-Benz's special billboards allowed motorist to see potential hazards from around the corner, as if they looking through transparent walls, a great way way to demonstrate the PRE-SAFE® technology. A very smart idea by Jung Von Matt.
Hat's off to both agencies.
I also want to thank a marvelous group of judges, whom are extremely tough, unbendingly fair, and more importantly, insanely fun.
It was refreshing to see so much skilfully crafted work in such challenging times as these - with budgets being slashed and less time allocated to each job. There are some very talented people in our industry and a lot of this work proves that.
Joining the jury for the Animation and VFX categories has been a pleasure and a revelation. The LIAs are surely the most comprehensive awards in our industry and this is reflected by the rigorous way in which the judging process is coordinated. The work itself was inspiringly varied and, in many cases, very high-end. Despite continued economic uncertainties, the best animation and VFX companies have shown that great execution is not only possible but essential in making a client's communication cut through. I think all of the work nominated this year stems from a simple idea dramatised by inventive technique and strong storytelling. I'm happy to see that those timeless values are alive and well.
Judging the LIA awards was a refreshing break from day to day production pressures, and a reminder of why we're here in the first place - to invent and create something that engages or evokes. I raced through the entries as quickly as I could, like speeding along a highway of work, images blurring past.
Every now and then something would make me slow down to appreciate it, and once or twice I completely stopped to admire the view, and shook my head in admiration. That's what great work does - it makes you stop and think, it inspires you to go do the things you want to do, pursue the ambitions you long forgot about, and reminds you that the journey needs to be, deserves to be, enjoyed as much as our destinations.
For all of the new techniques and digital innovation demonstrated in the entries, it remains the great concepts, the spots with genuine personality, originality, and character that impress by far the most. Even the technical craft seems to shine so much more when it's backed by a great idea.
As film makers we express ourselves and the world around us either by poetic or descriptive means. We obsess about telling a story from a unique viewpoint that will beguile and transfix the audience. Technique plays a pivotal role in how we achieve this very aim.
Judging the Cinematography category has not been easy - the level of achievement in this field has been outstanding. The cinematographer is the catalyst from script to screen. Until that first frame is shot it's only ideas, concepts, scripts and hopes.
Bernard Hermann once wrote "Music must convey what words cannot say". I think the same can be said of lighting a scene and the lenses we look through to impart an intimation that cannot be conveyed by word alone. It is an art form that is seemingly limitless in its possibilities.
Cinematography is also becoming a far more esoteric category to judge. With the advent of serious post-production VFX it has become far harder to know what is true to the camera. I was once told that a rule of thumb when judging cinematography is to look for the exterior scenes. Although this shows a good understanding of metering I feel that outside photography is actually incredibly limiting for the cinematographer.
Personally I love the moment when you walk on set, the lights go on and suddenly you are transported to a moment, a mood or a completely new world born out of illumination. This for me is where the true art lies, creating depth, scale, shapes, tone and mood to deliver a visual aesthetic that conveys an idea or storyline in a heartbeat.
Together with cleverly designed camera moves, intriguing use of lenses, dynamic frame rates and subtle metering the cinematographers world is born. It is a dance that when the timing is right breathes an incredibly vivid life.
I remember the early days of Photoshop as if it were yesterday. Somehow it’s difficult to find the right words to describe what I felt when I saw an artist manipulate an image on a computer. A friend of mine worked as a typesetter and had access to a Mac classic. Looking back, the screen felt not much bigger than an actual smartphone screen but supported only black & white with very poor resolution. Even Photoshop had no layers and general limitations were massive, it was obvious to me that this technique would change the graphic industry – and finally it would change my entire life. I couldn’t stop thinking what I would do with a machine like that. It wasn’t just a machine and an application that had been released – it felt like Gutenberg who invented the moving letter was reborn as a trio: Steve Jobs, John Warnock and Chuck Geschke (Adobe) and brought their invention directly to me – and for me. It felt they just redefined the entire universe.
I used to take photos, develop them myself and sometimes I added Letraset letters – character by character – handcrafted. Once it was done no changes were possible. Now everything felt possible – and more.
Today about 20+ years later watching the entries for the LIA TV/Cinema/Online Film - Technique, this specific feeling comes back sometimes. Technique strongly influenced the entire film industry and its creative output. Technique within the film and advertising business means much more than just correcting colors or retouching a film sequence. It gives us the ability to tell a story as is hasn’t been told before and to carry the audience where it has never been. And finally it is more than a pleasure to see that creatives out there don’t get tired of working on new looks, developing new techniques that turn unimaginable into extraordinary visual experiences and use this ability with a strong combination of taste, passion and faith.
Some of this years entries showed me again why I still love what I’m doing in a quite exhausting industry.
So make yourself a drink, lean back and enjoy the compact selection of finest incredible work of all the talents out there. It was really a honor to be a member of the LIA jury.
Keep on exploring folks!
In the current climate everyone of the animation and VFX nominations is kind of a miracle... the best of the work triumphing over challenging budgets and schedules. As ever the stand out work focused on conceptually tight ideas where the animation and VFX served a bigger creative idea. Well done all involved.
This was my first time doing LIA, and hopefully not my last. The great thing about juries is that you are continually reminded about the quality of your own work. You watch thousand of pieces of work in a row. You see something that’s maybe not that good, and you feel that little bit more secure, if not borderline smug. And then ‘Boom’. It all turns to custard. You see something great, something that makes you laugh, and think ‘I wish I’d done that’.
And that’s what happened in Las Vegas. There were some great moments. Enough to come back and give a report to my own agency. We were a great jury, fair and balanced. We worked hard all week. The only thing that went wrong was finding that one killer, gob smacking best of show. Maybe it was a bad year. We’ll never know. Either way there is great work in this book. Congratulations if you’re in. It’s an achievement. And if you won metal, that’s even better.
As for me, I’m back at home now trying to raise the bar. Serving on a jury does that to you.
It was a very interesting jury experience for me this year at the London International Awards. The first funny thing I noticed was judging the London awards in Vegas. I guess the weather is nicer in Vegas, or so I've heard. We rarely saw the sun and the lights replaced the moon.
The jury was first class. There was tons of work to plough through and debates over significant pieces only got more interesting and fervent as the hours passed. We all agreed there was nothing quite revolutionary enough to warrant a Grand Prix this year, but plenty of compelling communications that deserved gold.
Once again, Skittles was hilarious, IBM Watson proved innovation can talk, Domino's served a new topping called honesty and "who killed Deon?² used clever interactive videos to implicate viewers in everyday crimes. But no show stoppers, so no Grand Prix.
I'd like to send a big shout out to our Chairman Andrew who kept it rolling and made the week fun with his anchorman antics and talent.
Thanks to everyone at the LIA, the most high-tech, buttoned-up awards I've ever had the pleasure of doing jury duty for.
As I write this, the judging was three weeks ago. And the one campaign that stood the test of time in my overloaded brain was Sony Ericsson’s Product Testing Institute Campaign. We awarded it a gold. Not because it was a brilliant new concept. Or an executional tour de force. Frankly, it was a client’s dream - two minutes of hidden camera-ish product
demo. But the how of it was wonderful. A very tough jury watched all 6 films - each more than 2 minutes in length - multiple times.
(Note to entrants: just because you can make web films longer than :30 doesn’t mean you should. Our jury was so sick of lengthy blather, we awarded a few :15s for the sheer joy of short.)
Judging was fun. Andrew was a tough and kind Jury President. And the LIA people sure knew how to take care of us. I sure don’t get treated that well in my real life. Great digs and amazing dinners with talented people from around the globe (Hi Usagi! Hi Pete!). I never did get around to gambling, I was having such a good time talking. And learning.
This was fascinating to see so much work together and back-to-back. Whether it’s in the category of Directing or Lighting I was looking for the same kind of things…the ideas, the interpretation, the vision, the execution. Creativity is the lifeblood of our industry and in commercials especially many of these factors have to come into play and work together to make a great piece of work and ones that stand out and are memorable. This is why both roles are ‘crafts’ that require instinct, talent and more often than not experience; it’s like anything… the more you do it the better you get.
So inevitably when you see so many commercials together, the cream tends to rise to the top and this body of work was no exception; I won’t talk about individual spots but you can rest assured that the short list of finalists were more than deserving of their elevated status. There was some outstanding work this year. The only downside for me apart from a fair amount of mediocrity was there was a small amount of work that really wasn’t up to standard and should never have been entered. My advice? Save your entry fee…
Apart from that I had a lot of fun and found some of the work truly inspiring…
It was a long flight home from judging the LIAs. I slept well, for a change, thoroughly exhaustedly by days and nights of consideration and contemplation. And a drink or two, when it all got a bit much. But the first thing I did when I arrived back in the UK? I asked for a link to the shortlist.
I wanted to have all that brilliant work, close at hand, all that genius from around the world, captured in a precious stasis, in video amber. Gollum could keep his magic ring. Except, unlike Tolkien's corrupted soul, I didn't want to keep it, I wanted to share it... send that link on to everyone I knew... "have you seen this...?"
LIAs, for your inspiration haunts my every waking hour... and for that, I'm grateful.
I was not sure what to expect of The NEW Category, since by its very definition, it would always contain work that does not quite fit anywhere else. What I discovered was an inspiring body of inventions, large and small, which disrupt society in positive ways. Our small group of judges, all of whom inspired me, took the challenge of judging The NEW on with
gusto, spending time sketching ideas around criteria as we judged the work. We soon entered a flow where the work impacted the criteria as much as the criteria impacted the work. We were especially excited by work that evidenced a partnership between Design + Technology. We found that the best work involved different types of ‘hacks’, that would force people to examine the familiar in new ways. It’s great to have a category like this, one that can birth future categories like product innovation and interactive installations. The NEW is like a little speedboat that will set the pace and course for where we are headed. And based on the selected work, things are looking very bright, indeed.
This was a very interesting year in radio. Of the eight golds we awarded, four of them went to non-traditional radio
ideas. Big ideas that couldn't be contained to 30 or 60 seconds.
That's a seismic shift for radio.
And yet another inescapable sign of how everything is changing in every single corner of our industry. I suspect the "Most Innovative Use of Radio" category is going to become a dominant category. While there were only a small number of entries in it this year, they ended up with 50% of the hardware.
Put your ear to the track, and you can hear a new train coming.
Welcome to the future.
Three amazing days among radio royalty – probably the highest concentration of creative talent and radio savvy I’ve ever experienced. It was a privilege to be in that room.
And it was a tough room. Only the best of the best made it through; this jury was merciless with the merely-very-good. But to put things into perspective, every single one of the hundreds of entries was better than most of what I hear on my daily commute.*
It wasn’t a year for new landmark campaigns. But it was definitely a year for variety. We gave statues to, among other things, a seven-second hot sauce ad, an HIV PSA promotion that wasn’t a “commercial” at all, and a good old-fashioned poop humor spot.
I was especially gratified by how hard everyone worked to assess the non-English entries. When they come with clunky English translations and/or performances, it’s easy to be dismissive and unfair. We were not. And we discovered some gems.
Hats off to Ralph for his impeccable leadership and insistence on 11am lattes. Mad props to the IT guys and their ingenious judging technology. And thanks, especially, to Barbara and Patricia who know me so well but invited me nevertheless.
* With the noteworthy exception of one breathtakingly tasteless car campaign that was probably scammy anyway.
What an instructional, and inspiring experience. I was honoured to Judge.
What impressed me most was the fact that there was no guarantee to be in this book, even if you scored high at other award shows in 2011. Every piece of work had to earn their merit all over again.
Which makes the LIA a very independent, bold and therefore very special and tough competition.
Be very proud, if you are in!
A big "Thank you" to Jaynata's iPhone sound-library, Pablo's temper and of course to Barbara, Tony and the whole LIA staff. Sorry for hating The Beatles :-)
Maybe next time.
Las Vegas is an exciting place to judge an advertising award show. Although instead of windowless rooms pumped up with oxygen we had sunshine, a swimming pool and fresh air. Well, during daylight hours at least.
There was a good spread of work from around the world, arranged on long tables. And experienced players prowling cagily around them. With winners as rare as a slot machine jackpot.
The jury was, however, generous with its time and comments. Every word of copy was read. Every video watched. The judging technology proved a help not a hinderance. And everyone involved made the process go as smoothly as possible.
Ultimately, despite what was happening just outside the judging room, it was ideas and execution that prevailed. Not luck.
Overall, it was an unbelievable experience. It was such an honour to be part of this group of talented people that I look up to and an even greater honour to sit side by side with them as judges for LIA.
The whole judging experience was astounding. The organization of the event made it easier to focus on what we needed to do. Judging isn't always easy considering the amount of creative work that was submitted and the hard decisions that we had to make but it was all worth it.
The talent that is out there is unbelievable. It makes me want to work even harder, knowing that other people in the industry put so much smart thinking and effort into making their work amazing.
I loved every single minute of it. And to top it off, I gambled for the first time and walked away with 400 dollars in my pocket. All in all, a pretty amazing week.
The Music Jury in 2011 was comprised of leaders in the field, including Partners or Owners from 4 major global music houses, 2 Major Advertising Agency Music Producers and one client from the Music and Production Side. The debate and final decision process was thoughtful, respectful and certainly dynamic. We felt as a group that overall the Music Adaptation Category had more depth than the others, although the other categories had some strong entries as well. The judges were impassioned about the work and gave equal consideration to everything. It was a sincere pleasure to be part of the Jury.
All hail the leisurely consideration of some of the best work in the industry. As a judge, the best part of LIA is having the time over several days to sit in a room, with a number of your peers and consider the work of still more peers, in a leisurely, considered way. Ultimately it becomes very self-reflective. And that's a good thing, because it ups your own game. We all spend so much time in our professional lives evaluating or pushing ideas that we have vested interests in, that the opportunity to review work where you don't have a dog in the fight, is sort of the ultimate professional luxury. It's all face value. There's no back story and no agenda. It's just the work. And again doing it in a conversational environment, rather than a dark room with a clicker makes LIA one of the better and more thoughtful judging processes I've ever participated in. And then of course there's Vegas, but that's a different story.
I must confess, I can’t think of a better venue to hold a judging event than a Las Vegas hotel and Casino. Naysayers and cynics be dammed, this event was the bomb. The LIA made everyone feel like the rock stars we wish we were or were still. The royal treatment we received, plus the oxygen I heard they pump through the ventilation system, undoubtedly helped our group to focus and strive not to disappoint.
I’m very honored to have been in the company of such a distinguished jury and lucky for the opportunity to further the cause of music. Facing multiple challenges sorting through this year’s crop off submissions we spent a lot of time debating craft vs. the idea. Some excellent work was passed over because … well, we’ve heard it so many times before. We were looking for something new and … OMG! … here I go … (no, he didn’t just say that)… “unexpected”. (Doh!) There seemed to be a unanimous aversion to solo piano, ukulele and celesta combos. The first person shooter video game has become a musical genera unto itself. What is the definition of sound design? - this question led us into some sort of Platonic debate. No, an award wining music track doesn’t depend (though it can’t hurt) on being married to award wining picture.
The fact this jury was composed of working musicians, or people actively involved in music for brands in my opinion deepened and enriched the debate. I think we ultimately honored the best work and pushed the bar a little higher. I don’t feel I’m going out on a limb by saying we all came away with a better understanding and appreciation of what music for advertising is all about; And some of us are leaving Las Vegas with a greater understanding of Black Jack and a lot more money in our pocket …. thank you Josh.
There were ingenious robots…live video feeds…Twitterspheres blowing up and blogs that went wild. Overall, the execution of ideas seem to be getting more and more complex, using every social, physical, and digital space even if it wasn’t necessary. And, there was no shortage of slickly produced case study videos that passionately presented how a unique twitter algorithm or a “never before produced” (fill in your digital experience here) gained millions of impressions on a zero media buy. Many ideas were dismissed because even though they were beautifully produced, they left us all feeling nothing and as a group we couldn’t answer the question, “why would someone use it”.
But at the end of the day the best ideas rose to the top. Uniqlo continues to not only maintain a high level of craft but also shows us all how to use digital to connect with customers in new and useful ways. And, the best work continues to be ideas that affect culture and are bigger then our industry. Ideas that are featured not just in our industry trades but in Wired and Fast Company.
The surreal and sprawling spirit of the place clashing with our ambitious debates about the most creative and valuable works for our industry made this event a very special one for me.
In order to find the category leaders in the expanding and ever evolving stream of the digital we had to discuss the hyped vs. the real, the technological stunt vs. the timeless, the beautifully packaged vs. the profound, and the cerebral vs. the fresh and simple.
I am honoured to have had the chance to participate in this debate with a group of splendid people. Thank you. And thank you LIA for making this happen!
You know just like a fruit tree that bears a great crop every other year, this year felt not like a vintage year for digital. Techniques dominated the entries and it seems people are tirelessly trying out all sorts of stuff just because they're possible. Connect it to Facebook or Twitter or both with a live feed through an AR app and stick the results in an awards film…
I was missing the simple executions, simple ideas and stories, the work that makes me feel faint with jealousy. Nevertheless we found some real marvels in the 822 entries. And one thing stood out for me: all the gold winners had on some level appeared “in the wild” outside our ad circles, penetrated popular culture, be it the campaign for the The London Metropolitan Police Anti-Knife Crime "Who Killed Deon?" or the incredibly infuriatingly amazing Edding Wall Of Fame site. Both pieces were made for real people and had real impact.
We also came up with some new categories that might be worth considering for next year: Best Use Of Face Embedding Technology, Best Use Of Robot, Best Use of Old School Flash and the My Kids Loved It category.
Thanks for having me LIAs. I will never forget the giant country singing frog. Ever.
Overall I found the work to be of an extremely high and inspiring standard. I felt the jury passionately interrogated the ideas and I think did well to see past the usual award entry film hype.
My first trip to Vegas didn’t disappoint either and was exactly how I imagined it. The only thing missing was the Tiger in the bathroom.
Let me begin by praising the incredibly talented and nice organizers of LIA 2011. Thanks Barbara, Patricia, Wayne and Tony that you got it all together so well.
Digital has gone from being an underdog or niche category, to be the category that is most critical to the brand's existence. The awarded work this year are campaigns that have touched people far beyond the advertising and media industry. Whether that is on a television screen, computer screen, mobile screen or a screen out on the town is less important. Digital embraces all of us in our daily life nowadays.
Big kudos to all the hardworking people behind the winning projects!
Environmental design saw a surge in entries this year. Even the typography category revealed a number of spatial designs. It’s indicative of graphic design’s has moved into larger-scale and more extensive forms of communication. Designers have more freedom than ever to choose the most appropriate media for their message, and they’re thinking a little bigger to get that message heard.
As wonderful as creative freedom is, it can be tough in this expanded world. Audiences are often no longer wowed by a brochure, poster or website in isolation. Working across platforms means the creative team needs to be at the top of their game in every field; the ‘master’ rather than the ‘Jack of all trades.’ That requires multi-disciplinary experts and real vision to get these different backgrounds on the same page.
The winning entries were full of big, holistic thinking, communicating on many levels, and often in surprising places; out in the parking lot; in store changing rooms; on the basketball court; even in a fantasy tailor shop. Hats off to thinking beyond the page and screen and embracing communication in its broadest sense.
One overarching theme in Design and Package Design was that many of the creatively strongest entries were more about the process and opening this up to interaction with consumers or co-creators, rather than the crafting of the end-result. So there is still great opportunity here for the design industry and design-savvy brands to do more in classic brand identity and package design, and do it really well. Even if the media landscape is changing and creative discipline boundaries are moving there will always be a need for strong, simple ideas, that combine function and form intelligently to create innovative designs that make every day life a little more understandable and beautiful.
Thank you once again for a very hospitable and inspiring few days in Vegas!
What stood out for me among this year's entries was the strength of activations for integrated campaigns. This was achieved in both permanent and temporary environments and installations that thoughtfully explored the use of different technologies married to more immersive brand experiences. The tech and media seemed to play a more supportive role in creating personal, memorable experiences rather than being a draw of its own less gimmicky and more integral to the concept. The experience Nike created for kids to learn the signature moves of their favorite basketball players employed tracking video, green screen technology, and personalized posters as take-aways that brought technology and learning in a powerful way.
It wasn't all about media and technology at events though, across many categories, there was evidence at the top of very thoughtful applications of design for print. For instance, the Homemade is Best cookbook was an excellent example of a smart concept married to beautiful photography and engaging design. It tapped into Swedish baking culture as the focal point of a campaign to promote IKEA kitchen appliances. Just ink on paper, but I wanted to try them all.
Another year in the wonderful company of Barbara, Tony, Wayne, Patricia and their team. Another year of some amazing work. Another year of staying up a little too late. Another year of debating what Non-Traditional is. I hope I get to come back and do it all again another year.
Judge hard. Play hard.
Those seem to be the rules since the LIA went to Las Vegas.
And I must say the work got a lot more respect than our livers.
We went over and over the Winners time and time again, ensuring that the
work that got in the book really did deserve to be there.
I hope you agree.
I've been privileged to be on a number of award show judging panels, and I will say that the LIA's was a great experience for a number of reasons.
The LIA team had assembled a high class team of judges, and specifically on my panel of Music and Sound Design there was a great synergy. I was very impressed with the organization and the process which made our jobs more efficient. Downloading the work was easy and fast and the marking system was one of the fairest I've used. The quality of the work was also very high, and I think the International aspect of the entries makes it really competitive. If you are making a decision about which shows to enter next year, LIA should be at the top of the list because you'll be competing with the best from around the world.
I've got to mention Barbara, Tony and Wayne and thank the whole LIA team for taking such great care of us in Vegas, they were wonderful generous hosts, and now that I've caught up on my sleep I'd do it all again in a heartbeat !
The jury was extremely passionate and rewarded good and well executed ideas. Although we did not award a Grand LIA, since we felt that no single piece of work was truly exceptional, we were generous in rewarding LIA's. Just the way it should be. The notes I wrote during the judging were mostly to check stuff later again because of the inspiration it gave me and to pass that on to the rest at MassiveMusic. Very inspiring!
Interesting to see was, that if the jury members were not in sync the difference was mainly between the agency music producers and the music manufacturers. Those discussions offered a learning experience. It doesn't happen that much that you are able to share thoughts with your colleagues on the ad-music and the business side of it.
My thanks to the LIA team for making this such a pleasurable experience and to the technical crew for the stunningly easy voting system. No time was wasted on this so we could also enjoy a bit of Vegas! Thanks for this opportunity & good luck for next year!