It was truly an honor to serve as Jury President for the Music & Sound Jury at the 2015 London International Awards.
This was my first year at LIA and I had the privilege of serving on a jury representing great depth and breadth of musical perspectives from around the globe. I would like to thank my fellow jurors for their passionate commitment to the work we do; I learned so much from you all in the three days we were together.
On our first day we used two words to describe our benchmark for the best work: courage and bravery. In light of those words, we did not award a Grand LIA this year. There were strong contenders but no singular, undoubtable piece of work that broke new ground to stand unanimously above the rest. That said, this year brought a large and varied group of very fine work across all music and sound categories.
The Original Song category had strong and quite singular entries in both writing and execution. Old Navy, Loctite and McDonalds speak to the success of writing original content and delivering brand message. In Music Original/Underscore, Pepto-Bismol and Mumbai Mirror stand out on strength of composition, arrangement and production – all three elements must be equally effective.
Much like the creative process, LIA encourages, demands and enables discussion and debate. Where in the show do we place entries that fall outside the current parameters? Should we develop a category for experiential? What constitutes 'musical sound design' and which comes first the music or the sound design?
Thankfully, our world of music and its application in the content we create is constantly evolving and we are fortunate to be able to ask these questions anew each year. Seeing the full spectrum of work at LIA reinforces the role music plays as the gut-level emotional driver of our work.
I'd also like to add a special thank you to Barbara, Wayne, Patricia and the entire LIA team. It was a pleasure to meet and work with each of you.
Joy, closely followed by envy. When I feel that, I know I’m looking at a piece of advertising worthy of being awarded. So that was the bar we set for ourselves over the course of five days judging.
And joy there was. Laughter too. Some pieces of film made us tear up a little. There was wonderful storytelling and brilliant craft. And a few endings that we didn’t see coming (not easy to do).
There was a lot of funny; use of humor was a particularly strong category and for that we were glad. Five days is a long time to spend otherwise.
The pattern of judging followed an eerily familiar format: when building the shortlist you’re burying far more often than you’re praising. There’s a negative energy to this: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, yes, no. It’s hard, but necessary work.
But come the metal rounds, joy was in abundance. It’s a genuine pleasure and a privilege to discuss and debate such quality work. We all know the efforts, the inspiration, the graft, the passion and the secret deals with the devil that are involved to make work worthy of winning at LIA.
To every winner and finalist, thank you. You reminded us all just how good our profession can be. Nothing made the book that we didn’t hold in very high regard.
To my Jury, you were not only world class but you had all the class in the world. Your opinions were strong and intelligent, and your motivations pure. I’m proud of you, and proud of the body of work we honored.
We debated for hours over the Grand LIA, until finally settling on the utterly wonderful Monty’s Christmas for John Lewis. This film has a beautiful heart, is sweet but never saccharine, and tells a magical story with brilliant craft.
But it’s not only a wonderful piece of advertising. As much as the quality of the film, the context in which it lives, elevated it to Grand LIA status. John Lewis has such a pedigree when it comes to its Christmas campaigns, the entire country is waiting for the next one. It’s an event. And expectations are high. Get this brief and there’s nowhere to hide; 60 million Brits and pretty much everyone in advertising is tuning in. This is no free hit.
Monty’s Christmas wasn’t just a piece of advertising. It became a part of the story of Christmas in the UK. And that’s a pretty Grand achievement.
Finally, I’d like to thank Barbara and Wayne and the entire team for looking after us, and orchestrating a judging process that gave us all the time we needed to properly and thoughtfully give every single piece of work the respect it deserved. We never felt rushed, and we never felt pressured. At LIA the work (and getting to the very best work) is everything. LIA, as always, was a joy.
I love this medium, because it is so difficult to judge. At times it feels more like wrestling than it does deliberation. Is this new? Are you sure? What makes it so? Would it comfortably sit somewhere else? Or is it truly an orphan? Okay it’s new, but is it brilliant?
We didn’t award a Grand Prix. Not because we were miserly, but because nothing took it to the next level. There were masterful pieces of work, no doubt. But no single piece took us into new and unchartered territory. So we simply decided not to lower the currency.
Having said that, the three Golds are wicked smart. Career defining. So too are the Silvers and Bronzes. Flashes of genius, all. Hell, even the Finalists are rather glorious. Many have won metal in lesser shows.
Which leads me to the one thing I remember most. This jury. Without question it was the most diverse and uniquely talented have ever had the pleasure of working with. Everyone was a gifted outlier. I learned so much. And shut up so little. Respect (and apologies) all around.
A large dark room, 1500 spots to watch, four days of it…who would have guessed how much fun we would have.
Saw some work that we hadn’t seen before and agreed that the cream always rises to the top and we were pretty pleased with our unanimous decisions on the Black (Grand LIA) and Gold Awards.
Hats off to you, The Mill for creating Maya.
Hats off to you Davud for your skill on the Craps table.
Hats off to you Jacqueline for your period (ic) honesty.
Hats off to a fabulous jury!
The Design Grand LIA, was eagerly awarded by us. And it was beyond deserved. (There was no Grand LIA awarded in Package Design.)
It's a cliche, but the brilliant work we saw was so far above everything else. It was like it arrived from another universe.
Overall the level of what we saw was excellent and, in general, there was very little truly terrible work. Still lots of agressive banality from the giant global branding firms, sadly. But creative firms are becoming much better at self-editing their work.
That said, I wish it would have been more difficult for us to have arrived at a final decision on which entry deserved the Grand LIA. But it was easy. And from the first time we all first saw it, it was practically inevitable.
I remain beyond impressed by the thoughtfulness and kindness of the leaders and people at the London International Awards. The fact that we had such a remarkable and enjoyable jury is a testament to how good LIA is at what they do.
I can speak for my entire jury that we are beyond proud of all the work we have included this year. We were crazy particular and very choosey. But we were not a humorless jury that only wanted to award one obscure, fussy piece of work either. I despise those kind of juries.
For anyone who has their work included in this year's review, please know that each and every entry here was closely reviewed and heavily discussed before it made it anywhere close to being included in this year's annual.
As for the results, I am beyond proud of every website, film, package, poster, environment and, for heaven's sake, book that is included here.
Also, I am honored to be part of a discipline that can produce such extraordinary, inspiring ideas.
What is digital? Or should we ask, “What isn’t digital?” Because today, almost all work has at least some digital elements.
So as a jury, our approach was to recognize work that truly is digital at its core, and/or work that would not have been successful without digital. But above everything else, we looked for GREAT IDEAS. Timeless work that would outlive the shiny new tech/app/whatever that could very well be obsolete by the time you read this.
After spending almost 50 hours in a windowless room judging over 1,000 entries, 14 Golds were awarded. If you belong to the 1.5%, you should be proud of your elusive commodity called the LIA statue. Your clients deserve a raise, the agencies a fee hike. Your mom may finally care about what you do in the office.
But, we did not award a Grand LIA. There was great work, but we could not arrive at one that was a clear winner. Gems that rose to the top include Mercedes 'Build a GLA on Instagram', Under Armor 'I Will What I Want', Exito ‘Aid to Cart', Ad Council ‘Love Has No Labels’, SoundCloud ‘Wall of Sound' and EXIT-Deutschland ‘Nazis against Nazis’. Honda ’The Other Side’ and Taco Bell ‘Blackout’ were discussed for Grand LIA, but ultimately we concluded without one.
A week in Vegas would usually drain your soul and empty your wallet. But thanks to the outstanding work, we left exhilarated, and rich with inspiration. We believe the year’s best work won. Hopefully you’ll agree with our decisions.
But, enough about the past. Let’s talk about the future. LIA is not just another awards show because it gives back in a big way. It’s future-focused. Every year, 100 under-30s arrive in Vegas to attend a week of seminars by the world’s top creative leaders, and banter (and network) over dinners. Best of all they have the priceless opportunity to observe the Gold, Silver, Bronze and Grand LIA jury discussions. They witness the praising and ripping apart of work. How amazing is that? And it’s fully sponsored by the LIA. Now that’s a Grand LIA idea. LIA Creative LIAisons is definitely an idea “I wish I had thought of”!
Thank you Barbara and Wayne for your hospitality and the privilege to lead the 2015 Digital Jury this year. And thank you Daniel, Brent, Elke, Andreas, Mike and Jason for being an amazeballs jury.
Why Radio and Audio? The definition of Radio today is the act of broadcasting sound to the public – it is no longer defined by a device, a platform or by 30 seconds. It is, however, defined by the most magical of all mediums: Audio. Today’s savvy marketer recognizes this opportunity, because its only limitation is imagination. It is theatre of the mind.
Chairing this year’s Radio and Audio Jury was such an honour. To be in the company of five industry-leading minds debating the merits of exceptional work from around the globe was a pure privilege. And to do it poolside was, well, a stroke of Barbara brilliance!
After three days of intense listening to over 550 submissions, we culled a shortlist of (wait for it) 316 — a testament to the amount of great ideation, craftsmanship and innovation in this category; a conference call skillfully crafted into song for a Bluetooth speaker, a World Press Photo annual with contextual audio for each picture, a 30-year-old traditional radio campaign as fresh today as it was at launch, and a university encouraging more women to enroll in Engineering by highlighting a female engineering achievement that had significant impact on the very medium on which the ad was played, digital radio.
When it came to the Statue round we were all on the same page, proof positive that a bold idea, an inspired execution and strategic insight transcends language. The odds of winning in Vegas are tough - statue recipients, be very proud of your trifecta. The LIA set a very high bar, the highest in the industry. To award a Grand LIA, one piece of work would have to raise that bar by redefining the very definition of Radio and Audio. Now there’s an opportunity!
The challenge with the Print/Poster/Billboard medium is that every year there seems to be less work to judge. It’s not the quality that is the issue, it’s the quantity. We saw some great work, but we were challenged when it came to selecting a Grand LIA in Print. Whilst we thought there was some very strong campaigns, we weren’t prepared to say that it was the very best print work in the world. It deserved to be recognized, but perhaps not at that level. Having said that, we were thrilled with the work in the Poster and Billboard categories and awarded Grand LIA’s to KFC’s wonderful series of posters and Samsung’s “Safety Truck” respectively. The jury was looking for work that lifted creativity to a higher level. And, if possible, lifted society to a higher level as well. Both the Grand’s achieved that. The KFC posters lifted society to a higher level by putting out work that added charm and beauty to the world. Even better, Samsung produced a piece of work that will literally save countless lives. And there is no higher purpose than that.
The Las Vegas strip provided a stimulating backdrop to this year’s LIA Awards. With an endless supply of exuberant energy, it truly is a place unlike anywhere else in the world.
The week was a resounding success. Assembled in the Nevada desert were some of the finest creative minds in our business.
I was blessed to work with an extremely talented jury from the four corners of the world. We were on a mission to uncover brave ideas that didn’t conform to category conventions. We wanted to celebrate the revolutionary, the unconventional and the nontraditional -- fresh ideas that defied the status quo.
The following pages contain some of the most influential creativity in 2015. Innovative, beautifully crafted ideas that reshape the way the entire world thinks about brands and business.
The most contemporary, unorthodox thinking came from many parts of the world -Germany, France, Brazil, Australia, Spain, Argentina, Japan, United States, Sweden, Japan, Turkey, United Kingdom, Canada, Lebanon, Turkey and New Zealand.
The French, in particular, demonstrated a massive appetite for progressive thinking. The country produced an array of fascinating work, including Atlantic Group’s “37 Days”, Intermarche’s “The Freshest Orange Juice Brand,” and The Noemi Association’s “Eyes of a Child.”
On the final day of deliberation, the jury was joined by the next generation of creative leaders, around 25 ‘under 30’s’ from around the globe. These are young creatives who naturally challenge everything. People who are actively and passionately searching for new ways to evolve and grow this industry. They had the opportunity to sit in on the discussions, hearing first-hand various points of view that ultimately decided on the best ideas and execution of the year.
The Grand LIA was awarded to “Nazis Against Nazis,” the most involuntary charity walk in Germany.
For the first time in history, right wing radicals unwittingly took to the streets to protest against themselves.
This idea is groundbreaking, and so extremely clever.
Without the marcher’s knowledge, local residents and businesses turned the march into an involuntary walk-a-thon. For every meter the Nazis walked, 10 euros went to Exit-Deutschland, an initiative that helps people escape the extreme right-wing movement and start a new life.
The Neo-Nazis inadvertently helped raise thousands of euros for the Anti-Nazi charity during this right-wing rally in the German town of Wunsiedel. Its genius, was to use the very energy against you, for you.
While a great deal has changed, one thing hasn’t – the power of creativity.
“Nazis against Nazis” is a wonderful example of intuitive thinking.
The best ideas are the ones that are incredibly simple and rooted in beautiful human truths. In this new dynamic landscape, we have to keep creativity at the forefront of engagement because it remains the most valuable asset in business.
Finally, I would like to salute Barbara Levy and her remarkable team. Her investment in “Creative LIAisons” is an invaluable investment in our industry.
The 60 future creative leaders who were privileged to be in Las Vegas were treated to an education second to none. It was an immersive experience that I am sure will pay huge dividends in their personal development, as they rewrite the rules and take this industry to new heights.
Thank you Barbara.
Amir Kassaei, Mark Tutssel, Matt Eastwood, Ted Royer, etc., make this show the best to judge your work vs. the best in the world. There is no politics. No block voting. No pressure to vote for your network, just to vote for the best work in the room.
Judging at LIA was a unique jury experience. Without knowing myself, how I made the team, I find the jury group being extraordinarily well put together. There was a lot of really good and interesting discussions, with a lot of respect going on in the jury room. With the small groups there is plenty of space for everyone to both get heard and to speak their mind. I love that. You learn so much from it, and you leave Vegas (Vegas!) smarter than when you got there. If leaving Las Vegas as a smarter person isn’t unique, please tell me what is. Thank you all for a great week!
When entering work for awards the expectation is always to have your creation judged by like minded peers who are extremely serious about their craft. I can safely say that this year’s Music and Sound Jury was exactly that.
Music and Sound plays an incredibly vital role in the successful construct of an idea. Whether it be through strengthening a narrative, giving emotional direction, or bringing life to imagery, clever use of sound and music can almost trick the viewer into feeling certain emotions towards stories and content. I was blown away by the understanding of this, and the devotion to their craft of this year’s jurors. No entry was just dismissed and almost everything was debated at length, some in particular at great length. I hope that we have given a sound representation to the outstanding quality of this years entries and I can safely say I enjoyed every minute of doing so, along side some really clever people.
The most amazing part about my experience on the LIA Design & Package Design Jury was the stellar body of work. Everything we saw represented the best of the best. This made our decisions overwhelming and extremely difficult. Not only was the work incredible, but the impressive credentials of my fellow jurors made the experience truly inspiring. I was very proud to be a part of such a prestigious show.
FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT:
A fantastic jury, mature, non political and all after the same thing – to reward high calibre work.
The Gold, Silver and Bronze statues are each an accomplishment to win. The work was strategically driven, had phenomenal concepts, was beautifully crafted and had an impact on their environment.
Our Grand Prix - Love has no labels - had another layer, in that it was meaningful and created awareness against bias. A powerful, well executed and surprising idea.
Also want to say how I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the judging process again.
I would like to say thank you for the generosity of LIA for paying for the airfare. It really is not taken for granted. Some of us may not be able to attend if our companies have to pay for the tickets as the budgets are so tight, so very much appreciated. And thank you for the smooth arrangements in travel, Patricia!
I would like to compliment LIA on the class show that you run. I have been very privileged in that I judged several other shows recently (specifically the design and promotions medium) and find LIA top of class.
The calibre of the judges is great. Well done to Wayne! Especially in the Design medium this year; it was such a wonderful mix of people. Strong, but mature, no politics and it was all about the best work shining.
The work entered was of a high calibre. You get great entries and it seems to be representative of the best out there in the world. This I am sure is continual process and leverage. I am sure that you actually contact companies and remind and encourage them to enter.
The layout of entries is excellent. As well as the change overs. The team in the room so lovely, knowledgable and helped at the drop of a hat! Judging and seeing the work well represented is so good. I have heard on occasion from other judges from other shows and experienced it personally at other shows when entries were laying on the floor in a corner, or were in a badly lit area - and that justice was not done to that piece of work.
It is great that each person has his/her own computer - and an APPLE! Yah! Ones' own ear phones! This way each judge can do justice to the work, work at his/her own pace and this benefits the work. No irritations with waiting for a computer and then having to judge late into the night.
Great accommodation - I loved the new hotel – I know you had logistical problems - but us judges didn’t feel that.
Thank you for the lovely dinners and special attention. The LIA organisers made the event so intimate. We loved the treat to a show! What a highlight and felt so spoilt to have experienced it.
The food and refreshments were great during judging and so were the dinners at night. Thank you!
What is the “film”?
At the end of the day, this is what our juries had purely discussed throughout the judging. This was because the film medium of around one thousand entries, including traditional tvc, net movies, entertainment contents and case study films looked so chaotic. We were able to have a fruitful conversation about what is sweet for the film as the most powerful communication tool in this age.
LIA was the best place for this since juries could talk and listen intensely without any other noise (no seminar, no client, no beach party). The judging room was placed in a Las Vegas prominent hotel, but felt like the room of a Japanese small temple.
Awarded works will speak fresh perspectives into our industry and the next generation’s.
I greatly appreciated the smoothly organized system during the judge at LIA, and the nice members of our team.
As a first time juror, I was immediately impressed with the expertise and passion of the members of my jury; everyone brought such great value to the process for me. The level of work that was submitted this year blew me away. I really enjoyed the lengthy review process and spirited debates, which allowed us the time to evaluate the integrity of each entry. I am truly excited and inspired by this year’s winners and finalists; they have set the standard for the future of creative and innovative radio!
There was a wonderful absence of bullshit at LIA, which was surprising as it's held in Las Vegas. Maybe it was the chill atmosphere or the standard of judges, but it was refreshing to meet a group of people focused on cutting through and defining the meaning of good creative. Nonsense and posturing was abandoned and replaced by debate on what the hell 'digital' means in this day and age. Not sure there was a definitive answer to that but for sure great work rose to the top and I felt reinvigorated and refreshed by the experience. Thanks LIA!
This was my first year on the panel at the London International Awards and I left much richer from the experience of judging with such a talented group of individuals.
The Jury for the 2015 Production & Post-Production had exacting standards and discussions were passionate, but our wonderful President Lizie Gower superbly managed the debate in a fair and open manner, allowing valuable points of view to be fearlessly expressed.
The unique atmosphere and sense of fair play at LIA ensure that at these awards, it’s clear there’s never been any lobbying or vote swapping tolerated. Content was brought back, elevated and often demoted.
From the huge volume of entries, the shortlist was clear-cut and the Grand LIA, Gold, Silver and Bronze Award winners were unanimous. We were strongly committed to ensuring genuine talent prevailed, and I left Las Vegas super inspired as the quality of the work reigned supreme - it was a joy to judge.
As for an International selection of the world's brightest young creatives, it’s a rare opportunity to witness how the juries deliberate the metal rounds. It’s an inspiring idea to invite the very people who'll be shaping the future to listen to the current leaders of our industry, as the judges filter out the sublime from the mediocre, and share insights on what makes great advertising truly special.
The LIA is one of the few award shows where you have the opportunity to really get to know the other judges. I look forward to seeing many of them again, as they were simply world-class, smart, fun, energizing people, who share a genuine passion for what we do.
I would like to thank Barbara Levy, Wayne Youkhana and their team for inviting me to this immaculately run event and for creating such a wonderful atmosphere in which to network and make new friends.
Why London International Awards takes place in Las Vegas? Why LIA wants to offer Creative LIAisons? Why LIA repeats inviting the same Jury Presidents?
Why not!? It makes this show unique. And I like the way it is not organized by a corporation. It has a lot of individualism and charming personality in this show. And the heart for the advancement of the industry is just huge. Hats off!
There were no politics, no hidden agendas, no block voting, no egos, no horse trading, no loudmouths, no smarty pants and no assholes. It's the best jury I've ever been on. And I've been on more than my fair share of juries.
LIA is always such a splendid melting pot of great people and great work, inspiring, energising and eye-opening. We had a great time as judges and I think that, for the first time in a while, we all felt strongly that the right work had risen to the surface - Huge thanks to Brian Collins for leading us so well and making our forum so open and collaborative. William Morris was once asked at a public meeting “What is the purpose of art and design?” and he replied “to give hope.” I think from what we saw, and our overall Grand award, our industry continues to shine its light of creativity and hope brilliantly.
Judging "The New", LIA 2015 has been an incredible, educational and a somewhat confronting experience. The New is a tough medium to define. On the surface it sounds easy, just award work that is awesome and innovative. Well that’s easier said than done. What is considered innovative? At what point does work stop being iterative and mildly innovative and cross that boundary in to what is considered Ground Breaking and New?
Well the short answer is, it’s pretty much impossible to define in words. It requires a team of like minded, and not so like minded individuals to sit in a room and discuss each piece of work individually and on its own merits. The judging team this year was fantastic. It was very diverse, with every member coming at a piece of work from a different angle and bringing a new perspective to the conversation. It meant that unanimous consensus as to what was considered award winning was rare, but highly rewarding.
The Billboard, Print and Poster media will continue to be the most challenging one to judge. Because it will always be the most controversial. Print, Poster and Billboard probably are the oldest forms of advertising. Most of the advertising legends we know today built their legacy on print advertising. To stand out in these media you need to overtake and beat everything else that’s been done before on a specific brand or specific category. That is why you hear a lot of “I have seen it before, it reminds me of, it is the same idea, and the likes” in the jury room.
Luckily at the LIA, I was among an outstanding Jury panel led by a great President - Matt Eastwood. It is very important that the President does not dominate the conversations, force an opinion and at the same time he helps the jury feel comfortable to express their opinions and most importantly, challenge each other to reward the best work that deserves to be acknowledged with an LIA statue. Matt was just that and more. It was very fluid and positive and no one felt any pressure at any point.
But all this doesn’t come out of the blue. The LIA team themselves were almost invisible. They would not interrupt or interfere in any step of the process nor add any pressure of any sort on the Jury President or the Jury panel. All this helps the process and leads to higher chances of the best work getting noticed and rewarded rather than getting lost in translation. In that room you feel the rest of the world has disappeared, it is weird – a good weird. Everyone is 100% focused on the work and on each other. Every word, every vote counts. Nothing can slip. (And I know most people like I once did, think otherwise, because it is in Vegas but that’s not the case.)
Although a great portion of the work might have been seen or awarded in other shows, nevertheless, in that room we all felt like we are seeing it for the first time. Every conversation we had was about the work itself and evaluating it based solely on its own merit without any influence if it has won in other shows before or not. In fact this was never even put on the table.
It was all smooth, focused and positive and of course, fun.
A hearty congratulations to all those who made it; it is well earned. And there is always next year and the year after for those who were left disappointed. Try harder, you are almost there, never give up.
So if I were to sum it all up, LIA doesn’t only reflect the world’s best work but it also embodies an immaculate judging processes that make it possible.
984 film entries, 5 days of judging, 8 jury members and 1 president.
In the end, the work that stood out is all super solid and I am proud of our selection of winners. I am very thankful to the LIA staff for putting on such a great judging experience and to my fellow jury members for making the experience such a privilege. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
*In hindsight, The Monkey Bar waitstaff deserved a Silver instead of Bronze.
This was one of the best juries I've ever been on, very high standard of discussion and rational investigation about what was the point of each idea and execution, which all in all led to a judging result that was flawless and bulletproof in any dimension.
The NEW is an embodiment of our hopes, a belief in progress, and our fears and uncertainties about the role of advertising and agencies in the digital world. The sea of scam was slick and obvious, that's not the kind of industry we want to be or to see.
I loved working with this jury, resplendently diverse, smart as hell, creatively brave, and socially anchored. I learned a lot from them.
Despite my luggage never arriving, I had a fantastic trip, saw some great work and hung out with friends, old and new, which refreshed me and left me still, ever, hopeful
Other than the fringe benefits of judging by the pool and not having to watch case videos, it was refreshing to judge Radio and not come out thinking it’s an old and dying media. The overall quality of work was very good. It is nice to see how people are experimenting to make sound and radio even more engaging, but also great to see some of those wonderfully straightforward, but perfectly written promo ads being awarded as well.
I liked our discussions, because we never lost sight of, “do I really want to hear this?” There were many clever ideas and some conceptually interesting stuff, but if it is not good radio, it doesn’t belong here. We were very realistic about how much effort to expect from a listener. So, out went all the self-indulgent writing and the 60’s that should have been 20’s.
The new tradition of plastering campaigns over all categories in the hopes that some of it would stick, did not really pay off with this jury. We were quite tough in keeping the categories pure. A great ad doesn’t necessarily win in scriptwriting and nothing wins in Best Use of Music just because there is music in the ad. Also, Innovation means it hasn’t been done before and Use of Humour means it has to be funny. That sounds simple enough, but sometimes it’s easy to get carried away when an ad is really great.
And finally, if it isn’t selling anything…that sounds so last century, but we actually came across an ad that was insulting the people it was supposed to be recruiting. It was a funny ad, in a suicidal way.
I have always loved radio, and that lease is now renewed. Thanks to Tom and my fellow jurors, it was fun and enlightening. Let’s do that again soon.
While I loving hearing international work, I also enjoy judging for LIA, because I get to hear international opinions, too. This year’s Radio Jury had six people from four different countries, discussing radio spots from almost every continent. So it led to a ot of spirited discussions from very different perspectives. But in the end, the best work still rose to the top.
There always seems to be a special chemistry on the Radio Jury and this year was no exception. There is a shared passion for this medium that really comes through. Or maybe we’re just especially close, because none of the other juries quite know what to make of us.
This was my fourth year judging LIA, but it was my first as a Creative LIAisons speaker. That was a really wonderful experience. The young creatives from all over the world brought so much energy and enthusiasm, but they are also smart enough to have pretty fine-tuned BS alarms. So it was fun to speak from experience and throw it out there honestly, and see how they responded. That’s a rare and very rewarding treat.
What could be more fun than geeking out for a week with fellow audiophiles by a private pool? Okay, a lot of things - but I thoroughly enjoyed the judging experience this year. The LIA collects the best work from around the world and gathers the finest people to judge it. It’s inspiring to listen to all the great work that’s still out there and to be reminded of the amazing power of radio. Some work I was particularly fond of was the laugh out loud humor from the Skittles campaign from DDB Chicago, the clever subtlety from the SBS campaign from BBDO Belgium and the powerful, resonating message in the PSAs for YWCA from Juniper Park.
Listening and critiquing almost 300 spots with my fellow jurors was, in a word, awesome. This was a small group of people who I admire and respect. Sharing opinions with them was an eye-opening (ear-opening?) experience. And being guided each day by Tom Eymundson, our fearless leader, made each day seamless and enjoyable.
It is also a treat to mingle with all the great minds from other juries and hear what’s going on in their world. There’s a ton of exciting and innovative work going on out there – and it’s thrilling to hear about it from my colleagues. And to do it all over a five day period in Las Vegas, while indulging in some of the best food and drink you can imagine…I can only describe it as four extra pounds of fun! The LIA is a first class experience all the way and I am grateful to have been a part of it. Thank you so much for having me.
Radio listening is individual - the family hasn’t gathered around the wireless for generations. It’s a personal medium and the judging of the Radio medium at LIA reflects this.
For the first stages each juror takes their iPod to their own space and listens to all the entries individually. Then - something that happens too rarely in radio - we discuss the merits of those on the shortlist and which are eligible for a statue, or even,the Grand Prix.
Skillfully chaired by our Chairman Tom, we were all encouraged to take part in the discussion. Everyone’s opinion was valid and votes were only taken when all thoughts had been aired.
It was particularly encouraging to hear the many different ways radio and audio is being used.
A lot of emphasis too on sound design, which is becoming increasingly important now that you can buy headphones that cost as much as a parking space in Central London.
The judging was open, fair and fascinating. You can’t really ask for more and I loved every minute of it.
Special thanks to Barbara and everyone working so calmly behind the scenes to make judging such a joy.
Finally, congratulations to fellow juror Chris Smith, who gave such an excellent talk as part of Creative LIAisons.
Every jury member at LIA will attest that it is unlike any other show.
The experience of judging in Las Vegas at LIA is very different, in that it maintains its professionalism and highest standards of creativity, whilst offering the process in a very relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to conversation. The Music Video and Production & Post-Production Jury was all individually spirited in debate, open to opinions and willing to listen. It was an extremely rigorous process, with work dissected, analysed and discussed in the open forum of the jury room, ensuring that every entry was judged to within an inch of its life. A warm thank you to Barbara and her wonderful team for having me as part of the judging.
Thanks again for a fantastic LIA experience in Las Vegas.
We had the best Jury President we could think of, Lizie Gower, who headed an amazing group of people over the four days and perfectly lead the discussions about the work being judged. It was very interesting to hear the perspectives of talented and interesting people. We all took the judging job very seriously and the decisions were only made after thorough and challenging talks. It was a great personal learning experience.
On top of all that, we did grow into what we thought the best jury team ever, as we all not only loved the judging, but became sincere new friends. We would actually all come back, but only as a team, or otherwise be hired by any other award show, but only as a team.
LIA really makes a difference in the world of award shows. It was an inspiration. Thanks.
This is an Award Show like no other. It is a true celebration of the work, with great minds coming together to debate and discuss the year's best. It is also a boot camp for juniors, learning what makes good work great, through the lectures and sitting in on statue discussions.
Something that truly distinguishes LIA is the fact that they are marvelous hosts. There's enough time to view and discuss the work, and each evening the judges come together to feast, chat, and enjoy Las Vegas's surrounds.
This is my favourite Advertising Festival, hands down.
It is great being able to judge Print and Poster/Billboard together, as so much of the work overlaps these days and we were conscious to rate work accordingly. Winning here is as tough as anywhere else these days, so congratulations to all who got metal. Actually, congratulations to those who were finalists too - I wouldn’t describe us as a benevolent jury.
This was my first time judging at LIA and my first time in Las Vegas.
I have to say that I was blown away by both. The quality of the juries, the openness of discussion and a seamless judging process made it one of the most enjoyable, professional and politics-free award shows I have ever had the privilege to take part in.
Then there's the Young Creatives program.
It's extraordinary. Of course, other shows have made cursory gestures towards our grass roots talent, but at LIA it's much more than that: Young creatives in their hundreds, from all corners of the world, are flown in, put up in hotels, inspired by talks from the world's creative leaders and also get to sit in on the statue judging.
While other shows could be accused of relentlessly taking from our industry, LIA is giving something back.
Nice city, great people, fantastic and relaxed atmosphere; all of this describes LIA judging.
We had an awesome group of judges - focused, not on politics, but on finding the very best work, the hidden gems, and nothing more. There were some exceptional pieces of work (especially in the Billboard and Poster mediums).
And if all that wasn't enough, the Creative LIAisons Program comprised of one hundred young creatives attending talks was inspiring to all of us. What a nice thing for a festival to do; a huge favor to the industry.
All that said, I left Las Vegas proud, happy, and most importantly, better than when I arrived. Thanks a lot!
While other jury members were judging innovation, integration and other fancy modern and trending (great) stuff, I, along with ten other jury members, were judging print.
Lucky me! I love print. There, I said it.
I love this medium's simplicity and instant contact, I love it when one picture tells a whole story, and for me - print is timeless. It has it's obvious evolution and it is not trends-free, but still – print is print is print, and when it's good - it's great. We definitely had some great work this year across the 3 mediums we judged: Print - Poster - Billboard, but unlike the past 3-4 years, when CGI based work had dominated the medium, this year I saw more classic techniques, perfectly executed, such as great photography and "simple" breathtaking 2D illustrations.
Judging print is all about looking at classic, timeless work alongside with technology and innovation embedded into this "old" medium, conveying an idea, a message, an insight. Could it get any better?
Thanks again for the opportunity to take part in LIA judging. My family and I had a great time in Las Vegas, and thank you for that too.
The immigration officer asked what I was doing in Vegas. Blearly-eyed from 30 hours of flying and flight connection delays, I told him I had come for the London International Awards.
He didn’t find it funny that I was 5,000 miles off course. It was the most appropriate start to the following 4 days in Sin City.
The Non-Traditional medium was not unlike the oddity of judging the London International Awards in America. It was unlike anything I had judged at Cannes, Clio and D&AD.
From orange juice that was branded the minute it was squeezed to getting moms to get football hooligans to behave, it was the best possible cocktail for my jet lag.
The judging process was another eye-opener. The jury who had awarded every award worth winning, openly discussed the work in the presence of 30 lucky young creatives. My work would have been so much better if I had been this fortunate 20 years ago.
Thank you LIA for putting me on the wrong flight.
It was an honor to be sitting on the Music and Sound jury this year. Three years ago when I had my first opportunity to judge at LIA, I thought the level of work was great. This year the work was simply outstanding - some of the best entries I have seen from companies in years. We had a very strong jury and great debates took place. Much more exciting than the 2016 presidential debates I must say.
Of course, as a music company owner myself, I feel that the impact of music and sound design really is 50% of the experience. You see it and you hear it. Take away the sound and you have a beautiful image without the emotion. Myself, as well as the rest of the Music and Sound Jury spent a lot of extra time discussing each entry and the impact it has on the film. We were looking for pieces that were not only interesting and fresh new approaches, but pieces that also elevated the media and told the story.
This was also an exciting year as the lines of Television to Online to New Media are becoming blurred. There are an abundance of new media platforms that are quickly popping up around the world and music and sound is still a big part of this. As we see more of this type of work becoming a part of the mainstream, I am very excited to be a part of developing a new Music and Sound category for 2016, which will encompass experiential work for brands across platforms that include live events, museums, themed attractions, Virtual Reality and beyond. Music companies are finding new ways to create and apply their work across a variety of platforms, and this new category will give them all a way to be rewarded for that work.
Once again it was a privilege to be asked to judge at the 2015 LIA Awards for Music and Sound. There are many aspects about being involved in judging that I love. Firstly, getting to meet and hang out with such a diverse and interesting group of jurors with a wide range of skills and experience from within the music and advertising world. Rani Vaz, SVP/Director Music BBDO New York, was our Jury President, an incredibly accomplished woman, who has worked on some of the biggest campaigns in the USA.
I believe LIA has become one of the best international award shows for Music and Sound. It has the categories and definitions just right. It covers all the main aspects of Music and Sound in Advertising and they are clearly defined. I also believe having a specialized Music and Sound jury that is present in a room (not online) and the three part judging process (in or out, scoring and finally statue discussion) is extremely thorough.
The definitions were something we discussed in detail last year, as we were privileged to have juror Rich Meitin, who is a professor of music, helping drive the process of really tightening the definitions. So this year we saw the pay off as we saw work put into the right categories. This year, the overall standard of work was outstanding. The first two days were more focused as we were not dealing with trying to re-sort entries into their correct categories, and the final day or statue discussions were much more difficult and contentious as we had so much great work.
So what makes something a winner? It of course needs to be exceptional, as we are paid to do great work - to be worthy of a winner it needs to be beyond this. Jury president, Rani, brought forward the idea of the work being ‘brave,’ which was something we used and an anchor for judgement.
We also needed to remember we were judging a ‘craft’ category. There was some discussion about how the whole concept is working together. The way the overall ‘messaging’ and integration with the concept definitely has bearing as we are not judging music and sound in isolation here, but on the other hand, it’s a different category to people judging the whole concept. This was a balancing act.
A stand out category this year was Sound Design and there was a high degree of creativity and skill shown.
One campaign that was the perfect intersection of craft and concept was -
Honda Civic Type R
"The Other Side"
This concept of showing two sides of the car is portrayed brilliantly with a large amount of non-literal sounds marrying with the more traditional. I love how you don’t know exactly what is music and what are sound fx and the use of tonal elements as atmosphere is brilliant. This is the definition of ‘Sound Design’ for me.
This spot was very contentious in the jury room as it was entered into both Original Music and Sound Design. It was my feeling, as well as others, that it was a very creative, unusual and extremely detailed piece of work. It included both music and sound design elements, again with the line between them being blurred.
In the end it was awarded for both.
Onto Music ‘Original Song’ an absolute standout for me was -
"Positive Feelings 12 - Dance Mix"
There is so much to love about this. It’s brave, it's funny, it has top-notch musical chops/taste, and it’s weird!
As one of my fellow jury members said, ‘‘Next time I am buying glue, I am buying Loctite!”. This is an example of extended duration branded content that really entertains.
There were some other excellent spots that used long form songs extremely well. Musicality is back, genres were diverse i.e. not all well-trodden hipster tracks. Some spots used popular music styles that might not seem typically ‘ad-cool’, but used them so well that they would connect with the mainstream consumer musical tastes.
"Popov the Clown"
Also in Original Song, this beautiful emotive piece from McDonald's had everything you would want. The vocalist selection and performance is evocative and mesmerizing, the lyrics tell the story, riding the line between literal and metaphoric, and the quality of the arrangement and recording is absolutely first class.
In Music Original ‘Underscore’
"I Am Mumbai 2014"
A very powerful piece from India, was an outstanding piece of communication overall, but also a very deft, intense and tasteful piece of scoring that absolutely hit the mark for me; amazing space, seething build and excellent pay off. Fantastic scoring.
Another great spot with an excellent score was:
"The Boy Raised by Goats"
Again an extended piece of content that keep us engaged all the way. It was an offbeat but warm and charming story that would have been a real challenge to score. This is an example of both skill and taste. The tone is bang on and the evolving mood of the story is handled with a delicate understated touch that is harder to do well than it might seem.
Now onto Use of Licenced Music:
Vorwerk Kobold VR 200
This category can be a tricky one to judge. The music choice really needs to elevate the idea, but it can’t be doing all the heavy lifting either. For example it can’t just feel like they have made an alternative music video with a logo on the end. This spot for Vorwerk didn’t win the highest award in the category, but it was my favorite. I loved the spot. It’s entertaining, heartwarming, funny and the music is totally integral.
Music Adaptation - Song
"Feels Like Home"
Lastly I would like to mention a job I was involved in (of course abstaining from voting). The reason I am giving this a shout out is it’s an emotional win for all involved as it was the last campaign completed by a legend in the Australian advertising industry, Neil Lawrence, who passed away suddenly this year. This idea and song choice was driven by his insight, passion and intuition and it warms my heart that it was appreciated by the jury. This one is for Neil.
So to wrap up: There were many other outstanding pieces of work this year and I encourage people to have a look at all the winners, as I mentioned the standard was very high and I was really pleased to see an extremely diverse range of genres being used. Over the last few years some musical homogenization was going on in this industry, but now it seems colour and diversity is back with a strong rally in the category of sound design. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists!
First, I found it remarkable to be in a room with highly talented people from all over the planet with very diverse windows on life and creativity, yet being able to come to a pretty strong majority about most of the work. There is clearly something in the human psyche that just shouts out "this is what truly excellent work looks and sounds like, " no matter where in the world you're from.
Second: I not only enjoyed the friendly debate about what the winner should be, but I thoroughly enjoyed the kindness and the fun of the people on our jury. GREAT PEOPLE!!
Third: I was amazed at how the entries are reflective of how much the industry has changed through the years:
A. Speaking to the music side of things, there are relatively few original pieces of music that use lyrics of any kind.
B. Whether original or licensed, a number of music tracks seem to operate somewhat like a compressor limiter to the storylines of the commercials, with the resulting emotional highs and lows being a narrower range than the actual story of commercial.
C. The continued progression of the power, accuracy and diversity of sampling.
Fourth: The courtesy and professionalism of the event was terrific. The members of the LIA staff were all very accommodating and were very helpful in making sure that (at least with our jury) we knew exactly what we were doing. They also gave us the professional respect of giving us flexibility where overly tight rules would have been unduly restrictive.
Fifth: I found it interesting that the LIA staff seemed to get along very well with each other, which set the atmosphere for everyone else. The result was that an overall attitude of humility and kindness was experienced all around.
There’s nowhere on earth like Vegas, an intense, electrified city that radiates an eccentric energy. Not dissimilar to our judging room, a collective of super smart, very well chosen, energized people.
The LIA judging process creates positive energy with intimate, face-to-face debate, not facedown in an iPad. This year we used our brainpower to redefine the word integrated. LIA is one of only a few shows that views integration differently, and after much debate this is how we interpreted the two categories. Integration: an idea that infiltrates itself into peoples lives or seamlessly integrates itself into culture. Multimedia campaign: an idea that is so brilliantly orchestrated from inception and utilities multiple channels to amplify its impact. We feel energized about the work chosen, and if your ideas measure up to these principals next year, you’ll win big.
Again, it was an amazing experience to judge great work with even greater people at LIA judging. Highly professional on a breathtaking level of passion and understanding of today’s definition of good old advertising, especially the understanding that integration today does not mean to use all channels that are available, but to integrate your idea into a socially relevant surrounding. Looking forward to next year’s discussions on new work showing up within the next twelve months.
What a unique experience.
From the moment I arrived to judge at LIA this year, everything just felt different. After check-in, I dropped my bags and headed up to the rooftop to see old friends and meet new friends. The standard greeting drinks for judges. And yes, the judges were all there, but mixed evenly through the crowd was a crop of the freshest talent in our industry. I easily spent half my time talking to these bright-eyed young souls.
They were treated to a week of intimate Creative Conversations with the leaders of our industry and then the most surprising thing of all happened. They were invited into the sacred jury room on “medal day”. I was on the Integration Jury and on that day the most incredible debate erupted about what the future of Integration looks like - ideas that integrate into culture and beautiful, invisible orchestration across media channels. That one hour was worth the world to the young creatives and their attendance added to the feeling of responsibility you have as a juror to get it right.
Throughout the few days of judging it became clear that this wasn’t just a superficial invitation to some young folks, but a real commitment to shaping the future of our industry.
LIA is special. The jurors at LIA really take the time to discuss and debate the work. You notice how many pieces might have been overlooked at other shows, but find their due recognition here.
The work submitted in the Digital medium was expansive, but we took the time to explore each entry. We did not want to just award work that has already won at other shows, but the work that deserves to win.
It would seem that LIA may genuinely stand for what awards should be about - motivating a new generation of talent and celebrating best in class creativity, no matter who or where it is from.
Well, firstly there is the integration of young talent with the Creative LIAisons programme - allowing the future generation of talent to see behind the curtain and observe what the current leaders of the path they are about to embark upon think, say and believe in is a genuine differentiator.
And then of course the work - and in particular the winners. It was interesting to observe that while some of the winning Golds in Digital categories were from brands with a reputation for class leading creativity, experiences and communication, over 50% were from the underdog, the uninitiated, those fighting twice as hard to be spotted in a landscape of brand confusion and generic marketing soup. Is it the case that these less well known players are benefitting from the democratisation of media channels that digital and technology has allowed? Or could it be that the finest award winning work is not simply about having an idea, but having the heart and the head and the guts to make it happen? I suspect it is the later.
Congratulations to the minnows winning gold this year, you deserve the biggest rounds of applause.
This was an outstanding jury experience. The judging went okay until end of day one when we realised we had been way too 'kind'. Smashed around by our leader Jesse Coulter, we re-visited the reason for the medium...probed, argued...and found our incredible winners. Nothing for us reached the near perfect 10 a Grand LIA demands.
For me…Quicksilver 'Wet Suits' and 'Game of Balls' were out there Originals.
My experience judging at LIA this year was really inspiring and different from any other. The Branded Entertainment medium is still so new and I think people are still trying to figure out what kinds of work should be considered Branded Entertainment.
What we learned is that Branded Entertainment is not long form ads. It really needs to stand alone, but feel connected with the brand that made it. Our jury was the BEST! From Clients, to Creatives, Producers, and Managers, we had the most diverse, kick ass group.
Today great ideas are digitally empowered, connected or integrated. As a jury, we had to dig deeper and investigate on how things really work and what role digital actually plays. We challenged the status quo of every piece of greatness. And that's what is great about LIA, the high standard and the relentlessness.
We rewarded magical ideas, brave work that can't be ignored and that's shared by millions like Nazis against Nazis #rechtsgegenrechts, Germany's most involuntary charity walk. We looked for surprising ideas that stopped us in our tracks, like the Animal Copyrights, and digital innovation that has the ability to change people's lives.