Creative Chiefs Bemoan A Body Of Work Marked By Conservatism
BOSTON--If the campaign for Volkswagen's New Beetle doesn't win big at the 38th Annual Hatch Awards this week, it may well be the biggest upset in the show's history.
Creative executives called Arnold Communications' VW work--which won the Grand Prix in the press and poster category at the 45th International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France--the cream of this year's creative crop.
"Everyone thinks it's terrific," said Mullen chief creative officer Paul Silverman, who praised the work for its simple elegance.
What should prove disturbing to the creative community is how little competition the Volkswagen campaign will get.
"Larger clients are tougher, more so than in the recent past," said Steve Bautista, creative director at Ingalls Advertising. With the exception of Volkswagen, "I didn't see any work [from major clients] that I'd expect to win at awards shows."
Woody Kay, creative director of Pagano Schenck & Kay and a best of show winner at last year's Hatch awards, is betting on Mullen's Swiss Army Brands work. "This campaign is one of the best I've seen in a long time, and it would shock me if it didn't win at Hatch and all over the world," he said.
Spencer Deadrick, creative director at Clarke Goward, also cited Volkswagen and Swiss Army as likely winners but could not name another campaign that left a favorable impression. "It has gotten a bit more conservative over the years," he said.
Holland Mark Martin Edmund creative director Bob Minihan agreed: "Nothing sticks in your mind. It's more and more a conservative market."
Some indicated that the conservatism is tied to the baby-boom generation, which for the most part runs agency creative departments and client-side marketing jobs.
"They're the first generation not to go through a world war," Minihan said. They've never had any huge challenges" to help them put the day-to-day grind in perspective. As a result, "they don't take chances," not even in advertising, he said.
The absence of several previous Hatch champions--such as Leonard/Monahan, which closed its doors earlier this year, and Houston Herstek Favat, now part of Arnold--did not affect the number of entries, which rose this year to more than 2,000, said Hillary Wheeler, director of events for the Advertising Club of Greater Boston. Part of the reason for the increase is the participation of new media companies, which the show began to include last year.
With the number of entries up, only those that qualified for a prize will be displayed prior to the show, which will take place on Thursday at John Hancock Hall in Boston. "Based on comments from past years, people thought [the event] was difficult to navigate," Wheeler said.
Other work expected to win at Hatch based on their performance at other shows include:
- Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos' Olympic TV spot for John Hancock called "Sarajevo," which won a bronze at Cannes.
- Holland Mark's print work for Massachusetts tourism, which also won a bronze at Cannes.
- Cronin & Co.'s campaign for the Connecticut Department of Public Health, which won an Effie.
- Donovan Group's print work for The United Way, which was lauded at the Holland Awards.
- The Hughes Agency's campaign for Timex Beepware, which won best of show at the Ad Club of Connecticut awards. --with David Gianatasio