Creative: Awards – Substance and Style

LIAA bestows honors; Wieden, Dweck! take awards home
Winning Commercials at the London International Advertising Awards ranged in production value from The Blair Witch Project primitive to Star Wars grandiose, but they shared one thing: strong ideas.
Case in point: the “hidden camera” spots for Top Driver from Dweck! (best low-budget campaign) and surreal cityscapes created by Industrial Light + Magic for Publicis & Hal Riney’s First Union campaign, which won for computer animation and for special effects. Considering 17,000 entries from 84 countries, jury chairman and Berlin Cameron & Partners chairman Andy Berlin says, “We’re suckers for concepts.”
Of special note, “Litany,” London-based Lowe Howard-Spink’s Grand Prize-winning ad for British newspaper The Independent, uses many society don’ts to express the courage needed to think freely.
“It didn’t fall into any of the clichƒs that it could have,” says Berlin, who selected the show’s Grand Prize winners in noninteractive categories. “It’s like the lyrics of a really good song: It reminds us how good we are when we follow our minds.”
U.S. agencies took home 18 of the 44 honors bestowed on TV and cinema advertising. Wieden & Kennedy’s “What are you getting ready for?” Nike ads won the Best Campaign award. “Nike’s advertising has been so good for so long that it creates kind of a black hole that sucks all other advertising into it,” Berlin says.
The Grand Prize in print was awarded to Doris Soh & Associates, Singapore, for a Dunlop tire ad that shows a tire made out of Velcro, suggesting its ability to hug the road.
“Dunlop was unlike other print work,” says Berlin. “It was easy to understand, but it wasn’t easy to come up with.”
U.S. print winners include FCB Worldwide in Southfield, Mich., which was honored for its ad showing a Jeep key on a Swiss army knife, and Hampel/Stefanides in New York, lauded for its “Lick at your own risk” Jerry Garcia stamp for the Fifth Avenue Stamp Gallery.
The Nike campaign won a handful of awards at Cannes; “Litany” won the Grand Prix. How does the London competition distinguish itself from other international ad shows?
“We’re friendly,” jokes LIAA senior vice president Danielle Sterrie. In fact, London is unique in its judging procedure: Judges are sent material individually and given two weeks to study the entrants and make their decisions–alone.
“You can make a more responsible decision,” Sterrie says. “There isn’t that peer pressure, political intimidation and sheer tiredness” that comes from marathon group judging sessions. Berlin agrees. “There’s a great deal of stuff going on behind the scenes [at Cannes] because the judging is done while the delegates are there You don’t want to look like an idiot.” Of the occasional overlap in winners, Berlin says, “Some work is just so good” that it garners universal praise.
Of course, one trend remains consistent: “Sex and humor never go away,” says Sterrie. K