Posts Tagged ‘AdFest’

Farewell, Pattaya.


Thank you, Nat and crew, for being so helpful throughout my tour of jury duty. The trip from Pattaya to the Bangkok airport will take a couple of hours, so that will give me a chance to nap.

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I have always loved “Miss Yuko Yamada looks for her first job,” since Dentsu featured it in its Asian advertising talk at Cannes. I am delighted to report it has won one of the only two golds awarded by the AdFest 2008 TV jury. The other gold went to Maxell’s Forever and Ever campaign. Both of them had me wiping the tears from my eyes. I also cried at Yasmin and team’s Petronas ad for Malaysia’s 50th year of freedom, featuring a little Chinese boy and his Indian girlfriend. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much at an advertising awards show in my life.

I think this year’s jury prized authenticity in storytelling and the creation of real human connections above the slick and the commercial. The Kleenex Let It Out campaign, on the surface, was a standard executional device: real people talking to an interviewer off-cam. It was the unique human stories that captured my attention; a woman who married a man with cancer, even if he tried his best to break up with her, and a couple who finally got married after 70 years.

I also liked the Wake Up Thailand campaign, out of Creative Juice/G1 Bangkok. They could just as easily run it in the Philippines, as it features corruption and evil public servants. And then there was the Heroes-via-Takeshi’s Castle TVC for a ready-to-drink tea that claimed to help reduce high blood pressure. (That one drew the most laughter from the audience, and from me.)

In Outdoor, what I liked best was the Discovery Channel series from (I think) DDB Auckland. They were science experiments blown up to billboard size. I was not too fond of the sleight-of-eye work that would only make sense if viewed from one angle, but there were many examples of that.

I had to proxy again for the Y&R Singapore/Asia team because okcupid.com won a bronze in Poster campaign. I kept saying “I’m just a proxy” to whoever was handing out the Lotus, because truth be told it was a bit embarrassing to be going up for something that wasn’t mine. Still, the discomfort was more palpable when no one actually went up for something. Phenomena was a no-show even if it won Production House of the Year. Long uncomfortable seconds passed when no one went up to receive the Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore Agency of the Year plaque. (Although someone eventually did.) It almost felt like the agency that didn’t send anyone up wasn’t thankful it won.

Earth Hour out of Leo Burnett Sydney won Best of the Best in the Direct category, which made LB Sydney Direct Agency of the Year. Bascule from Tokyo won Interactive Agency of the Year. JWT is Network Agency of the Year. Guan Hin had the biggest grin on his face as he and the JWT people hit the stage.

I had two favorite campaigns tonight: Nissin Cup Noodle’s Freedom 360ΒΊ campaign (out of ground Tokyo) and Sony Bravia Color Tokyo! from 777Interactive. Freedom isn’t just a commercial, it’s a 30-minute anime on DVD, a line of jeans, a shared investment between the agency and the client. The Color Tokyo! campaign is a triumph of technology. Use an eyedropper on any of the Sony Bravia TVCs running on the website, drop the color onto an image of the Sony building, and LED lights (I believe they placed 16 million of them) on the building change to the color you choose. In real life.

Sri Lanka brought home a bronze and a silver. The first winners came up on stage waving flags. A guy carried a banner that said “sri lanka can.” Go, Colombo. πŸ™‚

The Philippines didn’t bring home anything this night, unless I missed something during a restroom run. It’s not easy to admit, but perhaps we are still making ads and not life-touching, life-changing ideas.

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When I arrived at PEACH, Sompat told me the Press and Poster awards were going to be split across two nights, because the show would take too long. So last night was Print Craft and Design, Direct, Radio and Press.

It didn’t feel that long, really, because there were many categories where no awards were given. This was most apparent in radio, where every award announcement elicited hoots and applause from the audience. I found the Kiwi spots on “a man’s worst nightmare,” for a show called Knocked Up, almost unintelligible to be funny, but my ears eventually got used to the accent. DM9 JaymeSyfu (shoutout to Eugene and team!) got a bronze Lotus for Vandol Cream, and JWT Manila swept the category with a gold, 2 silvers and a bronze for Lotus Spa.

Dave Ferrer and David Guerrero with matching grins:


Y&R KL took home Best of the Best in radio, for Colgate. Here’s Rahul and David, again with matching grins:


Stefan Sagmeister and the print craft and design jury were appreciative but not amazed, and so only a few entries got nods. These included the Nike shoe box with the stadium printed inside (which also got metal in Cannes last year), a lace cut-out tissue box out of Tokyo, edible checkers, the FHM cut-out books and pixelated calendar girls, the Luxor highlighter series, and “Happiness” out of Y&R Singapore.

Stefan podium-sharing with the hosts:


Direct was a very broad category with only a few winners. What stood out for me were the “Go with Roots” and “Jump Square” integrated direct campaigns, both out of Dentsu. The Best of the Best in Direct was Earth Hour (which reminds me, Earth Hour in Manila tonight starts at 8 pm, do join). Lowe took home a bronze, the Philippines’ only metal in direct.

I wasn’t able to get a clear shot of Steve Clay going up the stage, but the credits slide was at least in focus:


Press was generous compared to the other categories. Then again, press and poster did get over 2,200 entries. JWT Singapore’s work for Kitkat and Gibson got multiple metal, including gold. Other campaigns that got nods in single as well as campaign included Tesco Crab/Shrimp/Squid, Lowe Bangkok’s exhaust fan series (both featured in the last issue of Campaign Brief), Creative Juice/G1’s work for Thai Yellow Pages, Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore’s Wonderbra 3D and Penguin Escape Into a Book (don’t even ask me about Roger Makak), Scott Tissue Oil/Wine/Coffee (also a Cannes winner), Classic Cars Restoration from Matchbox Bangkok, TBWA/Shanghai’s work for Adidas, and Thai SPCA. While it didn’t get any individual nods, the Herringbone campaign out of M&C Saatchi, featuring a tailor with very small hands was one of my favorites, and in my opinion the best-written of the entire lot. (Not that there were many copy ads to begin with.)

Y&R Bangkok got a silver for their treadmill print ad (yay!) and I went up twice to receive our silver Lotuses for Soroptimist Philippines. I also proxied for the Y&R Singapore/Asia office, which received bronzes for IANSA and okcupid.com. The only other Philippine winner in press was TBWA/Santiago Mangada Puno, which got bronze for Philippine Star “Palawan.”


The Best of the Best in Press was Scott “Oil.” Ben Welsh, introducing it, remarked that it was an everyday product with an everyday brief. That was definitely an ad I wish I’d done.

The Japanese Production Night didn’t have any Coke Light, so I didn’t stay long. After dinner, I did get to catch up with the Philippine contingent, who were well-equipped with Singha and 100 Pipers. πŸ˜‰

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Planet Japan notebook

The Encyclopedia of Japanese Women, unruled paper, bound in faux leather, was yesterday’s big hit. Moleskine, here’s an idea for you.

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Learn to Swim from NZ
Hathi Cement from India
Exit Facial Foam
LandCruiser 200
Special Effects:
Honda CR-V Dress For It
Original Soundtrack:
McDonald’s See Things
Best Use of Music:
Astro Mobile Downloads (silver and gold)

And the list is partial because I went up on behalf of the Y&R Singapore team to receive the Silver and Gold Lotus for Astro, and after that forgot to key in the rest on my phone.

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Slow, slow, slow.

I don’t know if it’s kirz (the wi-fi supplier here at Royal Cliff) or the ‘net, but it’s all molasses and Heinz ketchup today, slow as a sleepy turtle.

I’ll use Twitter and TwitPic to post AdFest updates for the next couple of days. Follow me. Yes, you can also unfollow; after Sunday it will be back to tweeting about day-to-day work, fountain pens, and heaven knows what else.

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going to be announced Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

Tomorrow evening, we’ll know the winners for Young Lotus, Film Craft, New Directors, and The Cup 2007. I look forward to the 11:00 am session, “A Practical Guide to Planet Japan: An Encyclopedia of Japanese Women.” Brian was kind enough to give me an extra freebie notebook for the session, made to look like an mini-encyclopedia but with blank sheets inside.

Friday is the announcement of winners for Radio, Direct, Print Craft, Design, Press and Poster. Saturday is Outdoor, Cyber, TV, 360 and Innova. And Sunday, I fly home at last.

Interesting topics of conversation tonight at the welcome cocktails were: the ongoing technical difficulties at the TV judging; did I go shopping today (asked by 5 people!); so how’s the food; and the cultural nuances of posters.

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We, the valiant and (by now) cross-eyed members of the Press and Poster jury, began our work Sunday. It took us three days to go through more than 2,200 entries. Kind interns gave us hp iPaqs, where a custom-built program let us input in/out/abstain for every entry, and grade the finalists. The same kind interns also confiscated the iPaqs after every round, to make sure we didn’t do anything funny with them, like upgrade the Windows Mobile OS on the fly. (Geek joke.)

We finished yesterday afternoon. I slept until 10 today, and so missed the Gunn Report, but was just in time for lunch. I got a copy of the AdFest book, because it had my face in full color in it, and the LIAA 2007 book. (And here I was hoping my baggage allowance leeway would go to shoes – those books are at least 3 kilos each!) I walked through the Outdoor exhibit, which I didn’t get a chance to see yesterday. There’s a fine line between gimmickry and effectiveness, and that line was crossed many times in many ways, I think. From a save-the-whales drinking fountain to railway station pillars adorned with what seemed to be giant tongues to t-shirts printed with piggybacking children, there was more than enough to keep the AdFest delegates occupied.

I saw average work, good work, and wonderful work. Behind each layout, I saw suffering art directors, irrecoverably missed hours with families, obsession, bloodshot eyes, the panic of secretaries. Even average work takes a bit of your life from you. For the Press and Poster winners, Friday night will give some of it back.

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