The creative cream of the advertising crop were at Shed 10 in Auckand last night to celebrate, compete and collect the fruits of their hard work.
Master of ceremonies Mikey Havoc kicked the event off and found himself following a long list of MCs who have found it hard to be heard over the excited chatter of an Axis Crowd.
This was followed by the convenor of judges Brigid Alkema , executive creative director at Clemenger BBDO, who spoke with passion, touching on the ability of the work done by those gathered to "be original, to surprise, to engage."
"There is no secret to magic...only our belief, courage and vulnerability.”
It was to be a golden night for Ogilvy & Mather, taking home the Grand Axis, a Grand Prix and six golds for New Zealand Police's "Most Successful Recruitment Video”.
International judges Duncan Marshall, creative partner at Droga 5 in New York and Scott Nowell, creative partner at The Monkeys in Sydney, spoke of the ad's optimism and fun but also its serious message.
"Nowhere else in the world other than in New Zealand could you have put together a piece of film like this ... it was beautifully put together and we were really proud to give it the top prize.”
Regan Grafton, executive creative director of Ogilvy & Mather, who has done a great job of improving the agency's creative output since he took over, says the company was delighted to receive the creative recognition, and equally proud of its effectiveness.
"It's great to see this work generating record numbers of diverse applicants who want to help make our country safe. We greatly value the strong partnership we have with New Zealand Police and this video was very much a collaborative effort, which is evident in the use of 70 cops as ‘talent’.”
New Zealand Police deputy chief executive public affairs, Karen Jones, says the success was the result of an exceptional collaboration between New Zealand Police, Ogilvy & Mather, production company The Sweet Shop and video director Damien Shatford.
"Developing a campaign of this nature requires a strong partnership between agency and client, and a very good understanding between us.”
Colenso BBDO was awarded Creative Agency of the Year Award, happily retaining the title for the third consecutive year.
The Agency of the Year Award is determined through a points system based on the number of awards won and finalists spots achieved – and with a Grand Prix (Integrated) and a gold for Mars NZ 'The Child Replacement Programme', two golds for Fonterra's 'Milk Slams - Inside Out', two golds for 'DB Export Beer Bottle Sand' (awkward), another gold for 'Pedigree SelfieStix' and another for Spark's 'Celebrate Family' - alongside 16 silvers, 31 bronze and several finalist placings - it was no wonder Colenso BBDO took out the award.
Angela Watson, head of account management at Colenso, says "we do love being on stage, and it was fantastic to back up last year’s performance, but we also love and respect the company we keep - our clients, our collaborators, our competitors - and all the work celebrated and rewarded last night is demonstration of what we can all achieve when we’re at our best."
Creative Client of the Year went to Fonterra Brands NZ, while Assembly was named Production Company of the Year. Assembly took home two golds for Inside Out for Fonterra.
Clemenger BBDO had a good night with a Grand Prix (Direct) and gold for the Ministry for Children, Oranga Tamariki's 'Trails of Taonga', two golds for ''Give Nothing to Racism', and a gold for the New Zealand Transport's Agency's 'Rat's Tale'. It must also be noted they did a great job with the on-scene graphics and theme at the event, which was based around the idea of 'respect'.
The Grand Prix (Digital and Interactive) went to FCB for Vodafone New Zealand's 'Say It Tika'. The ad also won a Grand Prix in the For Good category for a piece of work where a business makes a difference to the New Zealand community.
There was a further gold for the FCB team with “Swim Reaper”.
It was also a good night for DDB, which picked up six golds and the Emerging Talent Award, which went to Sarsha Drakeford and Geordie Wilson.
Golds went to 'Girls Break Up Ice Cream' for Sky Television, 'Dylan' for Lotto NZ and two golds each for NetSafe - Re:Scam' and Lion's 'Fight for Territory'.
DDB New Zealand's chief executive Justin Mowday says the company was really proud to be recognised across a range of categories for its collection of work.
"It is always a great feeling to be acknowledged at our local awards show. This year, we are most proud of our young creatives, Sarsha and Geordie. It’s only by attracting and encouraging young talent that we will continue to produce exceptional work for our clients. Congratulations to Sarsha and Geordie, the recognition is well-deserved.”
The only time there was silence during the event was for the acceptance speech of Colenso's Nick Worthington as he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In his speech, Worthington - who swore at his beloved colleagues because he hadn't been pre-warned of the prize - spoke of how he hasn't lost his excitement over the years and noted as it was International Women's Day, of his massive respect for colleague and Axis convenor Brigit Alkema.
The Sweet Shop picked up a gold for 'Dylan', for New Zealand Lotteries, Finch scored one for 'Rats Tale' and then another for work for Clemenger BBDO and NZTA. Shine took home a gold for its Goodman Fielder and Vogels piece with iconic Kiwi musician Chris Knox.
The Google Axis Student Challenge Award went to Jay Kim and Malik Ben Brahim from Media Design School for their campaign OPSM – Eye yoga.
'Respect' was the theme of the event and, while some may argue there isn't much of it as the attendees talk over the awards, there is plenty to respect about the craft and creativity in New Zealand.
To see the full list of awards visit here.