Friends Electric wakes up with that sweet sound of victory ringing in their ears after another BOTAB win

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  • October 18, 2013
  • Ben Fahy
Friends Electric wakes up with that sweet sound of victory ringing in their ears after another BOTAB win
Dallas Pickering

For the second year in a row, Barnes Catmur & Friends' Friends Electric took the top prize at the only ad award that really matters, BOTAB. 

Sitting in the courtyard with his dog earlier in the evening, Paul Catmur, Friends Electric's Svengali-like band manager, was exuding calm and confidence. And while the band didn't have quite the level of crowd support of some of the other agencies on the night—particularly OMD's The Chased and .99's Reverend Rick and the Rosés—the judging team of Hugh Sundae, Radio Hauraki's Matt Heath and Shihad's John Toogood couldn't go past the quality of their musicianship and handed them the overall win.  

Daniel Barnes was once again resplendent in the traditional rock god attire of brown leather jacket and white tee and he performed alongside Kate Antjoule on vocals, Brad Stratton on bass, Greg Elisara on lead guitar and James Blackwood on drums. They performed Shihad's Wait and See, a great cover of PJ Harvey's This Is Love, Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl, and their original Modern Rock, which also took out best original. 

"We showed Miley Cyrus what family entertainment is all about," says Catmur. "You don't need to have sex on stage to keep rock alive."

For their troubles, the band gets a professional recording session, a music video shot by Flying Fish, a new Mini to drive for a while (as Sundae said, those cheapskate car sponsors never give one away to keep) and a personalised run of ice-cream from Much Moore. 

The win comes soon after Friends Electric released its single BM2N (and a teaser for the music video shot by Flying Fish) as part of last year's win. The song is currently rocketing up the charts and some are saying that Friends Electronic could be the new Lorde. The single, an electronic version of a local classic, is available to download here and rumour has it that it will also be given away free when you spend $5 at King's Plant Barn. 

Unusually, however, Barnes didn't take the title of oldest performer this time round. That honour is thought to have gone to DraftFCB's chief executive Bryan Crawford, who donned his black vest and rocked out on the keys for the Motorway Cats. 

Among the other winners, OMD's The Chased took best wildcard for blending Shihad and Rage Against the Machine (and they followed it up with an outstanding version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody). 

The Marsden Inch Super Group was: 

  • Best Vocals – Ana Christmas, OMD
  • Best Costume – Tom Cunliffe, DDB
  • Best Musician – James Blackwood, BCG2

.99's berobed and bespectacled gospel style super group chanelled the power of advertising and put on a mad show, replete with confetti canons, specially prepared visuals (the galloping lion was a highlight), loud hailers, cowbells, some remarkable healing of crowd members, an impressive rap about retail for their original song ('R E T, A I L ... you're in hell') and a lead singer who took his robe off and gyrated on the bar. Beyonce would have been impressed. But the judges didn't seem too enthused by the schtick.

"We were robbed," said a furious Ben Goodale, as he wrote up an official complaint. 

Photos: Simeon Patience.

The only gripe was that the venue was oversold and security couldn't let any more groupies in, which led to a large, slow-moving and fairly angry queue of punters outside the Kings Arms until another bar was opened so they could let more humans in.  

The event is rumoured to have been going since the '70s, and if last night was any gauge, it will still be going strong in another 40 years. 

"Another great night in the annals of advertising rock and fortunately twerking was kept to an absolute minimum ... at least while there was anyone watching," says Paul Head, chief executive of CAANZ. 

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