The air was thick with the smell of creativity at the Hopetoun Alpha on 8 November for Adshel's Creative Challenge (turns out creativity smells a little bit like a combination of cigarette smoke, ironic t-shirts, Sal's Pizza and desperation), and after 60 minutes of furious jotting and pressurised thinking to come up with a campaign that would raise awareness—and funds—for Surf Life Saving New Zealand next winter, it was Colenso BBDO's team that took the top prize.
Luring around 75 creatives in 16 teams from Auckland and, due to the generosity of Adshel, Wellington, Adshel's Creative Challenge was back after a two year hiatus and this time the aim was to show that while everyone is pining for summer during the winter months, over 16,000 lifeguards are training for it in an effort to protect beach-goers.
“The Adshel Creative Challenge is a fantastic way for us to support a very deserving charity such as Surf Life Saving NZ," says Nick Vile, general manager, Adshel. "It is also a great event to promote best in class creative principles for effective use of our format. Given the strict time limit it was a pressure-filled environment with some serious focus being applied. We are extremely proud of the event and impressed with the standard of the concepts produced. It is heartening to see the passion for producing good work coming through in the next generation.”
Spurred on by pizza, booze, M&Ms and the dulcet tones of songstress and SLSNZ ambassador Jamie McDell, the minds were racing, the sharpies were scribbling and the ideas were flowing (the fact that 75 ad landers decide to come and do more advertising after work shows the lure this profession still has. It's certainly hard to imagine an accountancy challenge being too popular anyway). Each team was able to submit a maximum of two concepts to the ruthless judging panel made up of Mike Hutcheson from Image Centre Group, me of StopPress, Mike Keech and Emily Marden of SLSNZ and Adshel's Vile. And behind closed doors there was plenty of chin stroking, heated debate, swearing and punching as the judges made sure the entries fulfilled the criteria (did they raise the profile of SLSNZ during the winter months? Did they include the mandatories? Did it evoke the key proposition? Did it captivate the viewer?) and came to a consensus on the winner.
Of course, despite the fact Vile took the opportunity at the start of the evening to talk to the gathered creatives about Adshel and its benefits to advertisers, including some of the new ways printing and mobile technology is allowing for more engaging creative executions (for example, Clemenger BBDO and Fly Buys' bubble-related outdoor campaign), commercial reality was also part of the brief and it was back to the basics of the poster campaign for this contest. And, as a result, the trophy, champagne and a voucher for a helicopter trip for lunch at Cable Bay was presented to the winning team of Ben Polkinghorne, Scott Kelly and Salah Ben-Brahim of Colenso BBDO for their simple, effective and medium-relevant triple treat.
“The winning entry avoided the obvious, created a question and, with the series of three approach, provided the answer, yet still rewarded the reader with the satisfaction of being able to solve the riddle," said chief judge Mike Hutcheson. "There’s nothing like treating the reader with respect and not just regurgitating the brief with an obvious answer.”
Of course, there were plenty of other great ideas, many of them focusing on the fact that other sports take precedence over the beach in New Zealand during winter, like Media Design School and FBN's efforts, and there were also a couple of ideas the judges thought were more appropriate for a different medium, particularly the 'Flag Your Beach' by txting a $5 donation by the Media Design School and the IRB for Sale poster from Colenso BBDO.
But my non-winning favourites were OMD/Einstein's Hairdresser's water-filled bus shelter and the 'it's your turn to save us' campaigns that allowed passersby to donate with their Hop cards; Y&R's simple change to the well-known SLSNZ logo that saw the addition of woolly hats and, appealing to my love of the lowest common denominator, the posters showing the effect of the cold on various body parts; and, along similar lines, Clemenger BBDO's temperature sensitive poster that, when cold, turned a pair of lips blue and made the line 'even in weather like this' appear.
The winning creative, along with all the entries, are available for viewing at www.creativechallenge.co.nz, and the winning creative will be up on Adshels next winter.