Jens Hertzum, the executive creative director of TVNZ's inhouse creative services operation Blacksand, has a sideline—and voluntary—job organising the local Promax Awards. And he says this year's event was a big success, with over 100 delegates from all the major channels "getting together to share war stories and case studies".
After many years spent working in his UK homeland and also in Australia, he has spoken many times at Promax events in those countries. And he has also won a few awards in his time, but he sees the event's primary role as offering some education and inspiration to those working in a "mildly hidden industry" that often gets confused with advertising.
"You do sometimes have to remind yourself why you got into this business in the first place," he says.
He says many of those who are in this line of work are often thrown in the deep end without any formal training and are then expected to make on-air promos, lead design teams, create logos or even direct—usually on the smell of an oily rag (there is even a category called 'Something for Nothing' to reference the creative thinking required to get things done). While marketing campaigns often require bespoke footage to be filmed, most of the promos require the use of existing footage, so he says it's not "dissimilar to theatrical trailer making".
Among the speakers were Linda Button from Tooth and Nail, who talked about how to write good, pithy copy and Johnny Kofoed from Assembly spoke about how design is changing the art of storytelling.
"Everything about the event was skewed towards telling great stories," he says.
As for the awards, there were 18 categories, with everything from best use of humour in a promo (won by Prime's Twilight work) to best integrated marketing campaign (won by TVNZ Blacksand for Agent Anna). All awards were judged by international industry folk to avoid any bias and all gold winners now automatically through to the Promax Australia awards.
- Check out all the winners here.
TVNZ Blacksand lead the pack with ten golds and four silvers for work on the likes of MasterChef, Seven Sharp, Breakfast, TV2 and Africa (Hertzum says most of the awards go to inhouse teams, but Scott Spicer's Emotive also took gold for its work on New Zealand's Got Talent).
Sky won three golds and three silvers, MediaWorks won two golds and a silver, Prime won one gold and three silvers, Maori TV won a gold and two silvers, Discovery Networks won four silvers, and MTV won one silver.