You can almost feel the collective hangover after 680 creatively-minded humans gathered together last night at the huge and rather impressive Orams Marine Boat Park to celebrate the 30th birthday of the CAANZ Axis awards, as well as the creativity, ideas and personalities the industry has fostered in that time.
There were hunks, babes, icons, newbies, people arriving in Ferraris, breakdancers wearing fluorescent suspenders, bored looking Robert Palmer girls giving thousand yard stares, cassette tape invites, a smiling Miss New Zealand in a shiny dress to hand out trophies, plenty of talking at tables, plenty of shushing from Dave Walden, eclairs, lots of wide rimmed black glasses and even people coming out of the same toilet cubicles together (whatever were they doing in there?).
Basically, it was the essence of the creative advertising industry; a little bit glitz, a little bit glamour and, put simply, a celebration of the industry's most amazing ideas, which, judging by the list of winners, were plentiful.
Many were picking Special Group and Orcon to take the grand prix for the Together Incredible Iggy Pop campaign. And those many were right: the gang got plenty of exercise, making the long walk up to the stage regularly throughout the night to pick up a total of eight Gold Axis awards, including the big one, the Grand Axis. Orcon also won Creative Business of the Year.
Mikey Havoc dished out the witty repartee and yelled enthusiastically throughout, with the event kicking off in fine style with a very entertaining introductory video/animation to show how far the industry – and the country – has come since 1980 and how those changes have affected some of the industry's big players (see the video here).
Summing up after all the awards had been dished out, international judge John Hunt, worldwide creative director, TBWA\HUNT\LASCARIS, South Africa, claimed his liver had doubled in weight since arriving as a result of the Kiwi hospitality. He also said that he was very impressed with the quality of the New Zealand work and thought it still felt largely "unresearched".
Elsewhere, he says it's becoming more and more about surveys, data and research, rather than ideas, but New Zealand feels different, almost as if the idea comes first and where it will go is decided on later. As a man who has written a book called the Art of the Idea, which shows how ideas can be nurtured or killed, he obviously likes this way of thinking and he implored the advertising community that were present to try and maintain that attitude, even asking clients in the audience to trust their agencies and let those kerrazzeee ideas roam free.
Bill Wright and James Dawson-Hollis, vice president, group creative directors of Crispin Porter + Bogusky in US, were also very impressed with the Kiwi hospitality and the quality of the work (particularly DraftFCB's Hour-Long Letter and DDB's Live Rescue). And Justin Drape, executive creative director of Three Drunk Monkeys in Sydney complimented the beer and invited everyone in the room to come visit his agency.
Despite having four hours set aside in the schedule to decide on the Grand Axis winner, the panel almost instantly agreed it had to be Special Group and Orcon. And that gap meant Devo could crack open another pinot noir. It was interesting to note that Orcon was one of the only major client campaigns on the dais and plenty of one-offs and charity 'awards entries', like Grenade and the New Zealand Book Council.
The general consensus was that the venue was much better than the rather uninspiring Sky City of previous years (despite a few sound issues for those in the back) and there was a distinct lack of naffness this time round, although the creative crowd, which is possibly the only group more cynical than journalists, did let out a collective groan at the Fairfax Media 'Arm Yourself' stunt, which included loud helicopter noises and some yelling soldiers who rushed in to the huge venue and took way too long getting three unwilling hostages up to the stage.
In such a creative environment, where you're honouring the talents of the industry and celebrating and judging the year’s most exciting and original ideas, performances that don't quite cut the mustard are even more difficult to swallow. But at least they didn't get an Elvis impersonator to ride in on a Harley.
CAANZ president Bryan Crawford said ideas continue to remain the real currency of creativity and "when it comes to generating groundbreaking ideas no body comes close CAANZ member agencies and there production partners”.
"As an industry our creative talents were put to the test in a very tough environment – and the work on show at Axis is testament to our collective ability to rise to the challenge and prove once again just how powerful great ideas can be."
The Sweet Shop won this year’s production company of the year and the lifetime achievement award went to Garry Little of Digipost, a man who Walden said had saved more than a few reputations in his time.
Steve Hansen and Paul Kim from Colenso BBDO, a pair who have already started to raise a few eyebrows round the traps, took the emerging talent award.
Roll on next year.
|GOLD AWARDS||Agency||Entry Name||Client|
|Special Group||Orcon + Iggy. Together Incredible.||Orcon|
|Titanium AXIS||Special Group||Orcon + Iggy. Together Incredible.||Orcon|
|Interactive AXIS||Special Group||Orcon + Iggy. Together Incredible.||Orcon|
|Integrated AXIS||Special Group||Orcon + Iggy. Together Incredible.||Orcon|
|Creative Business of the Year||Orcon|
|Production Company of the Year||The Sweet Shop|
|AXIS Lifetime Achievement Award||Garry Little, Digipost|
|Emerging Talent||Steve Hansen & Paul Kim from Colenso BBDO|
|TV Single Commercial||Saatchi & Saatchi NZ||Grenade||Rodney District Council|
|Charity||DDB||Live Rescue||Coastguard NZ Ltd|
|Charity||Colenso BBDO||Going West||New Zealand Book Council|
|PR/Experiential/Word of Mouth||Saatchi & Saatchi NZ||Grenade||Rodney District Council|
|PR/Experiential/Word of Mouth||Special Group||Orcon + Iggy. Together Incredible.||Orcon|
|Digital/Interactive Campaign||Special Group||Orcon + Iggy. Together Incredible.||Orcon|
|Social||Special Group||Orcon + Iggy. Together Incredible.||Orcon|
|Direct Response||Special Group||Orcon + Iggy. Together Incredible.||Orcon|
|Direct Mail||DraftFCB New Zealand||Hour Long Letter||APN|
|Indoor/Outdoor Posters||DraftFCB New Zealand||Wooden Stake||Prime (Sky Network Television)|
|Guerilla Advertising||Saatchi & Saatchi NZ||Grenade||Rodney District Council|
|Outdoor Billboard Advertising - Single||Colenso BBDO||Bulge||TVNZ|
|Outdoor Billboard Advertising - Single||Colenso BBDO||Bleeding Billboard||Papakura District Council|
|Image||Colenso BBDO||Bleeding Billboard||Papakura District Council|
|Digital Craft||DDB||Live Rescue||Coastguard NZ Ltd|
|Art Direction & Typography||DDB||Chess||Sky Television|
|Art Direction & Typography||Colenso BBDO||Going West||New Zealand Book Council|
|Copywriting||DraftFCB New Zealand||Hour Long Letter||APN|
|Direction: on any screen||The Sweet Shop||Dove Love||Foster's Group Limited|
|Visual Craft: on any screen||Flying Fish||Grenade||Rodney District Council|