Over 900 ridiculously well-dressed media types took their seats at the Viaduct Events Centre last night for the 2015 edition of the Beacon Awards. Throughout the evening, each of the company tables gave partisan cheers when their co-workers stepped onto the stage to collect awards, serving as a reminder of the competitive banter that typifies the industry on a daily basis.
And although most winners will no doubt feel a sense of pride—and the mild throb of a hangover—today, the most successful agencies on the night were MBM, FCB Media and Spark PHD.
For the second year in a row, MBM picked up the the Media Agency of the Year award, which is given to the an agency of business merit. According to the Caanz release, the award takes into account business vision, employee development, financial performance, client acquisition and development, industry contribution, creativity and innovation.
"If there was an award for Best After Party we would have won that too, sore heads today," joked MBM partner Matt Bale. "We’re delighted with the result, it’s great reassurance that we’re a part of something very special that we can share with staff, suppliers and clients."
Traditionally, at awards shows, the Agency of the Year gong is given to the agency that wins the most metal on the night. And if this was the case at the Beacons, then the award would've gone to FCB Media for winning a total of 13 golds and two silvers.
FCB's biggest winner on the night was its 'Finding the unfindable' campaign for the IRD, which picked up a huge haul of five golds on the night. The agency's other golds came for Sony's 'sideline challenge' (four golds), the Health Promotion Agency's 'Behaving like Beer' (two golds), Maybelline's 'Get a Little Lippy' (one gold) and Pak 'n Save's 'Earning an unfair share (one gold). The agency's two silvers came for Mitre 10's 'Easy as' and Brothers in Arms' 'The bank job'.
“The Beacons is about proving that great media thinking adds business value, so to have won a record 13 Golds across so many categories and see every one of our campaigns take home an award was incredible; it’s testament to a lot of hard work, passion and ambition from our brilliant team, clients and media partners,” says Rufus Chuter, the head of strategy at FCB Media.
The Tui 'Catch a million' campaign is no stranger to winning awards, and this trend once again continued at the Beacons, with Spark PHD being awarded the Best in Show gong for its work on this campaign. And the quality and successfulness of the campaign also resulted in the judging panel choosing DB Breweries as the Advertiser of the Year.
“Our executive judges all agreed that this campaign and its media strategy were instrumental in delivering fantastic success for DB," said Lew Bentley, the convener of judges for Beacons. "This was a campaign that all the judges would have been proud to have as their own and was an example of advertising at its best.”
The 'Media Brand of the Year' was again a tightly contested category between TVNZ, MediaWorks and iSite Media, and this year the gong went to iSite for its innovation in the outdoor space.
Although those sitting at the various tables cheered loudest for their own agency's win, the entire room showed solidarity in giving OMD's Chrissy Payne a standing ovation for winning the Sandy Smith Inspiring Individual Award.
A short video clip featuring comments from the OMD team accompanied the clip, and Payne tugged at the heartstrings of all those in attendance with a teary speech that again illustrated why she is considered such an inspiration to so many people in the industry. And rather than drawing attention to her own successes (of which there's no shortage), she instead diverted focus to her clients, making special mention of Tourism Australia for being in attendance. With such humility, it's hardly surprising that the industry honoured her with this award.
In addition to picking up the Best in Show, Spark PHD also collected five additional golds as well as five silvers. Rather predictably, the biggest winner for PHD was the 'Tui Catch a million' campaign, which picked up four category golds and a silver. And the agency also won awards for Unilever and Monteith's.
“The team at PHD were really thrilled with the results," PHD Group chief executive Louise Bond. "We had several worthy campaigns recognised at this year’s event, including DB Breweries Monteith’s and Tui, as well as Unilever TRESemmé. As an agency, we recognise and appreciate the collaborative efforts of all our valued clients and creative/media partners in producing such outstanding work. I would personally like to thank the entire team at PHD, who continue to push themselves to deliver the best work and not settle for second best.”
Here's the full list of golds and silvers:
Following its dominance at the Axis Awards, Sky's 'Bring down the King' campaign did not fare quite as well at the Beacons, but still picked up five silvers for OMD. And the agency's other silver also went to an Axis favourite in the New Zealand Transport Agency's 'TinnyVision' campaign.
One of the most tightly contested categories on the night was the 'Best Use of Event/ Activation and Sponsorship' category, which featured some of the year's biggest campaigns in Sky's 'Bring down the King', New Zealand Cricket's Alternative Commentry Collective, Tui's 'Catch a million', Genesis Energy's 'Power Kiwi Kitchens', the Burger King Motel, HRV's 'Pure invironment' and Lion's 'Deep Dive'. And, despite winning the 'Best in show' on the night, the Tui 'Catch a million' campaign was pipped by Lion's 'Deep Dive' in this category, giving ZenithOptimedia its only gold of the night.
The night also had a few quirky additions. NZME arranged a best dressed competition, which gave a nod to those who adopted a more creative approach to their attire and awarded $1000 each to the best dressed man and woman on the night. The winners were Kate Gamble from ZenithOptimedia and Jed Misa from Fuse/OMD.
TVNZ also introduced a whimsical element by placing a selfie stick on every table and giving away a prize of breakfast prepared by My Kitchen Rules contestants Sam and Dan to the group that took the best selfie on the night.
And, as the wine flowed freely, the selfies poured in.
The winning table was number 66—which was occupied by Bauer—and those that featured in the pic enjoyed a post-party pick-me-up this morning with a full English breakfast cooked at their office.
Here's a full gallery of the night: