Axis gongs, client wins and the quality of campaigns usually define competition in the creative advertising industry. But every year, for one night, none of that matters, as the agencies take to the stage and vie for the greatest honour of them all: the Battle of the Ad Bands (BOTAB) title.
This year was no different. A total of 550 fans converged at the Kings Arms to watch the madness unfold as Pegasus and The Job Numbers (Colenso BBDO), The Gypsy Thieves (DDB), The OG Villains (Ogilvy & Mather), The Expendables 5 (Sugar & Partners and String Theory), Foote Cone (FCB), Dooya (WhybinTBWA/DAN), Building 7 (Flying Fish) and The Chased (OMD) took a moment away from their day jobs to slap the bass in front of three judges.
The panel, consisting of TV personality Jacquie Brown, radio legend Murray Grindley and artist (and food truck owner) Otis Frizell, sat in a dark corner of the venue, presiding over the events as they progressed. And as each band took to the stage, the judges shared a quick insight, without giving away so much as a hint as to who their favourites were.
For the last two years, the trophy had rested on the mantelpiece of Barnes, Catmur and Friends, but there was no chance of a three-peat on the cards on account of the indy agency not entering a band this year. However, as MC Alex Behan, of Hauraki Radio, announced Dooya as the winner, it was a repeat of 2011's event, which also saw a band from Whybin\TBWA pick up the overall award.
In addition to the mad kudos that come with winning the title, the team from Whybin will also get to drive a Citroen DS3 for a month, produce their own flavour of ice cream at Much Moore Ice Cream, record their original song at Liquid Studios, have a music video produced by Flying Fish, receive a day's worth of online production at MandyFC and get a $500 lunch at Prego.
But this wasn't the only prize to be handed out on the night. Colenso's band Pegasus and The Job Numbers also took to the stage to collect the award for best original song, while Flying Fish's Building 7 won the best interpretation of their Beatles song, which was part of this year's theme.
Given the flexibility of the competition's rules, each of the entrants took a slightly different approach when it came to their performances. Colenso's crew took it as an opportunity to show off their resplendent fashion sense by wearing matching technicolour shirts, which Behar quipped were available only at Hallensteins.
The bearded crew from DDB was full-on folk—both in attire and style—and transported the crowd back to an age of free love and chilled vibes. Ogilvy's band, which treated the crowd to a decent duet, didn't take its costumes too seriously, and simply donned some hippy-themed glasses, which didn't seem very conducive to seeing.
The collaborative effort between Sugar & Partners and String Theory turned up the tempo and hit the crowd with some hard rock during a set, which resonated rather strongly—and loudly—with Frizzell.
FCB seemingly carried its 'no wanker' policy across to the stage by having no less than 10 people in its band. Unquestionably the most varied performance on the night, FCB's band borrowed from a wide range of musical genres, and really just looked as though they were having a good time on stage.
Whybin\TBWA's Dooya didn't feature any gimmicky outfits or weird accessories, but the band clearly knew what it was doing. Lead singer Tash McGill put in arguably the strongest vocal performance of the night, and her efforts were well supported by a tight set from the band.
From the moment the team from Flying Fish stepped onto the stage, there was a sense that they were taking things seriously. The lead singer looked so comfortable on the stage that he almost seemed like a living, moving, skinny jeans-wearing part of it.
And for the final performance of the night, the audience was treated to OMD's set, which featured great vocals and a sombre use of piano that may have caused the shedding of at least one tear on the night (although this fact is widely disputed).
One thing that wasn't disputed as everyone stumbled out of the venue at the end of the night was that New Zealand's creative agencies have a disproportionately high number of insanely talented musicians in their ranks.
Winners: Overall – Dooya from WhybinTBWA/DAN
Best Original – Colenso BBDO
Best Wildcard interpretation of this year’s theme: The Beatles – Flying Fish
Agencies/ competing bands in the running order:
Pegasus and The Job Numbers from Colenso BBDO
The Gypsy Thieves from DDB
The OG Villains from Ogilvy & Mather
The Expendables 5 – Sugar & Partners, along with String Theory
Foote Cone from FCB
Dooya from WhybinTBWA/DAN
Building 7 from Flying Fish
The Chased from OMD
2013 – Barnes, Catmur & Friends
2012 – Barnes, Catmur & Friends
2011 – Whybin\TBWA
Auction (sold for $3,250):
Justin Timberlake VIP Package for six.
Two-hour pre-show hosting in shared VIP suite
Platinum concert seats
Two-hour Diamond beverage package
Chef's VIP themed gourmet menu
Souvenir VIP lanyard
Official show merchandise
Red carpet entry to your VIP suite
Dedicated event hosts