DDB, Clemenger BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi win big at Axis-21

Almost year on from New Zealand’s first Covid-19 lockdown, Adland is much changed and with it the industry’s creative output. This pandemic tainted creative was on show on Thursday night at Auckland’s Shed 10 as the creative industry came together to celebrate some exceptional advertising work from over the past twelve months at Axis-21.

The very energetic and often rowdy crowd – think caged creatives being let into the wild for the first time in a year – was guided through the night by MC Chris Parker who helped hand out bronze, silver and gold awards IRL.

A total of 45 Gold Axis Awards, including 4 Grand Prix, and 6 golds for the Recognition and OTY Awards were dished out over the course of the evening.

The prestigious Grand Axis was scooped up by the visitors from Wellington, Clemenger BBDO and the NZ Government for the biggest campaign that has become part of our everyday life; ‘Unite Against COVID-19’, an integrated campaign designed to help bring together the nation during the pandemic outbreak in 2020. ‘Unite Against COVID-19′ scored Clemenger BBDO three golds in the categories of Design 360, Integrated and as the ultimate Direct campaign, before going on to win a well-deserved Integrated Grand Prix. Clems also went onto win a further gold for their work with Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency called ‘Doors’ in TV, Cinema and Online, above 30”.

This is the second consecutive year Clemenger BBDO has won the Grand Axis Award.

“Taking on Covid has taken all Kiwis; creating the platform that has helped shepherd us to this point has been no less of a team effort. From our incredibly brave clients to our many partners on this wild ride, Unite Against COVID-19 proves the power of collaboration and creativity to move people through our darkest moments with hope, humour and heart.

“We’re super privileged to have been able to play our part in guiding Aotearoa through this moment,” Clemenger BBDO ECD Brigid Alkema tells StopPress.

Saatchi & Saatchi had a sterling night and won three golds with the much-loved ad for Toyota Hilux called ‘Unbreakable Bond’. The work won in Copywriting for TV Film and Video, in Film and Video for a TV spot over 30” and also in Integrated. The spot was very popular amongst judges and was awarded heavily in Craft, that lead to the 2021 Client of the Year Award, being taken away by Toyota New Zealand.

Following the Awards show Steve Cochran, Saatchi & Saatchi Chief Creative Officer told StopPress: “It’s hugely gratifying to be awarded the recognition we got last night for our team, our clients and our production partners. In particular Hilux, a project that was one of those that everyone who touched it seemed to make it better. I’m incredibly proud of all our work that made finalist, but to win Golds, Grand Prixs, Brand Axis and Client of the Year for Toyota has certainly got to be a career highlight.

“The Hilux campaign received so much love from New Zealanders from the night it launched. It’s always the most rewarding feeling when work you make resonates so well in popular culture. But it’s an incredibly rewarding bonus when the same work resonates equally well with our industry,” he says.

For its work on the ‘Unbreakable Bond’ for Toyota NZ, Sweetshop won three golds in Cinematography, Direction and Editing for the piece of work. The Director for Unbreakable bond went onto win a Grand Prix for Direction. This body of work contributed to Sweetshop being named Production Company of the Year.

“To be recognised as Axis’ Production Company of the Year is truely humbling. The recognition from the industry is kudos to Ben Dailey and Kate Roydhouse and everyone in our Auckland office, and is a moment we cherish. We work with amazing Agency partners which makes this possible, and are fortunate to have a truly incredible team of talented Directors, Producers and everyone in between,” says Wilf Sweetland, Global CEO at Sweetshop.

The night however belonged to DDB Group Aotearoa, with the agency taking home the coveted Agency of the Year Award (based on its haul of wins on the night).

DDB was awarded a massive swag of silvers across five Clients and seven campaigns and took home six Golds for strong work across two major campaigns for Lotto and McDonalds. ‘Reflections’ won gold as an Out of Home Campaign for McDonalds, and the single execution ‘Fries’ won three further golds in Craft for Art Direction and Image and then as a piece of great Standard Outdoor. The campaign called ‘Commas’ for Lotto NZ won a gold in the out of Home campaign category and the single execution called ‘Cars’ was awarded a gold as a single piece of outdoor Advertising.

Commenting to StopPress after the Awards, Justin Mowday, Group CEO DDB Aotearoa says: “We’re really stoked to be named NZ’s Agency of the Year for the second year in a row. It’s great recognition for all the amazing people at DDB that work their butts off day-in day-out for the best clients in NZ. It was also great to see a range of ideas recognised from a number of agencies – Saatchi’s Toyota film, Clemenger’s Covid work and Special’s Election Meddling campaign are all great. New Zealand’s a pretty special place to be in the world right now and it’s great to see creativity thriving.”

DDB Aotearoa wins Agency of the Year.

Other winners on the night

Colenso BBDO and Clemenger BBDO jointly took out 2 golds in Brand Experience & Activation and then in Creative use of Media for the piece first viewed by the festival go’ers at Rhythm and Vines in the New year; ‘Unstoppable Summer: A COVID-19 public service announcement.’

Colenso took home two more Golds for their work with Skinny ‘Friend-vertising’ as a Direct Campaign and as a campaign in TV, Cinema and Online, below 30”.

Special Group picked up two Gold Axis Awards for the Client Every Kiwi Counts and the very funny campaign called ‘Meddle in the New Zealand Election.’ The golds were won in Direct Digital and for best Social media campaign.  This campaign went onto win a much-deserved Grand Prix in the major category of Direct.

FCB New Zealand had a great win with favourite Pak’nSave character Stickman and the campaign called ‘Instickman for Foodstuffs was awarded a worthy Gold in the Influencer category.

 “Axis remains an important moment, and one that we all respect in the New Zealand creative calendar because it celebrates our best creative work; the work our industry is justifiably proud of because it has looked at the world through a new lens, challenged the existing paradigms, permeated popular culture and influenced behavioural change; well done to all the winners this year,” says Paul Head, CEO of The Comms Council.

For a full list of winners, click here.

About Author

David Nothling-Demmer is Editorial Director - Business Titles at ICG Media. Titles include: StopPress, NZ Marketing magazine, Idealog and The Register.

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