Dog days: Colenso BBDO wipes the floor with AXIS goldrush

Bathed in the green hue of ’70s inspired laser body scanners and violated by the sight of Leigh Hart’s velour one piece, 750-ish adfolk ventured down to the Viaduct Events Centre last night to watch Colenso BBDO’s Doggelganger campaign for Pedigree repeat Yellow Chocolate’s performance last year by taking the Grand, Titanium and Interactive AXIS. But, as is usually the case, the awards weren’t without some controversy. 

Youtube VideoColenso took home a total of 38 awards, including eight golds for Doggelganger and another seven shared between Rear View Girls, Mountain Dew Skatepark, Westpac Impulse Saver, NZ Breast Cancer Foundation and Yellow Local.

Other big winners included Mars New Zealand, which won the 2012 Creative Business of the Year accolade, The Sweet Shop, which was awarded production company of the year and won a gold in direction for Novartis, and jingle king Murray Grindlay, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award after 40 years of iconic Kiwi ads, including BASF Dear John, Cadbury Crunchie and, more recently, Fresh n Fruity.

Things certainly appear to be on the up again at Saatchi & Saatchi, and it improved considerably on last year’s tally, with two golds alongside AIM Proximity for Toyota’s FJ Cruiser ‘Top to Bottom’ campaign and one gold for Toyota Hilux ‘Tougher than you can Imagine’. It also won two silvers, including one for Women’s Refuge ‘An Auction To Remember’.

Special Group also continued its winning ways with three golds, two for last year’s AXIS ‘Most Creative Country in the World’ campaign and one for the Smirnoff Night Project.

Rapp/Tribal took two golds for its Yellow Toolbox work. And rounding out the golden list were DDB with the Communications Council’s leaked email invite, Barnes, Catmur & Friends for its Boundary Road Brewery campaign, and Whybin\TBWA for its Multiple Schlerosis work.

The Emerging Talent award went to Kim Fraser of Special Group, who filmed a suitably creative video message from China that included some rather interesting interpretation, and Matt Molley and Liz Richards took the TVNZ Student Award.

Colenso BBDO also did a great job with the AX12 awards collateral (the introduction video showed a series of strange looking cardigan wearers from the ’70s in their lab, which was almost reminiscent of its recent DB Export Dry campaign, and it even played a prank on one of its own by getting someone from the agency to walk up and collect an award before they were rejected by the very advanced AX12 ‘metal detector’ for not having any gold in them).

But more than a few attendees we spoke with afterwards mentioned the fact that DDB and Steinlager’s ‘We Believe’, undoubtedly one of the best and most popular campaigns of last year, didn’t win a thing. And Clemenger BBDO’s Ghost Chips, one of the best and most popular ads of last year, came away with a silver and five bronzes.

It’s good the judging is tough, and there were quite a few categories where no awards were given (like billboards, radio and, surprisingly in a market where TV is so powerful, TV campaign). For many, the international judges are essential to ensure the awards remain relevant and robust. But some we spoke with wondered if these campaigns were punished for being ‘too local’; because they probably wouldn’t win at Cannes.

Whether that’s a reason not to honour them in an award show that aims to recognise the best local creative work will no doubt continue to be debated. But we talked to one client who thought it was disappointing for the industry —and for the reputation of the AXIS awards in the business world—to see a campaign that put twigs in cider boxes deemed better than a campaign that tapped into all the emotion around the Rugby World Cup and helped launch what became a very successful new product.

Thirasak Tanapatanakul, worldwide chairman and chief executive of Creative Juice Bangkok and 2012 AXIS International Judge, was impressed with the quality of thought demonstrated by the winners.

“Creativity in New Zealand advertising is very fresh and yet very effective,” he says. “I loved the winners’ campaigns. Doggelganger earned the top metal for its interactive innovation. The campaign was highly crafted and superbly executed. A very solid idea which encouraged social engagement with the brand.”

The winners were chosen from 578 entries (down from 650 entries last year) and judged by 45 local creatives (with Colenso’s Nick Worthington as convenor) and five international judges—including Tanapatanakul, Duncan Marshall, executive creative director of Droga5 Sydney, Sir John Hegarty, worldwide creative director and founder of Bartle Bogle and Hegarty (BBH), Paul Silburn, creative partner of Saatchi & Saatchi London and Richard Flintham, founding partner of 101 London.

“AXIS is about celebrating ideas; ideas that have captured the imagination of New Zealanders, ideas that have effected change, and ideas that have ultimately achieved business results for our clients,” says CAANZ President Sandy Moore. “AXIS remains the pinnacle of creativity in New Zealand.”

  • Keep your eyes peeled because we’ll be featuring some of the winning work on StopPress over the next week.

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