THE ONE SHOW WINNERS: The 2001 One Show, America's premier advertising awards, showcases some of the industry's most inspiring work. John Hegarty takes a look at the competition

As I sit down to write this, the news is full of stories of the

British failure to be represented at Cannes, the film festival that is

not the advertising one.



The reason I mention this is to raise the issue of awards and their

relevance to our industry. It seems the problem at Cannes is the British

inability to make "meaningful" films as opposed to commercially

successful ones. Does one preclude the other?



This, of course, is the big question of advertising awards. In fact, one

could say the Holy Grail of advertising is to link creativity to brand

success. If we accept, as Mr Bernbach once pointed out, that persuasion

is an art not a science, then the success generated by our creativity

must be a consideration in selecting awards.



As the US is the largest advertising market in the world, it is surely

there that this question becomes most poignant. Er, well, no.



When you use the word creative in America you have to be very

careful.



Creativity to most clients in America means "edgy". I remember a

credentials presentation to the marketing director of a large company.

After I had shown our reel he said: "Hmm, very interesting, all that

creative stuff went out in the 60s." There's not a lot you can say to

that apart from goodbye.



In fact, in surveys conducted by the 4As (America's IPA) when they ask

clients what they look for in their agency, creativity comes in at about

number three. So, as I'm in the process of making broad sweeping

statements, it would be fair to say creativity (edginess) in America

exists at the margins.



The American heartland, the place occupied by those big consumer brands,

is not renowned for its "creativity". It relies on presence. Presence

backed by millions of dollars. In America, big isn't just good. Big is

right. This is the dilemma for "creative" agencies in the US. As they

grow, as they take on bigger pieces of business, how do they maintain

their creativity?



Of course, there are exceptions.



Volkswagen has consistently challenged the supremacy of the American car

giants with its witty, daring ads.



Nike has entered the mainstream with "edgy" work, mainly because its

target market is primarily youthful. One has to admire this brand. For

the past 15 years it has stood at the cutting edge, building a global

phenomenon. Despite recent hiccups it's still a truly remarkable

success. But ultimately, America is a country run by corporations. After

all, they've just put their man in the White House. And most

corporations don't like edgy, it's dangerous.



Of course there is change afoot.



Procter & Gamble announced it's looking at its advertising model to see

how it can make it work more creatively.



But ultimately, as you flip through the One Show winners, the funny,

daring, distinctive thinking is on the outside looking in. Yes, Fox

Sports is great, I wish I had done it. But ultimately it only lives on

Fox. It stays in its corner talking to its people.



Advertising that exists at the margins by and large only affects the

margins.



For a brand to become an icon it must develop fame. Fame only occurs

when you talk to a broad audience. And, of course, to create fame you

need ideas and, in America Inc, ideas are dangerous. So let's stick with

a technique. After all, nobody ever objected to a blue filter.



With the continuing fragmentation of media, will the big corporations be

forced to be more creative? Will the advent of TiVo force advertisers to

rethink their outmoded advertising principals? Change, we hope, is

afoot.



The only problem, is you won't see a lot of it at this year's One

Show.



To return to the point I started with, awards have to be not only about

creativity, but creativity that builds brand success that generates

fame.



That's the ultimate reward. Just as at Cannes, surely the answer is to

produce commercially successful films that have integrity and

stature.



Gold: Outdoor (single)

Title: Monday

Client: Timex

Agency: Fallon London

This thought left me a little cold. No doubt fans of Geldof - "I don't

like Mondays" - will be roaring in the aisle. Sadly I was never much of

a fan. Ultimately this is a fashion statement, your competition is

Swatch. It doesn't cut it for me.

Gold: Consumer TV over 30"

Title: Football

Client: Monster.com

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi London

Nicely played out little scenario on how to handle your dealings with

your boss. And, naturally, if you get it wrong Monster will sort out an

alternative. Is it a great brand-building idea? Does it differentiate

the brand? Does it work into other media? Should it have been awarded a

gold?

Gold: Magazine colour (single)

Title: Lettuce Girl

Client: Volkswagen of America

Agency: Arnold Worldwide Boston

This is my favourite campaign by far. A real lesson in brand-building.

By hardly showing the product I'm made to search it out. Yes, I know

I've seen similar ideas before, but this is so right for the new Beetle.

Gold: Newspaper over 600 lines (single)

Title: Start /finish

Client: Nike

Agency: Black Sheep Singapore

How much longer, you think, can Nike go on capturing the essence of

sport, especially now that, for all intents and purposes, it's a fashion

brand. Also, maintaining the facade of a genuine sports brand when

you're involved in about every sport going must take some doing. This ad

works because it talks absolutely to the fanatical runner.

Gold: Newspaper over 600 lines

Title: MacSomething, Obscure Pale Ale

Client: Drinks.com

Agency: Mullen/Wenham

I think one of the oldest ideas in the book is to take a famous or

familiar pack and rewrite the product name and copy to say something

completely different. Obviously the One Show jury thought it worthy of

another go and, just to be sure, gave it a gold.

Gold: Newspaper 600 lines or less (single)

Title: Reading the paper

Client: Museum of Modern Art

Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day/Los Angeles

I was very disappointed with this ad. I was under the impression that

people feel quite intimidated by contemporary art. Surely the purpose of

advertising would be to draw them into the experience, not confuse them

even further. Obviously, a very artistic jury.

Gold: Consumer magazine less than a page (single)

Title: Don't Ambulate

Client: The Heritage Dictionary

Agency: Mullen/Wenham

This is a very smart piece of thinking. Selling dictionaries isn't high

on my agenda of campaigns to do, but this handles it cleverly. Does it

stand out? I'm not sure the art direction grabs me. Do I feel a bit

Waterstones - that's possibly a little unfair. But they did do it so

well.

Gold: Best of Show

Title: Utah, San Antonio, L.A., New York

Client: Fox Sports

Agency: Cliff Freeman & Partners New York

If there's an award for effectiveness it should go to this campaign.

Basketball is increasingly a black sport, played by black stars followed

by black (sorry African American) fans. The brief - reconnect with white

youth - it does so brilliantly. I still marvel at how they did it. If

you saw "the joins" the whole thing would fall apart.



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