This year's awards have arrived as quickly as Crackberry-powered account handlers. In the world's waiting room that is ExCeL in East London, 304 international judges sat in splendid isolation and calmly but surely carved through more than 25,000 items over four days. I had 143 nominations to pick from for this - the cornucopia in Campaign's pages. And as ever, they're a bitch to choose from. I've picked the ones that have tickled or punched me in the creative department. Have a closer look at all the work at www.dandad.org/awards08.
First off, "space" from the Carling campaign, "belong". I absolutely adore this: it made me laugh out loud, and cry a tear of happiness that this beautiful film has been nominated. A study of the simplicity of a man's mind and the best part of having mates ... great. Mine's a pint, thanks barman.
Smooth E Baby Face Foam is a gift that crosses all boundaries. It's brilliant, dripping in irony and not lacking in gags. The best of the bunch - if you can split them up - is the "daddy" script.
From a man who sees a lot of randomness on the web, which burns the word "weird" from your repertoire, I think it's great to see an ad that suddenly shows you how it's done. "Wind" for Epuron does this hands down. Not only a great script, a perfect performance, but it's the casting director who needs the pat on the head from this HUGE man mountain - it's a great piece.
Do you remember hiding behind the settee when the music started? Did your sister tease you relentlessly for the following 30 years? Well, it was the crazy special effects that did it for me: Doctor Who and its video-feedback title sequence really scrambled my brain. The pop video for My People by The Presets takes this 70s clockwork effect and puts that bunny on Duracell (other batteries available). Check out the feedback loop: simple and restrained motion turned into a frenzied feedback feast.
Following that rabid disregard of the English language, with me waving my schoolboy dyslexia report as almost a right of passage for any visual creative, the category of "Writing for Advertising" for me is a high art form I cannot understand. When I read the lines of copy in the Barnardo's campaign it makes me weep for my retired English teachers ... The poster that I most remember is of a hooded teenager in grey. The line "Would you judge a boy by the cover?" is GENIUS. You are legends in your own kingdom that others merely visit.
"Product recall" for Volkswagen continues in the spirit that VW has earned over decades of innovative advertising and purity of brand. Winning the account is a double-edged sword: you not only have to do your best work but match or better everything that has gone before. It's a daunting prospect, and one that this newspaper press campaign does effortlessly.
The integration of the HBO "voyeur" campaign is fantastic, almost tinted with a slight case of OCD. It has thought of everything to make the HBO brand appear front and centre in everyone's mind. The invitation, complete with cutouts, invited New Yorkers to a downtown location where, with the use of three HD projectors, an entire block appeared to have its walls removed. It's the dream brief for all people-watchers, and the content on- and offline made this a massive joined-up idea for me.
Equally big in its reach, but small in its idea, was the "tap project" for Unicef. We've all heard this, but for a whole city to pay a buck for tap water in its restaurants on one day is incredible - indeed, to even insist on tap water! $1 is enough to give a child clean drinking water for 40 days.
Uniqlo's clock really is dancing its way into millions of hearts worldwide. It hits as hard now as it did at the launch. What's more, all the judges who had seen it in many other awards felt this was the one that needed the least discussion and the least debate. It is a beautiful piece of craft and design. Uniqlo - the new Ikea?
Also knocking us over was a submission in "Online Advertising" for Wellington Zoo. When you first look at this, it does not seem real, not possible - Minority Report! It's a simple code PRINTED in a newspaper that you take a picture of using your camera phone: we have all seen that, but the software then allows you to see a 3D animal on your screen and move around it. Tomorrow's future, today!
Lastly, my personal favourite: it's simple and fun, and I still laugh at it. The talking stain on the poor guy's shirt, for Tide stain remover - it's great advertising. As he is being interviewed for a job, the stain on his shirt talks over his answers. It makes me smile on the inside, stain-free.
What a great year!