Arrows and antics: what happened when Adland's finest gathered around the darts board

"Forget about the 2016 Cannes Lions, it's all about the RedSofa Arrows Awards" - the new benchmark for industry talent.

"Super, smashing, great!" With a real-life commentator, the evening resembled an episode of the iconic 80s gameshow, Bullseye. But will anyone walk away with the ultimate prize of a speedboat or a gold carriage clock?

What do you get when you put darts into the hands of some of the most competitive agencies in Adland? Well, luckily there were no serious injuries. But you do get an evening of serious competition, selfies with five times world champion Eric Bristow – and a whole lot of beer and pizza.

And the evening was full of surprises and drama as one-by-one, it was whittled down to two agencies who would go on to battle side-by-side in front of guest judge Bristow.

Blast from the past: Eric Bristow MBE ("The Crafty Cockney") shows off his skills in front of the crowd at Flight Club, Shoreditch. The five times world champion was one of the undisputed stars of darts’ first wave of popularity in the 70s and 80s.

As far as award evenings go, the RedSofa Arrows Awards was one with a difference. The 12 agencies – who ranged from digital marketing masters to advertising whizzes – started off in high spirits as round one kicked off. Separating the best throwers from the poor aimers (the Campaign representative being one), we soon said goodbye to Brand Union, BD, EG+, Ost Modern, Proximity, Isobel, Ingenuity and Verve.

Despite being knocked out by team Atomic, Neil from Proximity remained in high spirits: "I haven’t played darts in about ten years but tonight we got to the [quarter] finals. I’m pretty sure that makes Proximity probably one of the six best darts teams in the whole of London." We’re sure it probably does, Neil.

Meanwhile team Isobel were just happy to be surrounded by other like-minded agencies – and were enjoying the beer and pizza.

"In terms of working in a creative agency, there’s a lot of appreciation of other creative work," said Katherine Jones from Isobel. "It’s really important for these people to come together, so they can meet and socialise with each other and get to know each other outside work in a competitive remit."

"Darts is a bit like advertising. You just throw and hope for the best." The Spark44 team on the similarities between darts and the art of advertising.

After a nail-biting semi final the final two were named; Atomic, who knocked out semi-finalists Start JG, and Elvis who beat Spark44 to the post.

And the winner is...

To add to an evening already full of tense competition, the last two found themselves in a tie-break. With one leg each, who would end up victorious? Would it be team Elvis or Atomic?

Both boasting competent techniques, it was team Atomic who landed the RedSofa Arrows Awards, and will keep the trophy alongside other prestigious awards at their agency for the next year.

Team Atomic boast their shiny new trophy and pose with Crafty Cockney Bristow.

James Hudson from runners up Elvis, praised RedSofa for putting on an "awesome" event. "It was a bit of fun and we all had a good time tonight. It’s an awesome thing that RedSofa have done. Everyone’s here socialising and it was a good final.

Team Elvis posing with their second place trophy and Bristow.

"Things like this are perfect to get people together. There’s loads of times that this kind of thing happens [in the industry], but it’s a bit more sociable tonight and people can just really enjoy it." 

The RedSofa Arrows Awards closes for another year. And sadly, no one won a speedboat, but contact is being made with Jim Bowen (legend) to make arrangements for next year’s winning team.

Check out the full A List

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