The judges at the BTA Awards are given a very clearly laid-out set of criteria by which the ads are judged.

The judges at the BTA Awards are given a very clearly laid-out set

of criteria by which the ads are judged.

As the Chairman, I summed up these criteria in a single question: ’Do

the ads make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up?’

So how did the accumulated hairs of our 18 wise men and women react this


On the first couple of days, sluggishly would be a fair description.

However, when we had boiled the reel down to the shortlist, there was

movement evident in the rear-collar department of even the most

tonsorially challenged judges.

Mm. The ads were actually rather good.

Generally, the style of this year’s crop appears to be moody, real and

wryly amusing rather than hilarious. (Indeed with a few notable

exceptions, most of the audible laughter coming from the jury was caused

by the banter around the table rather than the films themselves).

Oddly, those normal licences to manufacture arrows, the alcohol and

charity categories, were strangely quiet with not one charity ad making

it on to the shortlist.

But then the car section was stunning. Having escaped the tyranny of the

cliche and the corniche, the whole section seems to have gone off road

but on brief. I don’t know what the VW client and teams are on but,

whatever it is, I’d like some. All three campaigns are a perfect example

of what can happen when client and agency hit the right stride at the

same time. Brilliant.

I’d also like to make a special mention, on my and the jury’s behalf, of

’Perfect Day’. It’s a stunning film and only it’s non-appearance on

commercial television disqualified it from being a contender for the ITV

Award. Neck hairs definitely moved.

The Jury Chairman is unable to vote. But were I able to do so, I would

award a brace of golds. One to Peter Bigg and his team who organised the

whole procedure with his normal unruffled excellence. And the second to

my wise and wonderful jury who combined fine judgment with such

excellent humour throughout.

Ladies and gentlemen, you may now go for a neck shave.