Close-Up: Live issue - Top Gunns - probably the best ads in the world

The Gunn Report collates award wins and nominations and translates them into points to show which agencies and ads are the most awarded in the world. The 2007 report is out now. Here Campaign profiles all of the top Gunns.

AGENCY - TBWA\Chiat\Day

In complete contrast to BBDO and Andrew Robertson's attitude towards the Gunn Report, and awards in general, Gerry Graf, the executive creative director at TBWA\Chiat\Day, comes across as if topping the Gunn Report is a by-product of the job his clients pay him to do.

He says: "Its great when it happens. It's a little bit of luck, a little bit of hard work, and a little bit of talent, but we don't aim to win awards. If you set out to win the Gunn Report, your ads tend to be crappy. If my clients thought I was in this business to win awards, well, I don't think they'd be my clients any more."

Instead, his ideas on creative are to "do something that has never been done before" and points at the Skittles "rabbit" work, which came fourth in the Top 50 Most Awarded TV and Cinema Ads category, and the "what your mum would have fed you if she were a man" work for Combo's, which even though it didn't make it into the Top 50, was still well awarded.

"You can't put too much truck into the awards though, because truly great work needs to be different, and many judges won't award different work, so you end up with about a year lag. Nike's 'little penny' was fantastic, but it took over a year for people to recognise it as award-winning or to give it the recognition it deserves."

TV OR CINEMA AD - Sony "paint"

Despite being widely regarded as the ugly sister to its predecessor "balls", Fallon's follow-up for Sony Bravia, "paint", wowed the judges.

Craig Davis, JWT's global creative chief and the guest editor of the Gunn Report, says: "Ten different juries in ten different shows had the good sense to award this film to make it the most widely acclaimed commercial of the year. Only the D&AD were tight-fisted with a nomination."

Another gem from the brain of the Fallon creative director, Juan Cabral, "paint" saw the agency de-camp to Glasgow for two weeks and actually paint the building using drums of colour and a "shit load" of explosives.

Chris Willingham, the partner and client services director on the account, believes that filming the explosions for real is what swayed the judges to lavish the ad with so many awards.

"My God was it difficult, but we gained a lot of respect for it. It would have been easy to go into the studio for two weeks, but we thought the real approach was best. It's heartening to see effective work picking up awards."

DIRECTOR - Thanonchai Sornsrivichai

Despite gaining the never-before- achieved honour of winning this category for three consecutive years (and four times overall), Thanonchai Sornsrivichai, of the Taiwanese-based Phenomena, is almost an unknown quantity outside of his homeland.

He began his career as a graphic designer, which he says gave him a unique insight into how a product message can be delivered in the most effective way with the least amount of misunderstanding. After later moving into directing TV commercials, the almost psychotically devoted Sornsrivichai says he then spent most of his free time attempting to define a personal methodology by talking to people in order to find an understanding of consumers' behaviour, and a quality that was common to them all.

Many believe it is this devotion that has led to his ads being so successful because his unique insights make his work easily accessible while still maintaining an essentially Thai identity - making them extremely effective.

This is prevalent in much of his work, and especially in the Smooth E Baby Face Scrub campaign (which was the 20th most awarded TV commercial in the world) and the "salesman" campaign for Bangkok Life Assurance (which finished 25th). These two ads alone gained him more than half of his eventual points tally of 40, more than 21 points above Tom Kuntz, who finished second in the list.

PRINT CAMPAIGN - Cima Bike Locks

Craig Davis, the guest editor of this year's Gunn Report, says that the work by Leo Burnett Bangkok for Cima Bike Locks was "disconcertingly simple", which is exactly what it is. He also admits to feeling great humility when he sees the work.

After just beating DDB London to the top spot in the Most Awarded Print Ads by one point, the success of the ad at a host of global award shows came as a huge shock to the humble creatives at the agency.

Sompat Trisadikun, the creative director, says: "You never really think you'll win this big when you come up with an idea. Sometimes it just works."

INTERACTIVE AGENCIES - Crispin Porter & Bogusky, FarFar

When Donald Gunn decided this year to bite the bullet and begin including interactive awards in his points tally, he probably didn't realise that (a) an agency with its roots in traditional advertising would jointly head up the table - Miami's Crispin Porter & Bogusky - and (b) he would introduce the world to a group of self-proclaimed Swedish bandits called FarFar who steal time and animate meatballs.

In a stunning year for both agencies, who both had three campaigns in the Top 25 Most Awarded Interactive Campaigns in the World, it may seem as if the smaller Swedish outfit (it is eight years old with 40 staff) were the shock entrants, but not in their eyes.

Matias Palm-Jensen, the chief executive, says: "Some love to win. We bloody hate to lose. Honestly, we're not surprised to be where we are today. Next year, we're bringing the fight to Crispin's porch."

Despite this confidence and braggadocio, Crispin Porter will not quite be ready to throw in the towel. The agency is one of the world's most renowned agencies and can win awards in any medium and is not tied to traditional methods.

The agency picked up most of its points for its Volkswagen work, with three separate campaigns picking up enough points to sit in the Top 25 Most Awarded Interactive Campaigns. The results show that if TV, print and interactive had been linked together, they would have been the most awarded agency overall, one point clear of TBWA\Chiat\Day.

NETWORK - BBDO

If there is a network that desperately wants to top the Gunn Report, then that network has to be BBDO.

However, with a motto of "The work, the work, the work", would you expect anything else? Andrew Robertson says: "Being the most awarded network, and instilling that in our agencies, is a massive driving force in our plans. When we're reviewing agency performances we always look for the amount of Gunn and Won Report points."

And this shows in the facts. This is the fifth time the network has picked up the award since the report started nine years ago and, as Robertson points out, in the past four years it came third, second, then first for the past two years.

Donald Gunn, the creator of the Gunn Report, says: "Clear proof - if ever it were needed, that 'The work, the work, the work', in fact, works. And it certainly beats the hell out of 'the meetings, the meetings, the meetings' or 'the politics, the politics, the politics' as a way to run an agency."

Robertson also sees the awards tally as proof that the network can live up to its boasts about creativity and effectiveness.

"If we make the claim that it's all about the work, then we need to prove that - and I think this shows that we have. Plus, its advertising that works, there's no scam ads in here."

PRODUCTION COMPANY - MJZ

By heading up the Most Awarded Production Company table, MJZ has joined Gorgeous as being the only businesses to top the table three times. By producing award-winning ads for 15 different clients in three offices (London, New York and Los Angeles) with a host of top talent, it is fast becoming recognised as the world's best production company.

With awards pouring in for ads such as Lynx "billions" and Skittles in the US, the agency finished five points clear of Bangkok's Phenomena.

However, Debbie Turner, the executive producer, says that making a great commercial is the company's top priority. "If an award comes, it comes. Of course they're important, but there's no point in getting obsessed with them - in life, it's only worth worrying about the things you can control."

She believes that the company's success has come from investing in the right talent and picking the right scripts.

"By and large, the best talent not only attracts the best scripts, but is also best fitted to make the most of great ideas."