The most noticeable trend at this year's One Show involved innovative uses of creative and media. An integrated campaign for ESPN/Sega from Wieden & Kennedy New York used a viral hoax implicating Sega in a conspiracy against users, and was one of the most talked-about winners, collecting gold Pencils in the One Show, One Show Interactive categories and taking The Big Idea prize.
The campaign followed "Beta-7", a fictional character wrapped up in a virtual reality football game who is played by an actor . Postings were placed on game site message boards and a blog, Beta-7.com. Plot devices included sending games to players, who then received a letter from Sega demanding them back; and shutting down Beta-7 to replace it with a new site.
"No way was it the traditional agency/client relationship," the W&K creative director, Ty Montague, explains. "The client and lawyer looked at everything, and had to be available at odd hours -we were doing things no-one had done before." According to the judge Joyce King Thomas, of McCann Erickson New York: "Work that leapt from print to TV to web to guerrilla was the most interesting, and the most effective."
Then there were the newsworthy efforts by the Client of the Year, Adidas, which took four gold, two silver and two bronze Pencils. They were created by 180 Amsterdam and individual TBWA agencies under the "forever sports" and "impossible is nothing" themes.
TBWA Japan created a human billboard involving a ball and players suspended by ropes and playing football 12 storeys above ground in Tokyo and Osaka.
180 created a series of print and poster installations in London, Dublin and Paris, among other locations, which featured mud-splattered portraits of sportsmen, such as the England rugby star Jonny Wilkinson.
The "impossible is nothing" TV campaign from 180 Amsterdam and TBWA\Chiat\Day San Francisco incorporated digitally rendered historical footage of Muhammad Ali. TBWA\Chiat\Day's creative director, Lee Clow, explains: "We got a call out of the blue from 180. Adidas was looking for an understanding of sport that would give it more emotional traction with consumers."
Individual countries came up with their own solutions to the "impossible is a state of mind" theme. "Our job is to deliver the results in the US, and counsel Adidas on how to make the brand more relevant and cooler in the US, and make sure kids understand that we're not just a Nike imitator."
Another award-winning campaign was "truth", for the American Legacy Foundation by Arnold Worldwide and Crispin Porter & Bogusky. "It was the unconventional media ideas that impressed me," Nancy Vonk, from Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, says. "'Truth' used some good PR stunts. They continue to find relevance and make compelling arguments against cigarettes - just brilliant."
Best of Show was W&K London's "cog", that symphony of related Honda parts that has won so many awards its creators have lost count. "Awards keep turning up in the post," the ad's copywriter, Ben Walker, says. "Pyramids, angels carrying globes, all sorts of stuff we didn't know we'd entered for, or even existed."
According to John Butler, the president of The One Club: "Stuff that hits people over the head and tells them what to do is becoming a thing of the past. Lots of work comes from a less 'overt selling place'. 'Cog' is controversial because of its history, but it doesn't sell that hard. The traditional sheet-metal guys would pooh-pooh it, but it works well against that huge audience out there that's tired of being sold to."
Walker says: "'Cog' caught the public's imagination in a big way. It was voted 16th-best TV moment of the year. Even my mates begrudgingly said they liked it." It seemed only fitting that the spoof ad for 118, from WCRS London, should also win a Pencil. "The ad ran on cinema straight after the original 'cog' and the response was fantastic," its copywriter, Anson Harris, says. "It restored our faith in the power of advertising. We're not expecting any job offers from W&K anytime soon however ..."
A sentimental favourite was "worms", a 60-second spot from BBDO Bangkok for a tea company featuring animated father and son caterpillars struggling to reach the sweetest leaves. King Thomas says: "'Worms' defied all formats, trends and rumours of the death of the commercial. It made every judge laugh and sold the tea brilliantly because it was a 'surround the consumer approach', which seems to be the way to go."
The most annoying trend? "All the people running to nowhere," the judge Joe Sciarotta from Ogilvy & Mather New York says. "Plus, there were more visual solutions this year. Headlines governed. Sixty-second TV is alive and well."
But everyone had a different opinion. "Sega blew me away and 'worms' was the weirdest spot," the judge Gerry Graf, from TBWA New York, says.
"Apart from that, I was shocked at how bad the TV was. Print was better." Butler agrees: "I thought the European and Asian print was spectacular overall. Sometimes I think I live in the wrong country."