The Creative Judges

Paulette ArsenaultPaulette Arsenault is executive vice-president, creative at Montreal-based advertising agency PALM Publicite Marketing.Arsenault has been with the agency since its opening in 1986 and is one of its four founding partners.As creative director, Arsenault oversees all of the agency's creative...

Paulette Arsenault

Paulette Arsenault is executive vice-president, creative at Montreal-based advertising agency PALM Publicite Marketing.

Arsenault has been with the agency since its opening in 1986 and is one of its four founding partners.

As creative director, Arsenault oversees all of the agency’s creative and is actively involved in the development of palm campaigns for clients such as Labatt, Loto-Quebec, Ultramar, cibc, Michelin and Abbott.

In 1981, she founded the creative shop Les Concepteurs Arsenault-Paquette, with partner Yvon Paquette, then art director at McCann-Erickson.

In her 22-year career, Arsenault has picked up numerous local and international awards, including a Coq d’Or for McDonald’s, the restaurant chain’s first such award in Quebec, while she was with Ronalds-Reynolds.

Favorite advertising:

1. Kellogg’s Cornflakes ‘Mother in fridge’ (tv) by Leo Burnett.

2. Claritin ‘Ragweed’ (tv) by Cossette Communication-Marketing for Schering Canada.

3. Grand & Toy ‘Gifts people actually use’ campaign (tv) by Doner Schur Peppler.

General comments:

Nice stuff from many agencies but a few disappointments from high profile agencies. Is it a sign of the times?

This year, 1993, seems to have been a very average year.

As far as the presentation of the different portfolios, some did a great job, some others didn’t seem to care.’

Boris Damast

Boris Damast is director at Damast Gordon & Associates in Toronto.

Damast began his career in production in Australia and Europe. After some freelance writing in London, he joined the ad agency world.

Since then, he has held top positions in agencies worldwide, including creative director, dmb&b in St. Louis; deputy creative director under Bob Levenson at Saatchi New York; executive creative director at Saatchi Melbourne; and national creative director, BBDO Canada.

Damast has won more than 200 awards during his career.

In the 1980s, he was named by Ad Day as one of the Top 100 outstanding creative people in the u.s. and led BBDO Canada to being named International Agency of the Year by Advertising Age in 1990.

Favorite advertising:

1. A tie between Canadian Airlines International’s ‘Signature’ (tv) by Chiat/Day and adidas Canada ‘nude soccer team’ (print) by Young & Rubicam.

2. ytv campaign (print and transit) by taxi.

3. Black Label beer (tv, transit and print) by bcp for Molson O’Keefe.

General comments:

Overall consistency of high-quality thinking coupled with penetrating executions seemed to be in short supply; consistency being the key word.

I saw bold, innovative strategic thinking attached to somewhat predictable executions. And unoriginal strategies saved by powerful executions.

Each agency had some great moments – but five above-average campaigns eluded all but a select few.

Marc Giacomelli

Marc Giacomelli is managing director, creative services at Toronto-based ad agency Robins Sharpe Associates/DDB Needham Worldwide, creative director, Robins Sharpe and president of The Giacomelli Consultancy.

From 1983-89, Giacomelli was partner and creative director at Creative Interchange, at which he wrote, produced, directed tv commercials and programs, records and radio commercials.

Giacomelli’s film and tv credits include writer, creative consultant and associate producer, SCTV Network, and writer, producer, The 13th Floor.

He has five books to his credit, he has produced and/or written four records, and wrote and directed Invisible Cities for Toronto Free Theatre.

He has won numerous international advertising awards, including ibas and Clios.

He won a Billi Award in 1983 for his billboard, ‘Dare to Be a Priest Like Me.’

Favorite advertising:

1. Black Label ‘Sperm’ (tv) by BCP for Molson O’Keefe.

2. Club Voyages ‘You’re not here’ (tv) by TAXI for Air Transat.

3. Napoleon eyewear ‘Change la face du monde’ (tv) by TAXI for Cameo Optique.

General comments:

All agencies had more or less thoughtful, incisive briefs, strategies, background documents, and so on. But the quality of the creative varied wildly, even within the agencies’ own work.

This emphasizes, once again, the mystery, luck and courage of good creative.

Or, as the old Creative Interchange motto used to go, ‘Knowledge, Accuracy and Luck.’

Marlene Hore

Until early this year, Marlene Hore was national creative director and vice-chairman of Toronto-based advertising agency J. Walter Thompson.

Hore is currently president of Good Ink, her own consulting company, and worked on the national Liberal party advertising campaign until the October federal election.

She is now at work on a film and a tv show about advertising.

Favorite advertising:

1. Prego Spaghetti Sauce ‘Edna on Top’ (tv) by McKim Baker Lovick/BBDO for Campbell Soup.

2. Kellogg’s Cornflakes ‘Mother in fridge’ (tv) by Leo Burnett.

3. Ikea ‘Assemble cabinet’ (print) by Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners Advertising.

4. Ultra Tide laundry detergent (print) by Saatchi & Saatchi for Procter & Gamble.

General comments:

While I didn’t sit down to judge with any pet peeves or likes, the agencies that came first and second kept their work simple, focussed, involving, entertaining and idea-based.

They avoided trendy gimmicks and the latest fad look. In fact, their print was actually readable.

While the commercials I thought were absolutely the best overall were not from the agency I scored the highest, their excellence was not enough to compensate for the inconsistency of the work from campaign to campaign.

Overall, I believe the economy and fear of making a mistake won out in 1993.

While most agencies had at least one campaign that was excellent and showed their potential, their total body of work did not hold up.

I scored the work at Leo Burnett at a higher level than I gave it finally. I marked it down because I thought the work, while very good indeed, had a sameness about it.

taxiand Wasserman Cozens Dundon were certainly bright lights. Wasserman’s body of work was a little too thin to really be in the running this year. Having said that, its print was very good indeed.

The campaign I liked best overall was for Campbell Soup’s Prego spaghetti sauce.

As a presenter, Dame Edith Evans is beautifully suited to the product. She is outrageous and highly memorable. Her proposition is laced with naughty innuendo – ‘Do you like it on top?’ – great stuff.

I laughed and remembered everything. And if thick is the motivator, hell, I’d give Prego a try.

Peter Lanyon

Peter Lanyon was honored as Canada’s top creative director by Strategy magazine in 1991, after winning more awards for creative excellence than any other individual in Canadian advertising.

Lanyon was the founding creative partner at Cossette Communication-Marketing in Toronto, and built internationally recognized campaigns for Smirnoff, Panasonic, Canada Post, Saturn, Isuzu, TVOntario and Bell Cellular.

In 1992, he moved to Vancouver to found Lanyon Phillips Brink with Chiat/Day U.S.A. veteran Chuck Phillips and Vancouver venture capitalist Russell Brink.

In the company’s first year, Lanyon’s campaigns won more national advertising awards than were awarded to any agency in b.c.

Favorite advertising:

1. Sunlight laundry detergent ‘Freshly Squeezed’ (out-of-home) by MacLaren:Lintas for Lever Bros.

2. Ikea Canada ‘Wet Your Beds’ (out-of-home) by Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners Advertising.

3. Black Ice ‘Aspirateur’ (tv) by BCP for Molson O’Keefe.

General comments:

I found that each agency had a very distinct character, not just in its work, but also in how it presented it.

Some agencies were obviously creative-driven, others dominated by strategic planning. Canadian clients have a good range of real options to choose from.

There was no shortage of good advertising either. Ikea, Oh Henry! CP Hotels, Ford Taurus, Chrysler Magic Wagon, Sunlight, Black Ice, Club Voyages. All had some excellent work.

There were, however, a couple of mildly disturbing trends.

One, a sort of arms race for the edgiest, wackiest, wierdest mtv-style creative. Sometimes it was relevant, like when it sold beer to Generation X. But for patent medicines for Mom and Pop?

The second undercurrent was psycho-research run amok.

Lots of ‘realistic, confessional, focus group-driven commercials about customers and their feelings, rather than about products and their benefits.

I saw this especially in the banking category, where it had the unhappy consequence of making all the institutions sound the same, which, of course, they are.

Creative needs to escape these handcuffs with fresh ideas, not just mirror images of the mind of the target group.

Tom Nelson

Tom Nelson is chairman and creative director of Ammirati & Puris, a new arrival on the Toronto agency scene.

In his five years with Ammirati & Puris in New York, Nelson created award-winning advertising for ups, Stanley Tools, Philips’ Milk of Magnesia and bmw.

Previously, he spent eight years with Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago.

He was born in Detroit.

Favorite advertising:

1. Braddock Optical ‘How I see fear,’ ‘How I see obsession,’ ‘How I see page three’ (print) by Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners Advertising.

2. BC Tel ‘Payback’ (tv) by McKim Baker Lovick/BBDO.

3. Napoleon Eyewear ‘Change la face du monde’ by taxi for Cameo Optique.

General comments:

Although there were frequent glimpses of brilliance – smart strategies, good writing, strong art direction – there was an overall lack of consistency that was disappointing.

Only a few contenders managed to be consistently good and that, unfortunately, seems to be the state of the business everywhere on the planet.