The work says it all

This year's Agency of the Year competition, as always, attracted some truly outstanding submissions from the participating agencies. And, as always, the work that provoked the strongest reaction from our broad cross-section of industry judges earned its top-of-mind status by going...

This year’s Agency of the Year competition, as always, attracted some truly outstanding submissions from the participating agencies. And, as always, the work that provoked the strongest reaction from our broad cross-section of industry judges earned its top-of-mind status by going for the heart.

Agency of the Year incumbent and two-time gold winner Palmer Jarvis DDB discovered that clean means different things to different people. There’s ‘guy’ clean (definition: wipes the floor with a dishcloth and then hangs it up), there’s ‘woman’ clean (has a fit over the guy’s dishcloth infraction) and then there’s ‘mom’ clean. This observation made a spot for Pine Sol – showing a little boy inadvertently missing the toilet bowl – rise above the usual shiny and staid treatments resorted to in this category.

The Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup spot by finalist Ammirati Puris also appeals because it manages to link a universal quirk of human nature to the product. The ‘Kids never get bored with what they like’ premise rings true for any parent who’s been subjected to Pokémon/Digimon/Chimpokomon mania. No doubt, it will make moms and dads yearn for simpler times (read: soup) and feel all warm and fuzzy and noodle-happy.

The personal connection forged in the soup and cleanser spots are, in their own subtle way, as brilliant as Palmer Jarvis DDB’s quirky Bud Light campaign, which also hooks viewers with a truism. It takes the most annoying part of being an adult – no time to play – and turns that premise into hilarious little time-stealing nuggets that make you want more – of the spots. Oh yeah, and it makes the beer cool, too…

Both PJDDB and TAXI’s approach to PSAs – which allow people to imagine the dire consequences of their irresponsible behaviour – is probably more effective for St. John Ambulance and Molson than actually showing blood and guts. Again, someone went beyond the expected, and said, ‘Hold on, what can people really deal with?’

Silver medallist TAXI’s Covenant House campaign is another example of advertising that has the power to change lives simply because someone kept plugging away at the ‘so-many-charities, so-little-time-and-money’ syndrome, until they nailed the killer line and image combo that you cannot ignore: ‘How young do they have to be before we give a damn?’ – over the pic of a street-toddler.

That one stopped us in our tracks. Every year, Strategy’s parent company, Brunico Communications, holds a silent auction of all of the loot that comes our way for review, etc. and donates the money to Sick Kid’s Hospital and UNICEF. This year, our sister publication KidScreen magazine had amassed so much stuff that we decided to pull together all the teen items – mainly books and software – and donate it to Covenant House. Fortunately for them, they had already received a whack of books, and in the course of finding another street kid mission, we also found a home for boxes of kids’ videos and software (there’s a program that teaches computer skills to inner city kids and sends them home with a rebuilt computer. Sweet.)

Charitable imperative dispensed, congratulations to the Strategy Agency of the Year winners, and thanks to all the judges for your valuable time and deliberations.

Cheers, Mary Maddever

mmaddever@brunico.com