PJDDB, Rethink run neck-and-neck at Lotus Awards

Vancouver - Frank Palmer could hardly be blamed for looking over his shoulder these days....

Vancouver – Frank Palmer could hardly be blamed for looking over his shoulder these days.

Sure, his agency, Palmer Jarvis DDB, once again triumphed at the Lotus Awards, the annual presentation honouring the best of B.C. advertising. PJDDB lugged home 11 trophies from the Nov. 23 ceremony at Vancouver’s historic Commodore Ballroom – more than any other competitor.

But the agency, already reeling from its failure to land the McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada national account just a few days earlier, got a sharp dose of reality at this year’s show – delivered with all the subtlety of a billboard the size of Grouse Mountain.

Upstart agency Rethink – the creative shop founded last year by PJDDB defectors Chris Staples, Ian Grais and Tom Shepansky – kept pace for most of the evening, racking up a grand total of nine Lotuses.

Perennial contender Bryant, Fulton & Shee also had a successful night, scooping up eight trophies.

Rethink’s haul included several awards – including Best of Show – for work on behalf of Vancouver’s Playland amusement park. The agency also earned Best TV Campaign, Best Radio Campaign and Best Radio Single for ads done on behalf of Earls Restaurants.

Staples, not surprisingly, was quick to suggest that PJDDB’s reign as the leading West Coast creative agency may be coming to an end. ‘I’d say it definitely represents a changing of the guard,’ he remarked after the show.

Not that his former employer went home in disgrace. PJDDB’s armload of awards included Best Magazine Single (for Caboodles lip gloss), Best Transit Campaign (for TV12) and Best Public Service Print Campaign (for St. John Ambulance). The agency’s digital division, Tribal DDB Canada, also received awards for online efforts on behalf of Telus and Sun-Rype.

Bryant, Fulton & Shee, meanwhile, took home Lotuses for work on behalf of Tripeze.com, The Spy Store and the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia.

If there was a highlight to the show, it was the ‘Belt of Brevity’ – the 12-foot conveyer belt on which all award recipients were forced to stand. By this ingenious means, organizers effectively limited acceptance speeches to the 13 seconds it took to ride from one end of the stage to the other.

Otherwise, the evening offered little drama at the podium. It was a different story, however, in the audience, where all eyes turned to the PJDDB delegation every time Rethink’s name was announced.