We undertook this design refresh to provide a better showcase for creativity and a better platform for the examination of the issues facing the doing of creativity. It wasn't about getting smaller. It was about getting better— better looking, easier to read (and display!) and more in keeping with the subject at hand.
To take a turn for the earnest for a moment, it's our belief that creativity has never been more important to the business of marketing, and to business in general, than it is now. We wanted to ensure this magazine was fully the venue that creativity deserves. In short we wanted to provide a better brand experience. We've expanded the scope of our coverage over the years but this new format can be considered a formalization of that evolved mandate: bringing perspective on the best in brand creativity, whatever form that takes, and more insight and info from the perimeter—the areas that feed into and from the brand world.
And, like a punctuation mark, our Creativity Awards just happen to kick off the new era of Creativity. The winners shown and discussed here (see p. 70) demonstrate just how big, how beautiful and how functional brand ideas can be now, and how the ad industry is working, or at least thinking, in a broader way about brand problem solving. As you know, we launched the awards last year as an earnest endeavor in recognizing great ideas whatever they are and from wherever and whoever they spring. Judges chose the best from a pool of pre-edited items of every kind. Based on judges' scores, we determined the highest rated items and bestowed only 14 total Creativity Awards—which makes this a rather elite little citation.
From the whole process, a few things stood out:
A product won the Grand Prize! Our judges were all high-achieving advertising people, all from different kinds of agencies, all with different opinions and backgrounds and the majority of them chose the iPhone, a product, not an ad campaign, as the winner among winners. The iPhone was a staggering bit of creativity, but the choice also reflects an embracing of the power of design and a broadening in thinking about what constitutes a brand idea. And something that can only be described as a distribution scheme (Radiohead's pay what you will launch of In Rainbows) also won an award. See above.
Don't lament the death of the spot/web film just yet. The Halo3 campaign was the highest scoring ad campaign; the point margin between it and the iPhone was wafer thin. "Believe" is anchored by a stunning, superbly crafted anthem film, and a related series of story-extending spots. Far from being an empty exercise in visual gee-whizzery, the films support a great idea—and they worked. Other winning film/video-based efforts provided further examples of the kind of entertaining communications work that works—think Skittles "Touch," Burger King's "Whopper Freakout" (which, by all reports moved mountains of meat) and Cadbury "Gorilla" (love it or hate it—and boy did this one divide opinion like no other).
And finally, judging from the pool of ideas that creative people produced last year, the business is facing a whole new realm of possibility. So watch thou for the mutant and prepare ye for the leap forward.