Editor's Letter

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As industry events go, the recently staged Battle of the Ad Bands sure beat the hell out of a conference. The event, held at CBGB on Sept. 24, brought out music fans in droves and the inner rock beast in a number of very talented agency staffers (see story and pics, p. 44).

But aside from being a sorely needed creative outburst for its own sake, for those among us who just can't go a week without some new "best practices" learned in a group setting, BoAB had that, too. There was a marketing message there. In typical fashion, it was CP+B that managed to rock the house while simultaneously conducting a clinic on selling. The agency, through its deliciously named combo, Ironic Trucker Hat, demonstrated its firm grasp of not only musical performance but also its collective day job: image creation and manipulation. Manager Alex Bogusky spearheaded the transformation of five agency personnel into a weird rap-rock spectacle, as styling as it was substantive, verging on disturbing in parts. All in all, a fine balancing act of talent and packaging (and you've got to think that can't be very easy, when one considers how badly this is done daily by those whose day jobs this actually is - when everything surrounding the "music" industry seems as genuine as the Madonna/Britney liplock - lame, ostensibly rock 'n' roll prepackaged goo. But where were we . . .) Funny, the learnin' that gets done when agency people are engaged doing what they're supposed to do - being creative.

Which is a fine way to introduce the idea of the first annual Creativity Film Festival. The event, to be held next year in New York, is intended to celebrate that most essential form of creativity, one that underpins effective ad messaging and pretty much every other higher, non-bodily function related form of human interaction: storytelling.

The film festival will feature film and video shorts from talent in all corners of the industry. Commercials and music video directors, creatives, photographers, editors - anyone with a story to tell and a camera to tell it (and, usually, friends willing to donate time and gear to a labor of love), now have a new venue for their non-ad expression. Short films up to 20 minutes will be eligible, both animation and live action. We'll also be soliciting branded content, for lack of a better word, since even if a film is tied to an advertiser, it must first be a great film in itself (one might argue that even though the budgets might be better, it's harder to make a good film this way). The best entries will be screened for an appreciative audience, and a jury of industry film fiends will single out the best of the best for special recognition. The industry is still coming through a time when studious reflection and consideration of best practices are warranted. But it's also a time to emphasize and celebrate rampant, unfettered creativity. Look for film festival information to appear on the AdCritic.com site this month.

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