"In a world where the role of advertising is being rethought in big ways (or should be), I believe we have shunned small gimmicks and tricks, and have instead tried to bring storytelling and depth to everything we do," said Jeff Goodby on the company's year in work. "We still believe the reason we're in advertising is to make grand, powerful gestures that change people's minds. If a cab topper or canine sandwich board can do this, we love it; but usually, to tell the truth, it can't." In other words, Goodby used what is still the most powerful medium to its fullest to connect its brands with people. There were those whose efforts to use new technology, new media (or new ways of looking at old media), to generally push in new directions should be acknowledged-Wieden and CP+B are two such agencies. But the choice this year, as any year, had to be overall impact, and we thought Goodby achieved that in 2003.
The same concerns spilled over into the Production Company of the Year contest too, as production players are similarly challenged with expanding the range and scope of what they are producing and how they do business. Many companies managed to do good work and in many cases make great ads out of OK ideas - a feat in itself. A few really challenged the industry in different ways-@radical and Smuggler come to mind. And again, in the end, MJZ just produced more of the best ads with more of its stellar directorial lineup. MJZ head David Zander has always insisted that the shop, built by large parts acquisition rather than organic growth has always been about the work, and it's hard to argue about that looking at this year's reel. Newer signee Fredrik Bond, who did his first work for MZJ at the end of last year with HP, became a huge player for the shop in '03 with another great HP outing centered on the U.S. Postal Service and the much discussed Miller "Dominoes" spot, among others. Another two to watch were added recently-Nicolai Fuglsig and Matthijs van Heijningen - who will surely be yet another threat on the company's reel next year. And aside from the buzz and the output of the acquired directors, one of the most brow-raising things about MJZ's reel this year was the work of none other than founding director Rocky Morton, demonstrating an uncanny level of versatility and freshness.
In all, the year's successes were not just about something as boring-sounding as sticking to knitting, they were about really nailing the art of the "powerful gesture."