At least that appeared to be the consensus among the some 400 industry members who showed up for an unjudged showing of recent work of 20 agencies held under the auspices of the International Advertising Association.
The event replaced the long-running traditional San Francisco show, a highly regarded and conventional award show with submissions selected for prizes by an independent panel of judges from outside the city.
Traditional show abandoned
The difficulties of staging an advertising show long have vexed ad communities nationwide. In San Francisco, after Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners took home the top honor, a San Francisco cable car bell, for a 13th consecutive year and the local ad club closed after 98 years, the traditional judged show was abandoned.
San Francisco ad
Agencies paid a sliding scale fee to exhibit up to seven pieces of work from print ads and TV to radio commericals and Internet creative. In addition to Goodby Silverstein and FCB, other agencies showing work included Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney; Interpublic's Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos; and Butler, Shine & Stern, Sausalito.
Proceeds from the evening went to the Bay Area Advertising Relief Committee, a group that helps industry workers in times of need.
The show was held at FCB's offices, a square building with an outdoor deck in the shadow of the TransAmerica pyramid. Locals dub the edifice the "Fredifice" in honor of Fred Goldberg, the retired chairman of Goldberg Moser O'Neill who built it to house his agency, now Hill Holliday, which subsequently moved to a nearby location.
FCB's Mr. Beavis said he expects to do the show again next year with the same noncompetitive format because it allows not just the award-winning work to be shown but the "great body of work which was on the cusp" of winning.
"Do we need another award show? No," he said.
Most attendees, Mr. Beavis said, liked the laid-back mood of the show as well.
Face-time to network
"I'm so glad the San Francisco show didn't go away," said David Swope, a freelancer who used the evening to see old friends and network. Analisa Payne, a freelancer currently working at Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide, praised the show as a "relaxed way to get the community together" and provided an opportunity "to do the face-time thing."
Some attendees, however, such as Allen Ng, an account director at WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, said he enjoyed the lack of speeches and unpretentious gathering, but nevertheless missed "the drama of friendly competition" a cutthroat award show would have offered.