Well, this is it. My ANDY's diary. Buenos Aires, Argentina. A very nice place. Well worth a visit if you get a chance, especially if you live in Boulder now, where they're having record amounts of cold and snowfall. But maybe that's just me.
Judges seem to be psyched with the location. Last year was Florence. Most are doubtful that Florence can be topped but the ANDY people never fail to come up with something completely outrageous.
The cast of judges is as prestigious as ever. Favat, Molla, Tutssel, Montague. I'm not even using first names. And yet, you are getting the picture. It's an intimidating crew. Scarpelli, Greenberg, Waites. Oh my goodness. They will judge your work. My work. Oh shit.
'Meet at 8:00am' is what the note says under the door. Judging apparently starts early. I am reminded that Tutssel has been quick to tell us that this will be work. Each time he says it, we laugh. Over drinks he told us. We laughed. At breakfast he tells us. We laugh less. Out our window we see Buenos Aires. It's the last we will see of it until 6:30pm.
The judging starts at 9. We've been divided into groups. For nine hours, I will become close mates with Tutssel, Nobay and a crushing amount of advertising from all over the world. Our crack team has been put on alcohol, soft drinks, candy, and fast food.
Right off the bat we are hit with one of the toughest tasks in award show judging. We come face to face with the Bud Light 'Real Men of Genius' radio ad campaign. We wait for one of the ads to sing 'Mr. Bud Light Radio Advertising Writer Guy.' It has to happen. They must be almost out of occupations by now. And the fact is that the campaign is genius. The drums that begin each spot begin to pound in my head. There are campaigns, two campaigns, singles. There are 9 or 10 spots in total entered numerous ways. All deserving. How can a spot entitled 'Boneless Buffalo Wing Inventor Guy' not be good?
As it turns out, we are the fastest judging group that has ever been recorded at an advertising award show ever in the history of ever. We blow through thousands of TV spots and integrated campaigns in the time that other 'lesser' groups do hundreds. Later we are enlisted to take up some of the slack for other teams. Favat, Molla and Barclay are having trouble keeping up. They claim technical difficulties. But apparently PSA and Automotive slows a team down. So we take over specialized categories like special effects, direction and music: original score as well as re-use of existing music. We crush it.
A massive amount of creative. It's hard to imagine that there is other work to be judged but there are at least two other groups scouring work at the same time on our first day. As an industry we create a lot of stuff. BK alone seems to enter over a hundred spots. Thankfully, I get to spend that time in the bathroom. It's what I call my 'abstain time.' It is sweet sweet time.
An observation from the judging:
There is a lot of great work out there. It's interesting how categories tend to take on a voice all their own. Candy, for example, has been hard hit by the Napolean Dynamitification of work that seems to have taken hold over the past year. I suppose it's the target that demands it but I start to wonder how the work stands out from each other when it's so individually odd but as a group so similar.
This is not the only category that's like this. Almost all are. They all have a style, rules, conventions that are hard to break out of. I'm sure almost everyone that touches the work from agency to client to director brings the baggage of the category and has difficulty believing that something different than what's expected would be better. But judging gives me the opportunity to see a category as a whole. I hope to learn from this.
Almost half way through, I experience ad vertigo. 'Is that good? Is that bad? Is that so bad it's supposed to be good? Is it funny because it's in another language? Or is it just in another language?' It's the sort of problem that afflicts novices like myself. I take counsel from Tutssel and Nobay and power through. I'm sure it will happen again.
Speaking of David Nobay, I just want to say, he is an incredible man. Devastatingly debonair. Next to Nobay, Molla is probably most handsome. I plan to tango with him later. Ahhh, when in Buenos Aries...
Apparently we were supposed to go to a castle and judge print but that's been cancelled, due to the slowness of other judging teams. Oh well. We shall go tomorrow.