To be fair, there was a celebrity host this year, comedian Tom Papa, who actually had a confession to make as he took the stage. Papa told the crowd of creatives, "You are actually what I wanted to be before I became a comedian." That's right: Papa was in advertising but didn't get any further than working for an agency in New Jersey. "Our biggest client was a nursing home," he said, which prompted a good-natured round of heckling.
And what work prompted the biggest rounds of applause? The first burst of unbridled enthusiasm of the evening came for the "Construction" spot from Leo Burnett, Chicago, for Kellogg's All-Bran. If nothing else, it proves that the world will always love a good poop joke. The scatological humor was worth a Silver Pencil. Ad folks also love jokes referencing slovenly males and lesbians, judging by the reaction to Bronze-winning "L Word" spots from DraftFCB, Auckland, New Zealand. The wildest applause for the night went to the relatively clean and tame spot for Skittles from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, which depicted a poor soul gifted with the power to turn everything he touches into Skittles. That spot took home a Silver Pencil as well.
But commercials weren't the only things getting big laughs. One Club Chairman David Baldwin got a chuckle and then some when talking about the drudgery of judging the awards. "It's not all strippers and cocaine like you think," he said. "Well, it's not strippers. They're long days, my friends."
Applause, of course, is fleeting. And the true bragging rights of the night went to the Best of Show winner and Client of the Year. The "Halo 3" campaign created by McCann WorldGroup, San Francisco, and TAG took home Best in Show. Burger King was named Client of the Year for its "Whopper Freakout" and "Simpsons Integrated" campaigns.
On a personal note, I had the pleasure of sitting next to my own Waldorf and Statler, who provided wry -- if slightly out of touch -- commentary throughout the evening. As two winners went up onstage to grab their Pencils, one of the gentlemen groused, "Look at them -- they're wearing sweatshirts!" To which the other replied, "Well, they are creatives, after all."