During its first-ever live broadcast of jury deliberations, the Andy Awards revealed the four big winners of its newly revamped awards program: Nike's "Breaking 2" integrated campaign that documented runners attempting to break the two-hour marathon mark, which earned the "Bravery" award; a "Sound of Music"-inspired musical for Orkin, nabbing the Student honor; "Immunity Charm" for the Afghanistan MInistry of Public Health from McCann Worldgroup India, which earned the award for Social Good; and State Street Global Advisors' "Fearless Girl" from McCann New York, which claimed another top honor and earned the best of show Grandy award.
The production itself was a highly polished affair held at Deutsch's Steelhead production studios in L.A., with the jurors seated around massive tables, glowing lights making them appear as if they were a circle of overlords deciding the fate of the universe. Despite the gloss, the discussion, currently archived on the Andy's Facebook page, was an eye-opening look into what propels work to the top, lifting the veil on not just the deliberations, but the voting too.
The most gripping moment emerged in the first period, during the jury's discussion of work in contention for the Bravery award, designed to honor work that represents a big leap to push the industry forward. One of the contenders was P&G's "The Talk," from BBDO New York, which depicts African-American mothers speaking to their children about how to confront prejudice and bias, and stay safe.
R/GA L.A. Executive Creative Director Geoff Edwards, the only African-American juror, used the spot to open up a discussion on how marketers tackle diversity. "We're about to have a conversation," he said.
One of his fellow jurors happened to be Randall Smith, an associate director at P&G, so he turned to him and asked him about the spot's brief and origins. "One of the things that's crushing for us was the bias that frankly, I didn't realize existed, and [that] these conversations were happening," Smith said. "A lot of it was trying to get people to talk about that because if you don't have discussions, you're not going to make any progress."
"I think you got it wrong," Edwards said. "I applaud the courage it would take to take on a conversation like 'The Talk,' but 'The Talk' involves so many things I feel weren't achieved in this piece of work. … The part of the problem we have in this country is the fact that the African-American male has been removed from the family unit. This was a perpetuation of that."
Smith acknowledged the criticism. "Hearing the feedback, could [we] have done something better? Yes. But can [we] make the next one better? That's the approach we took."
He added that the ad was just one piece of P&G's efforts to improve its own inclusivity and diversity goals. "Before we put this out, we had a lot of discussions ... how are we doing with diversity and inclusion? Frankly there were some things we saw that we had to make some interventions. ... And we have to make sure the partners at our agencies have the right talent to bring the perspectives that you're bringing to me today. We've got a long way to go, but we felt like it was important to take the next step."
One of the most inspiring parts of the day was during judging of the student awards, when the jury called in the top contenders—students from Brigham Young University in Utah and Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany. The jury quizzed each on their thinking and craft; they also spent a considerable amount of time trying to recruit the students. Fallon's Jeff Kling, it turns out, happens to be fluent in German and used that to his advantage in trying to woo the German finalist.
More comic relief came came from Instagram Creative Shop Global Director Kay Hsu and Global Creative Lead at Facebook Tim Styles, who fielded questions from the general audience while making emoji faces and changing hairstyles multiple times. Deutsch North American Chief Creative Officer and Andys Chair Pete Favat even took a moment to shamelessly plug his Taco Bell client by opening a session eating Nacho Fries.
As for trends that emerged in this year's work, Leo Burnett CCO Judy John breathed a sigh of relief that "fun" had returned to the industry. Among the other contenders were spots like Nike's "Nothing Beats a Londoner," Burger King's Halloween stunt that gave free Whoppers to people who dressed up as scary clowns, Ikea's response to Balenciaga's blue bag and Tide's Super Bowl extravaganza. "Last year Cannes was so heavy and cause-related. ... I love that fun and lightness is back in advertising," John said.
There were also a number of finalists that showed how a local message could resonate globally, as was the case with KFC and Mother London's ad apologizing for the fast-feeder's chicken shortage screw up in the U.K. and Nike's "Nothing Beats a Londoner" ad.
See the full list of winners here and all the deliberations on the Andy Awards site.