Comment from Dennis Ryan, Chief Creative Officer, Element 79, Chicago, Member of the AICP Curatorial Committee

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Can you explain your role as a member of the Curatorial Committee?

The AICP's are judged regionally by sub-committees who review specific categories. These judges then send their selections to the Curatorial committee, where we are responsible for shaping them into a compelling, representative show. Regional judging is one of the idiosyncracies of this terrific show.

What did you think was the overall caliber of the work you saw entered in this show?

The AICP's attract a specific type of production-focused entrant, which helps maintain high standards of craftsmanship, if nothing else. The spots presented to the Curatorial Committee were uniformly well-produced and smart. As a whole, the work may not represent a giant leap forward for the industry standard, but the final show is certainly powerful production work we can all endorse and appreciate.

What distinguished the honorees in the show?

The Curatorial Committee doesn't judge the entries; we simply shape the regional judge's choices into what will be an engaging, representative show. Matt (Miller) was extremely clear about defining our responsibilities. The honorees distinguished themselves through excellent production and vivid, multi-dimensional realization of their ideas.

Did the work this year reflect any industry zeitgeist?

In our media-saturated, post-ironic age, the most breakthrough work featured an honesty, an often "warts and all" truthfulness. This requires great courage on the part of advertisers and equally adroit salesmanship on the part of their agencies, but the results truly stand out.

Do you think awards shows have evolved to reflect the evolution of the business and new kinds of work?

Not yet. There has been some effort made, but there will still be the inevitable quibbling over the recognition of 'branded content' vs. 'traditional advertising.' The industry is evolving, but it's kind of naive to expect awards shows to lead that change; that's a job for agencies and advertisers.

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