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 CREATIVE VIEWOINT    June 12, 2006 14:07 (Edited: June 12, 2006 04:07)
JWT Worldwide hosts a panel discussion with
Martin Sheen, Michael Patrick King, and Craig Davis; led by Arianna Huffington.

London – June 12, 2006 – JWT Worldwide, the largest advertising agency in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world, today announced that it will bring together actor and political activist Martin Sheen, Sex and the City executive producer Michael Patrick King, JWT Worldwide chief creative officer Craig Davis, and cofounder and editor Arianna Huffington at the Cannes International Advertising Festival for a panel discussion on upping advertising’s ante to compete with other forms of media that are creating big ideas that drive popular culture.

Themed “From the Makers of Pop Culture,” the panel, to be moderated by Huffington, will take place on Wednesday, June 21, at 11:00–11:45 a.m. at the Debussy Theater in Cannes, France.

“Because we live in a 24/7 media world, reality and fantasy have merged,” says JWT Worldwide chairman and CEO Bob Jeffrey. “It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between news and entertainment—or between entertainment and marketing. But the consumer can figure out the difference, and the most desirable consumer has a knack for choosing the good stuff as well as for blocking commercial messages. That raises the bar for advertising. And that makes it imperative that we learn from our betters in every medium so we can make programming that’s as powerful and entertaining as theirs.”

Sheen, who played President Josiah Bartlet on The West Wing, and King, who produced, directed, and wrote episodes for Sex and the City featuring main character Carrie Bradshaw, have both participated in “big idea” American television shows that created iconic role models with impressive reach and wide appeal.

The West Wing’s Bartlet is the perfect American president: learned but with the common touch; partisan but with a talent for creating coalitions; wise, effective, popular. Sex and the City’s Bradshaw speaks to real women because she’s successful but also openly fragile and human.

The fact that these role models are fictitious has made them no less appealing or important to audiences around the globe. And the impact of their shows has been far more significant than any advertising campaign. This raises several important questions:

What can the advertising industry learn from TV shows like these?
How did these shows manage to stay creative, fresh, and edgy?
How can advertisers be as compelling and achieve the same reach?

“I’m thrilled to be leading a conversation that seeks to understand how ideas evolve into forces in culture, and how advertising, in its quest to evolve with the fast-changing media landscape, can achieve the same effect on the same scale,” says Huffington, whose influential, heavily read blog,, landed her on Time magazine’s 100 People Who Shape Our World. “This discussion is about exploring new ways of resonating with consumers.”

About the Panelists
Martin Sheen, having already portrayed John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, seemed the perfect choice for President Josiah Bartlet on The West Wing, which ran for seven seasons on NBC. For that role, he received five Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Drama, as well as two SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series. He’s a veteran political activist who has steadfastly refused all pleas that he run for office.

Michael Patrick King served as executive producer of Sex and the City. For his work as a writer on the series, he was nominated for three Emmys and two Writers Guild Awards. As a director, he was twice nominated for an Emmy and won once. For the show’s last five years, he wrote the season’s premiere and final episodes. He’s currently developing new TV projects.

Craig Davis is JWT Worldwide’s chief creative officer. Since joining JWT two years ago, he has led the agency’s creative transformation, introducing a new network point of view and new creative standards, and upgrading talent. He was instrumental in winning the global HSBC account and helped secure the launch of Vodafone’s 3G network. Before joining JWT, Craig was regional executive creative director for Saatchi & Saatchi in Asia/Africa, where he drove the agency to become the No. 1 creative network in the region. He was named Asia’s first Advertising Person of the Year by Campaign Brief Asia and one of the world’s Top 100 advertising people by Advertising Age. Craig has judged at Clio, One Show, D&AD, and many other award shows, and is on this year’s Cannes Titanium jury.

About the Moderator
Arianna Huffington is cofounder and editor of the innovative group blog She’s also a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media, the author of 10 books, and cohost of the political-roundtable show Left, Right & Center on public radio. Her most recent book is 2004’s Fanatics and Fools: The Game Plan for Winning Back America.

A survey of international CDs reveals .....

 CREATIVE VIEWOINT    December 15, 2005 05:16 (Edited: December 14, 2005 18:16)
We contacted over 150 creative directors worldwide & asked them these questions about awards:

When you’re hiring creatives ...

Do you look to see what awards they’ve won?
Which awards do you pay attention to?
Which awards do you pay NO attention to?
Any other comments about awards?

Over half of them responded (thanks everyone) & we've gleaned some very interesting information:
Do you look to see what awards they’ve won?
Mostly YES. CDs do look at awards, but with loads of provisos. e.g.
" ... but I'm more concerned over whether they should have won rather than that they did..."
"... BUT, the work is more important than anything. So if they won for something I don't like, the award means nothing to me."
"... depends on the position I'm trying to fill. awards become more important as the expected pay level increases. though in general, the reel and folio is all i'm interested in ... "
"... but book and personality are more important than

Which awards do you pay attention to?
This was a very unified response. Around 90% of CDs said D&AD, Cannes & One Show. And the very relevant comment "but practically nobody looking for work has won at these". Beyond that a smattering of Clios and a few local awards for smaller (non-international) agencies.

Which awards do you pay NO attention to?
Again a quite unified response: New York Festival & London International were singled out, with a few other strong themes coming through: "the rest" and ... "and all the other crap new ones that seem to crop up every year". I'm sure this CD meant to add "excluding the bestadsonTV awards of course".

Any other comments about awards?

A few samples from around the world.

Porky Hefer, Lowe Bull South Africa:
too much emphasis has been placed on them and is resulting in a lot of derivative work which has no effect in the local markets, also seems if you put in a fancy director you win a fancy piece of metal, hence the dominance of the us and uk in big international tv award ceremonies, giving the smaller nations fuck all chance. Stupid. I hate awards but it is something we are forced into.

David Alberts. Grey London:
No I don't look at awards at all.
I look at their book..
I am looking for ideas that I find interesting, that fit in with our thinking rather than a list of credits.
Awards are brilliant, they are wonderful benchmarks, learning tools and inspiration but by their very nature are executions voted for by a committee.
We are paid by clients to create long term ideas and that is sometimes harder to judge in an Award show.
In the same way I would happily hire people based on ideas that were never made rather than an average idea that's been finished.

Murray White, Springer & Jacoby, Amsterdam:
... these awards (though most, really) are becoming increasingly more expensive to enter and consequently becoming the territory of larger network creatives with large awards entry budgets. for this reason, some smaller agency creatives are simply not able to make their work eligible for the same amount of awards. i keep this in consideration always.
awards can be great - a crutch keeping us insecure creative types away from the psychiatrist's couch. the important thing is that creatives not critique their own work based on what awards judges think. clients have wants and needs and at the end of the day we provide a service to them. great creative is ultimately what we all strive for, but it must achieve results. young creatives can often lose perspective on this with the prospect of awards looming large in the foreground.

Toby Talbot, Saatchi & Saatchi NZ:
Awards are a great distraction from the hum-drum nature of what we do: ads, ads and more ads. But lets not lose our sense of perspective here. No one gives a fuck about advertising awards apart from advertising people. Too many young people coming into the industry are being encouraged to become shallow awards junkies (or Cannes-oraks as I call them). The next generation need to be taught to truly think outside the square, not inside a well-thumbed D&AD annual.

Julian Vizard, St Luke's, London:
No I don't take any notice of peoples Awards when hiring people.
A great book is important of course but the person has to be great also. If they have a stack of awards but they're an A hole we'd rather they work elsewhere.
St.Lukes had a policy of ignoring awards for many years and has only recently started entering them. The reason being our creatives felt they needed them for their careers, and they are useful for visa applications if you want to work overseas etc.
I respect D & AD as it's a charity that does a lot for students, which I believe is also the case with AWARD.

Terrence Tan, DDB Singapore:
Winning new business & pitches is of utmost importance for any creative director. Winning creative awards is a GIVEN.

Paul Catmur, DDB NZ:
There is far too much stress placed on awards. We should concentrate on doing the best ads we can for our clients not at how we can fool an awards jury. An agency should be judged by its clients, its people and its reel, not its position on a chart.

Jay Furby, Arnold Australia:

Back to basics.

 CREATIVE VIEWOINT   USA    November 16, 2005 01:04 (Edited: November 15, 2005 14:04)
Back to basics
By Dominic Goldman, VP Creative Director at Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco

Back in the days

I can remember back in the 90’s, how impressed people were with anything that moved on their computer screens. If it looked cool and did something slick with any new kind of effect, jaws started dropping.

Visiting New York back then for the Flash Film Festival, I was completely taken aback by the leaders in the Interactive field. I’ll never forget seeing Joshua Davis Yugo Nakamura work made an entire audience of two thousand people react in the same way “waaaaaaaaa”. I could not have been more inspired.

What happened to the idea?

I soon became unimpressed and disillusioned. Something more was needed. Behind all the flashy special effects, where was the idea? This became key to all of my future work. Interacting with consumers in an intelligent way by making the communication interesting, entertaining and noticeable without being gimmicky.

Consumers are bombarded with advertising from all channels on and offline and have learnt to switch off to it. So how do we get under their radar?

I’ve heard many people say, “I hate those annoying banner ads when I’m surfing the web”. I agree. But just like watching TV, listening to the radio or reading a magazine, most advertising is irritating. Yet on that rare occasion I’m oblivious to the fact I’m being sold something, I’m delighted. This is the challenge on-line too.

Unlike traditional channels, on-line provides a canvas to allow people to respond and interact with an idea.

People are surfing the web with a purpose and if you’re going to interrupt them with an ad, it had better be good, It needs to be relevant to people, and can offer something consumers want or solve a problem they have. If it fails to do this, then it doesn’t matter how well executed it is, if it’s not important to anyone then it’s useless.

Highlighting the best

Fortunately today, Interactive Awards, particularly the OneShow are filled with great examples of work founded on big ideas. Polished execution is now a given. Every element has its purpose and relates back to the core idea. If it’s unnecessary, take it out.

Big ideas don’t need slick effects. The simplest things now excite me. Take for example, a banner for Lipton Ice Tea light, from JWT Brazil:

These next two banners are by TBWA, also from Brazil. The first cleverly demonstrates the benefits of using Fedex:

While the second is a nice and simple way to show what treat your dog wants:

This piece from Japan is a very unusual approach to educating people about the dangers of children not wearing a safety belt when traveling in a car.

The Pitch -

A banner from Ogilvy London makes use of the fact that dynamic data lies at the heart of IBM's e-business solution. A live data feed from Wimbledon delivered up-to-the-minute match results, statistics and news.

Yet another from Brazil features demonstrates the benefit of using Tam Express:

The following selection of banners, are some of the work I’ve done:

The Economist

This banner is a little more unusual and in keeping with The Economist brand. If people blow hard on their computer screen “The Competition” gets blown away. This won’t function on all machines. It’s targeted at traveling executives and for this reason the code has been optimized to work best with inbuilt microphones. The Economist realized that this would be a small target audience, but they did benefit from some good PR.


To demonstrate the effect life would have on a pair of jeans, users can throw elements of life straight on to a pair of Levi’s.


To showcase the four finishes of the re-cut 501® jeans we put them in the wash. Viewers select buttons on the machine to check out the entire range.

Gaelic Inns

To promote an Irish pub, we used a pre-loading sequence as a familiar online device, and linked it to a pint of the black stuff.

Harley Davidson Owners Group

Harley owners love any excuse for a ride. As members of Harley Owners Group

(HOG) Singapore chapter, they receive regular invites to rides and other Harley related events.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Unwanted pets are abandoned all the time in Singapore, and those that are not adopted are usually destroyed. This should be an issue that arouses strong feelings amongst the public. Unfortunately it doesn’t, probably because most people have the attitude of: “Yes it’s a shame this is going on, but surely someone else will take care of it.”

That was the starting point for our concept; we wanted to play up the fact that people would much rather shut out the problem than give it serious thought. However we soon realized that creating a standard banner that simply asked people not to ignore the problem would be a non-starter.

So we thought it might be better to develop banners that weren’t so easy to shut off. We realized that this would entail a delicate balance of being intrusive but not annoying.

A second banner for the same cause addresses the other major issue of dumping animals. People can navigate through various solutions and even download a PDF to make it easy to donate their money.

Presenting the idea

Where possible I prefer to present ideas as pencil drawn sketches. This is to avoid the client getting caught up with irrelevant issues such as the size of their logo or a particular font. All they see is the idea. This also gives more time to spend on the concept.

These days, I believe an interactive creative person is far more valuable if they’re strong conceptually rather than simply making things look good.

After all, we’re in the communication business, just like our colleagues in traditional advertising.

About the author:

Dominic Goldman is the VP Creative Director at Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco

He has achieved recognition in numerous International award shows such as The Clios, One Show, New York Festivals, Cannes and Communication Arts and has served as a judge for many international award shows including OneShow and the Clios.

Virals ... well worth catching

 CREATIVE VIEWOINT   AUSTRALIA    October 13, 2005 23:17 (Edited: October 14, 2005 03:17)

Are viral agencies underrated?

Sydney viral agency, LAVA communications, has completed a couple of good spots for Xbox that have had worldwide exposure, yet we've heard a few of the bigger agencies describe viral agencies as .... 'the viruses of ad agencies'.

From inside the world of virals Steven Hirst, CD LAVA Communications, comments ... :

"Some truth in that. Your mind has to work in some sick ways to succeed virally. Ultimately, however, we are creating what consumers actually want to see via branded entertainment, so are doing the best by the client and consumer. Communication mediums have evolved and so to must the message to achieve cut-through. The art of viral has become a proven science and one of the most cost effective marketing mediums ever. Virals are healthy and well worth catching!"
Agency: LAVA communications
Production Company: LAVA communications
Creatives: Darren Arbib, Steven Hirst
Directors: Darren Arbib, Steven Hirst

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