Make no mistake: They are artists. They are filmmakers and writers and graphic designers and even body painters.
They are Our City’s Mad Men (and Women).
And, once again, the best ad people in San Diego were honored during the ADDY Creative Show Awards ceremony, held by the San Diego Ad Club on March 1.
You want out-of-the-box creativity? How about morphing people into motorcycle forms?
You want touching? How about a campaign to help our veterans?
You want funny? How about sending a local car dealership owner in search of the Loch Ness Monster?
They’re all there.
Yes, as we all know, the way in which we interact and access information is changing rapidly. You may be reading this story on an iPad or a mobile phone or a laptop or an antique thing called a home computer.
For advertisers, the challenges are many. How do you create campaigns that can move from medium to medium? How do you continue to reach the ever-fracturing mass media? How do you make your spot memorable when faced with competition such as Donna the Deer Lady, one of the most viral YouTube videos of 2012?
But it’s also a fascinating and exciting time, say advertisers. The need for creativity is paramount. Advertising is evolving. It’s about telling stories. It’s about grabbing people’s emotions.
“If you can bring a smile or a tear or cause them to laugh, there’s just as much value there to bring joy to someone’s life,” said Chris Karcher, creative director for Emota Inc.
In the following, we highlight the recent gold medal winners and offer links to their award-winning work.
(And be forewarned. You might just be enticed to buy a Land Rover.)
Best in Show, Integrated Campaign, Digital, Regional/National Trade Publication
I.d.e.a helps Progressive International Motorcycle Shows go viral
Ryan Berman and his team at i.d.e.a were tasked with creating buzz and excitement for the nation’s largest touring motorcycle show.
The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows draws enthusiasts, dealers, retailers and custom builders to its 13 shows across the U.S.
“When we looked at who was coming to the turnstiles at the show, it was motorcycle enthusiasts who were starting to work on their next bike in their head,” said Berman, the chief creative officer at i.d.e.a. “They were customizing their dream bike. It all started from understanding what a dream bike would look like.”
What came to mind for the i.d.e.a. team was a human motorcycle — that is using humans to create the shape of the dream bike. Berman pitched the idea to the client, Advanstar Communications, along with two more safe options.
“This was the raciest of the three options,” he said. “It takes courageous clients to do courageous work.”
The hard part was executing the concept.
Berman oversaw a three-day photo shoot in San Francisco with models who were contortionists, a body painter and makeup artists.
“On the first day we spent 18 hours on the set for basically one snap of a camera,” he said. “We had to stay patient and take many breaks. Some of the models couldn’t feel their toes, or their feet at times.”
I.d.e.a created three human motorcycles — a speed bike, dirt bike and cruiser.
The end result was a huge success. I.d.e.a. released a behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot before the show season started, and it went viral, capturing more than 900,000 views on YouTube.
An estimated 225 traditional media outlets picked up the campaign, including ABC, MSN, Yahoo, London’s The Sun, Adweek, Business Insider and even Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
“Advanstar was thrilled. They felt it was the creative that made the difference,” Berman said. “We were selling and creating news.”
The campaign won the ADDYs’ Best of Show and three gold awards — for Regional/National Trade Publication, Digital and Integrated Campaign. I.d.e.a also won three bronze ADDYs.
W Hotels Hollywood’s wow book
W Hotel Addy Winner
Greenhaus wows with style
The W Hotels Hollywood hired Greenhaus, which has a strong focus and expertise in real estate, to create a brochure that would wow potential condo buyers. W Hotel was selling high-end condo units connected to its hotel in Hollywood.
“This was designed to be a great pass-along and something brokers could use to tell the proper story to a client,” said Kim McNeil, the account supervisor on the project. “It will simmer on [prospective buyers’] coffee tables while they simmer on their purchase.”
The collateral piece is oversized at 10 inches by 13 inches, with 48 pages that feature broad, beautiful images. It then has 5-inch-by- 13-inch pages that include the bulk of the text.
Dave Roberts, the art director, and Craig Fuller, the creative director, oversaw a one-day marathon photo shoot at the W Hollywood Hotel. The entire shoot was planned ahead of time, with locations in the lobby, on the rooftop and showing off the condo amenities.
“This is a second home, in Hollywood, for many of the buyers,” McNeil said. “We wanted to walk them through the lifestyle — VIP access, concierge services and the posher amenities of the building that are separate from the hotel.”
The Greenhaus team also made a video of the photo shoot to maximize use of the models and photographers.
The W Hotel Hollywood’s condos are already half sold and the client is very pleased with the sales level.
In addition to the gold, Greenhaus won four silver and three bronze ADDYs.
Petco’s ‘Woof Wednesday’
Woof Wednesday Addy Winner
Emota tells emotional stories
Petco was looking to build content for its YouTube channel. Emota, led by Chief Creative Director Chris Karcher and CEO and co-founder Terry Parish, had already produced one video: a profile about a family who adopted a dog named Scooby.
“The Scooby piece set the stage for what we believed about people’s love and emotions for animals — specifically dogs,” Karcher said. “The premise in all of our work is how to engage the audience, keep them entertained and to be honest with them. We want to create meaning and emotions with people in new, authentic ways.”
Emota created a series of videos, all based on real stories, that tell entertaining and emotional stories and help show how Petco supports dog owners.
“The way we approach stories, we find ones that show great promise,” Karcher said. “The stories in some ways come easy, but in some ways are very difficult. Some things make you tear up and some make you laugh.”
The campaign includes a video about a dog whose owners passed away, a dog that helped a woman escape depression, and Scooby, who had a poop problem due to allergies.
“It is great to win an ADDY,” Karcher said about the 3-year old company’s first gold ADDY. “We are taken aback. But reading the comments on Facebook when people would see the videos ... people were emotional. That is the sentiment that we really care about.”
Emota bills itself as a video agency and works with other ad agencies as well as directly with clients.
“We want to be more daring and bold and even more authentic,” Karcher said. We want to take chances that move the needle. Not just to make something because it could go viral. But to create something that will move the audience.”
Emota also won three silver and two bronze ADDYs. Click here to watch the video.
Torrey Pines Golf Course strikes gold - twice
Torrey Pines Addy Winner
FortyOneTwenty hits a hole-in-one shooting the ads
For the video production company, FortyOneTwenty, this was the first year it entered the ADDY awards. And talk about a haul. It won three gold medals in the digital category, nine silvers and one bronze.
CEO and co-founder Matt Jensen said the firm entered as a way of introducing itself to the local advertising agency community.
“We were hoping to make as big of a splash as we could,” he said.
Well, it did.
Two of the gold medals were for its features on Torrey Pines Golf Course. Beautifully and hauntingly shot, the ads showcase the iconic course in quite a spectacular fashion. The campaign is called “Find Your Moment.”
Torrey Pines 2 Addy Winner
The firm got the idea as it brainstormed ways to land work to promote golf courses and golf-related themes. So it approached Torrey Pines and asked about doing a shoot.
“We figured it was the place to go,” Jensen said. “It’s right here in San Diego. We might as well start there.”
What’s surprising about FortyOneTwenty is the number of film-school-trained people it has onboard. That would be one. The others come from a host of other backgrounds. Jensen, for instance, studied electrical engineering, but he has a love for film.
Not long ago, it would have been much more difficult for him to follow his passion, he said. Film equipment was too expensive. But the technology is changing rapidly and high-quality cameras have become affordable.
“It’s just totally cracked the industry wide open,” he said.
And his firm’s people are taking advantage of that by letting their muses run wild. It’s an exciting time, Jensen said.
“We have the tools to express ourselves at a high production level.”
Given its ADDY success, that’s hard to argue against. Click here to watch the videos.
A different shopping experience
Invisible Children Addy Winner
Digital Operative helps Invisible Children sell more than just merchandise
Invisible Children — an advocacy group for Africans facing terror from a militant group — was the perfect partner for the firm Digital Operative. Digital Operative’s ethos is “people, planet, profit,” so it’s not exactly a bottom-line-first kind of concern. And the partnership was honored by the ADDYs, as it captured a gold medal for creating the Invisible Children’s online site where goods — such as TV shirts and jewelry — are offered for sale.
“Part of our core values is giving back,” said BJ Cook, CEO and co-founder of Digital Operative. “And we like to align with people with the same philosophies.”
The Invisible Children online store is not exactly typical. It doesn’t merely highlight products that are available. It also tells the story behind the people who are involved in the Invisible Children mission and those who make the products.
It can be very powerful. One of those highlighted is a woman named Vicky, who was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army — a militant movement that’s caused great hardship in northern Uganda and eastern and southern Africa. Vicky was forced into marriage and routinely abused. In an ambush, she was shot three times, but finally managed to escape. Today, she helps handcraft bags offered on the Invisible Children’s store.
According to Cook, the storytelling was central to the theme. Not only can people purchase goods online, they become educated about the plight of the people in these impacted African nations. And by buying items, it gives them a way in which to help. The money goes to help the people.
Consumers have more awareness today, he said. They’re more careful to buy brands they can support and embrace.
This type of effort won’t necessarily see success with every corporation or business, Cook noted.
“It only works with certain companies known for doing good, those who have shown corporate responsibility,” he said.
In addition to the gold medal, his firm won three bronze ADDYs.
Loch Ness Monster surfaces with gold
Hoehn Motors "Loch Ness"
MeadsDurket jumps the pond to promote Hoehn Motors
To announce that Carlsbad-based Hoehn Motors is selling British products such as Jaguar and Land Rover, the advertising firm of MeadsDurket put the owner, Bob Hoehn, in a Land Rover and had him scour Scotland looking for the Loch Ness Monster.
One problem: Have you heard Scottish people speak?
Yes, you need a translator even though they speak — allegedly — English. So getting around Scotland became quite the amusing adventure.
The ADDY gold medal winner for best television commercial, the TV spot is humorous, quite scenic (actually filmed in Scotland) and features, in some cases, real Scottish townspeople, not actors.
It even includes special effects, unless that was a real sea monster the camera crew happened to capture at the end of the commercial.
“Storytelling is challenging, especially when all you have is 30 seconds,” said Gary Meads, president and CEO of the firm.
But it’s pretty important. When people are watching TV, they are in the process of being entertained, he noted. The abrupt stop to a commercial can be off-putting. But if the commercial has its own appeal, you score.
“You want to create a likeable impression,” he said.
This one has an everyman appeal. Going abroad can bring challenges, not the least of which is trying to understand the language and customs, and then ending up in a field with oxen.
One of the more important goals of a commercial or an advertisement is to generate an emotion from the viewer, he said. That connection makes the spot more memorable. With the Hoehn commercial, the main idea was to show an American trying to adjust to a new land — something many of us have been through.
Mead has been in the ad business for 20-some years. His firm came up with the “cool as ever” theme for the Del Mar racetrack.
In addition to the gold medal, his firm won nine ADDYs.
One campaign to help our vets, another to promote Pebble Beach
Public Service, Consumer or Trade Publication
MeringCarson is no one-trick pony
The advertising firm of MeringCarson took home two gold ADDYs, so General Manager Paul Whitbeck was asked the inevitable question:
Did he have a favorite between the two?
“It’s like asking which of your kids is your favorite,” he said.
The firm won for public service and consumer or trade publication and that gives you an idea of the agency’s flexibility.
The public service award was for its work on “Got Your Six,” an effort to help returning veterans. “Got Your Six” means “I’ve got your back” in the military. The firm not only designed the logo for the campaign, it developed a commercial that features Hollywood stars such as Tom Hanks and Michael Douglas.
Whitbeck, a veteran himself, is proud of the campaign because it seeks to change the conversation regarding returning veterans. “Most don’t want to be seen as needing charity,” he said. They want to be perceived as independent, strong and capable. This campaign recognizes that, he said.
Yes, creating the public service spot — particularly for such a vital cause — was a high mark for the firm. But so was the award for its other endeavor, he said. That would be for the continuing campaign in promoting Pebble Beach Resorts.
“Pebble Beach. It’s one of the most well-known courses in the world,” he said.
To play there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he said. So the charge was to convey that message. The slogan was simply: “This is Pebble Beach.”
“It’s a bold statement,” he said. “And you have to have that kind of brand equity that Pebble Beach has to make that statement.”
This is an exciting time for advertising, Whitbeck noted. Storytelling is becoming more creative all the time. And there are multiple media platforms — from traditional TV to mobile devices — in which to express yourself.
MeringCarson seems to be doing a good job of it. It also won two silver and four bronze awards.