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David Blacker’s Blog

Chillies ’08 — Were the Judges Scamming?

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Personally, I felt a bit scammed by the judges forums at this year’s Chillies. Not just because the judges’ comments weren’t really indicative of Saturday’s results, but in some cases they were downright misleading. The reason the forums are thought to be useful (and therefore popular with the ticket-buying agencies) is because they give us a peek at the thinking behind the foreign judges’ thinking process when it comes to deciding who gets awarded and who doesn’t. In 2007, some of the entries that were heavily criticized at the forums (eg: the Hit Ads integrated entry) predictably bombed on the awards night. Therefore it was pretty easy to deduce just why the campaign failed in the judges’ collective opinion.

In contrast, this year, entries that were shredded at the forums, like the Alumex campaign by Triad, went on to win metal, while creators of work that won initial high praise (such as Leo Burnett’s ‘coffee cup’ and O&M’s ‘other side’) were left scratching their heads as to why their entries didn’t score higher, or in the latter case, weren’t even awarded. Obviously, not everything’s of equal standard, but it would have been cool to understand why a piece that received no criticism didn’t do better. In the case of the Coffee Cup, I thought it was a much better piece of communication than Triad’s Walls. The former in addition to being brilliant, also did its job in selling the Harry Potter brand; on the other hand, the Walls did a shit job in selling the paint brand (I don’t even know which brand it was), but appealed to the judges sense of karma by going beyond advertising into the realm of community service.

Ultimately, my grouse isn’t really with who won and who lost, ‘cos that’s always going to be a subjective result. My grouse is that the judges’ comments weren’t reflected on award night. John Merrifield basically came out and called the Alumex campaign a scam, as well as a bad ad, but on Saturday it won at least one Bronze, which makes me wonder whether the judges ignored any scammishness at decision time, or whether the forums only reflected John Merrifield’s outspoken opinion. If the latter, was he outvoted during the judging? After the two judges’ forums, I came out thinking I’d got some insight on what we’d done right and wrong, but after Saturday, it seems we didn’t really learn anything at the forums. Hopefully, if the Chillies do put out a book this year of the winners (and it is an if, since they didn’t last year), they’ll include some explanatory comments from the judges, that will clear things up.

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February 26, 2008 - Posted by | advertising | , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. This happened last year as well. There were two similar ads of people choking on polythene. One was thrashed the other was praised. Both won silver.

    I suspect that judges don’t like to contradict each other in public. So in the interests of promoting unanimity, some may bite their tongues.

    Comment by Shehan | February 26, 2008 | Reply

  2. I have a personal grouse against the Agency that won for the walls especially because they don’t seem to win of they don’t scam (BTW, the walls were for an NGO called EFL), but did the coffee cup really do better? Was it there to sell a book that sells itself anyways or just to enhance the image of Odel as the place to buy it?

    Personally I have to admit that I liked one of the wall executions, namely the one of the door and windows. John made a good point – no one likes garbage thrown in front of their pretty little houses. Don’t you think it did its job in that sense?

    Comment by themissingsandwich | February 26, 2008 | Reply

  3. The painted walls campaign wasn’t done to promote a paint brand, it was for an NGO that’s working on urban environmental issues.

    As for the Harry Potter coffee cup, I think (not sure) that one of the judges mentioned he had seen a similar execution elsewhere. So maybe he didn’t think it was a new or novel idea in the international sense.

    The Alumex campaign of course should have been bombed out of sight!!!

    Comment by thekillromeoproject | February 27, 2008 | Reply

  4. “but did the coffee cup really do better? Was it there to sell a book that sells itself anyways or just to enhance the image of Odel as the place to buy it?”

    Either way it’s good advertising. If not, why do Mercedes ads for Dimo?

    “John made a good point – no one likes garbage thrown in front of their pretty little houses. Don’t you think it did its job in that sense?”

    Well, according to Johann Raymond (who was on the Integrated Jury), there was still garbage being dumped at some of the locations. But that’s beside the point.

    Comment by David Blacker | February 27, 2008 | Reply

  5. “one of the judges mentioned he had seen a similar execution elsewhere”

    yes the “lee” fella was a judge at Asia Pacific Outdoor Advertising Awards… The harry Potter Cup was entered into this awards show by LB… And that’s how he was familiar with that piece of work…

    “but did the coffee cup really do better? Was it there to sell a book that sells itself anyways or just to enhance the image of Odel as the place to buy it?”

    well HP books were not only available at odel and odel has it’s “mini brand” called “odel books”
    imho… what that piece of work did for odel bookstore is by positioning them way above the other bookshops and not only sell the harry potter book…

    Comment by Ranil | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  6. [...] themselves because of insults against them published online. Hope none of the judges from Chillies follow suit. And if I had taken Rajpal’s insults seriously, I would have killed myself a long time [...]

    Pingback by And now blogs lead to suicide? « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) | March 5, 2008 | Reply


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