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David Blacker’s Blog

Little People Win Big Gold for Phoenix Ogilvy

“Before we began judging I told the other Outdoor judges that the important thing we’re doing here today isn’t to decide the winners, it should also be to direct next year’s winners. Essentially we’re sending a message to the rest of the industry about the progression and the direction of advertising,” said Victor Ng, the former Chief Creative Officer at Euro RSCG South East Asia & Singapore, who was this year’s Jury President for Outdoor at the Adfest 2010 Lotus Awards last week in Tokyo. “When all is said and done, we can now say that this year’s Lotus winners are the few shining examples that will lead the industry into 2011.”

And on behalf of the Sri Lankan advertising industry, Phoenix Ogilvy did, nailing a Direct Gold Lotus, the country’s first ever gold at an international advertising festival. O&M’s entry, in the Field Marketing category of Direct, was the category’s only Gold, beating more fancied, Cannes-winning pieces such as JWT Mumbai’s Horlicks Pro-Height Room and Leo Burnett Arc Bankok’s Heineken Stadium of Dreams which also bagged a Silver at Adfest.

The “Little People” direct marketing idea for GlaxoSmithKline’s Iodex also brought Phoenix Ogilvy a Bronze Abbey at Goafest in April and, along with the Silver Abbey for the Goezy “Toilet Sculptures”, this Gold Lotus brings Phoenix’s tally to three international metals this year, making it Sri Lanka’s most awarded ad agency in 2010. And with Spikes Asia fast approaching, it remains to be seen how high the agency’s creative product will score this year.

Talking about the Direct entries, Jury President Ravi Deshpande, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Contract Advertising Mumbai, said, “The work definitely had a high standard to it, I think the entries were of good quality, and the few that made it right to the top were truly disruptive in their thinking, not to mention well-executed.” His jury awarded only two Gold Lotuses, the second to Leo Burnett Sydney for its Photo5 exhibit for Canon EOS.

“After one soul-crushing, heart-wrenching and what-will-happen-to-Sri Lankan-advertising year, winning a Gold at Adfest was sweet…” added Sujoy Roy, Senior Creative Director of Phoenix Ogilvy. A Gold is more than just a milestone for Sri Lankan advertising. It proves that we are at par with the world. And it also proves that the local talent is no less than the best brains in the global advertising fraternity. Sri Lanka always had it, that’s what Phoenix Ogilvy has always believed.”

Following the fiasco of the Chillies 2010, Sri Lanka’s advertising industry remains without a national creative award show, something that is crucial for the development of both its creative minds and its craft skills.

Iodex “Little People” credits:
Art Directors — Kirubeshwaran Ganeshan & David Blacker
Copywriters — Sujoy Roy & Ransley Burrows.


July 27, 2010 Posted by | advertising | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Court Orders Chillies to Lift Ban on Phoenix Ogilvy

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A District Court today ordered the Trustees of the Chillies — Sri Lanka’s only advertising creativity awards show — to allow Phoenix Ogilvy to submit entries for the 2010 awards, scheduled to be held later in May. Judge Mohammed Lafar Thahir passed down an enjoining order that would prevent the Chillies from scheduling any activities connected to the 2010 awards without first accepting entries from the Colombo ad agency.

This followed a hasty attempt by the Chillies Blueprint Committee to change the rules in March — a scant two months before the awards show — thereby making the event exclusive to members of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies (4A’s) and the International Advertising Association (IAA), which jointly organise and run the one-week annual event. This was a change from previous regulations which allowed any registered ad agency to nominate entries, and at first seemed merely a piece of pettiness that didn’t hold true to the Chillies stated vision of raising the bar of Sri Lankan creativity. Another year, another controversy. Perhaps an attempt to unionize the industry and exclude those that didn’t toe the party line.

However, on closer examination, a more sinister motive seemed to reveal itself. The fact is that 99% of Colombo ad agencies are members of either the 4A’s or the IAA, and in most cases, of both. The few exceptions are usually minnows or newcomers who haven’t paid much attention to either body. Except for one — Phoenix Ogilvy, one of Colombo’s heavyweights, and the local shop of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. In spite of the fact that the ad agency is a founder member of both the 4A’s and the Sri Lankan chapter of the IAA, Phoenix Ogilvy’s chairman, Irvin Weerackody, pulled out of both bodies in 1999, claiming “disagreements with other members over their private agendas”.

This enmity between Weerackody and the organisers of the Chillies has led to several conflicts over the past years, including the exclusion of Phoenix Ogilvy staff from many 4A’s- and IAA-conducted events. This cold war broke into open flames in 2010, with the Chillies appointing a Blueprint Committee consisting almost exclusively of senior members of rival ad agencies — Rohan Rajaratnam (CEO, Words), Laila Gunasekara-Martenstyn (COO, Grant McCann-Erickson), Chalaka Gajabahu (CEO, Lowe LDB), and Ranil de Silva (MD, Leo Burnett Solutions). The fifth member of the committe, Adrian Ferdinands, is a marketing consultant. Continue reading

May 6, 2010 Posted by | advertising | , , , , , | 19 Comments

Toilet Art

This is an exhibition we did on behalf of one of our clients, Mega Life Sciences, who are launching Goezy, a brand of laxative. We decided to avoid the usual conventional above-the-line campaign, something the client couldn’t really afford, and instead advertise the brand through an art exhibition. Several artists were asked to interpret the theme of ‘struggle’ using toilet paper as a medium. Half a dozen artists worked on the project over a period of several months, and this was the result. The exhibition was held two weekends ago at the Artway Gallery in Nugegoda. Here are a selection of the pieces:







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November 16, 2009 Posted by | advertising | , , , , | 15 Comments