Oz Dean’s Adfest Diary – day one


Campaign Brief recently published this diary post by We Are Social creative director Oz Dean, about his experience judging the Interactive Lotus at ADFEST 2015. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below.

Adfest 2015_1


I am at Adfest in Pattaya, Thailand, representing Australia on the Interactive and Mobile jury presided over by Rei Inamoto (CCO & VP of AKQA). This is my first time at Adfest and I am honoured to have been asked to select this year’s best work in the region. On my jury are representatives from Tokyo (Nadya Kirillova from Dentsu and Tatsuro Miura from Hakuhodo), Singapore (Vinod Savio from Tribal DDB), Hong Kong (Sami Thessman from TBWA DAN) & Thailand (Atawoot Wesaranurak). An ex colleague of mine, Brett Mitchell of Pollen, also joined us as one of the Adfest collective ‘observers’.

As Pat mentioned yesterday, as Grand Jury President, Rei’s guiding principle for this year’s selection should be work “so undeniably good it can’t be ignored”.

That’s a phrase that rings true with regards the remote judging round which occurred a few weeks back. Some of the work during that round could easily be ignored or forgotten. Furthermore, having spent 3 years in Singapore, I can now spot scam entries a mile off. I quickly dismissed flaky and suspect campaigns that stood out as work entered purely to win awards. There was also work that employed technology without an insight or good brand fit/truth behind it.

As a jury we have two days ahead of us to get through the entries. Today we decided to tackle the interactive entries. We spent the morning finalising borderline work into finalists and then moved onto awarding metal in the afternoon. Thankfully I didn’t have to touch the PC (*shiver*) in front of me as we sifted through the work as a group.

We were, as history dictates, in a dark room in the convention centre (Peach) with just one window. The air con was way too enthusiastic for a room that small and we experienced conditions worse than a cinema in Singapore. Later in the day, the jury got creative and worked out the optimal (warmest) spots to sit. Tomorrow I will bring a jumper.

Onto the work. If I am brutally honest, the work wasn’t as high a quality as I had hoped for.  If any scam got through we didn’t pick it. Some larger network agencies in Asia were noticeably absent. There was a good amount of healthy debate about whether certain campaigns belonged in the category they had been entered in.

Having joined We Are Social last year, I was keen to see whether there were any truly social by design campaigns. There weren’t many but the ones entered were pretty solid. You’ll see those recognised on Friday at the awards ceremony.

The day went without any real lengthy discussions or disagreements until we came to the final Grand Prix decision. We mulled over this one for a good hour and a half, possibly lengthened because of the slip up of one unnamed jury member who forgot he should have abstained leading to some confusion and a recount/revote/tie that needed to be resolved before we could finish for the day. We landed upon the chosen one by asking ourselves what sets the bar high for next year and is the work pushing us forward?

Tomorrow we tackle mobile.

(Pictured: Tatsuro Miura, CD at Hakuhodo Tokyo; Vinod Savio, CD at Tribal DDB Singapore; Oz Dean, CD at We Are Social Australia; Rei Inamoto, Global CCO & VP of AKQA New York; Sami Thessman, Global ECD at TBWA DAN HK and Nadya Kirillova, CD at Dentsu Inc Tokyo)