Delighted to be selected as a judge for the Echo Awards 2018, I joined 400 others from around the world in the first round of online judging. The second round was significantly tougher, a face-to-face showdown in New York with 100 of these judges.
It’s this stuff I love. I class it as professional development, testing my judgement against my peers; learning, influencing, working out when to speak… and when to shut up!
Like the DMA Awards in the UK, the Echo Awards use the triple-lock judging criteria of Strategy, Creativity and Results. Fail in one and you’re not likely to progress. This pretty unique methodology enables judges from a wide variety of disciplines to contribute to what became lively debates. It’s an invaluable experience. Trading your thoughts (and wits) against the best in the business. Not for the faint-hearted.
I arrived in New York with my favourite campaigns locked firmly in my brain. I fought for them. I conceded on them. I mulled it over and, sometimes, fought again. Thrilling.
I’ve shared a few below. Mercifully they’ve all made it to the shortlist. I’ve no idea what has won or trailed in with its tail between its legs.
Three things I loved (OK, it’s four. Maths isn’t my strong point)
Pride is getting itself organised quickly! Every movement has its iconography and Pride have nailed theirs. These campaigns have activated the brand brilliantly. One creating a font for the movement, the other that used complex social–political metrics to produce data visualisations that informed travellers on the safest destinations. Truly brilliant.
This is one of those projects that can provoke fierce debate. ‘How difficult is it to do something great at Christmas?’ is the charge. Actually, really difficult to do something worthwhile and as powerful as this (just ask all the other brands who’ve tried and failed). So, it’s easy to bodge up. USPS didn’t. The technical implementation was seamless, allowing children’s letters to Santa to be digitised, read and adopted online, mobilising an army of volunteers to make heartfelt pleas come to life.
FOLLOW THE ARCHES
One for the art directors. We’ve all wanted to do this kind of thing and it brings back the glorious days of college when the ‘rules’ don’t apply, and you can play with brand assets to create designs. Well these guys did it for real. And it’s genius. It demonstrates the true power of branding and identity. The potential for global application is mouth-watering. Two colours, a snippet of the ubiquitous arches and you’re already tasting the burger before you arrive. ‘Distinctive assets represent a considerable competitive advantage to brands’ Sharp says.
Nice one Cossette.
The final word goes the excellent organisation of the event
The highlight of it all was the camaraderie shared by all those who participated. Friendships were formed during the judging that may well last a career; at breakfast, lunch, dinner and the occasional beer. (Yes Ted… I will come to Tokyo!)
Like D&AD before it, I found the multi-national experience hugely rewarding, discovering new contexts for familiar (and less familiar) work.
Thanks everyone. It was hard work. And a blast.