Loeries Creative Week Durban

How an operations officer got invited to judge creativity at the Loeries

This year, Clyde Mallon (former chief digital officer at McCann Johannesburg, now chief operating officer at McCann Johannesburg) - a guy with vast experience in the technological and digital realm of advertising - has been invited to be a judge at the Loeries.

As every creative in South Africa knows, the Loeries are one of the most recognised awards for creative excellence in the advertising community, if not the most recognised. They are Africa and the Middle East’s most prestigious acknowledgement of true innovative creativity and fresh execution. In short, if you’re in the ad game, winning a Loerie is a big deal – a very big deal. Representatives from the region get together once a year for what is called Loeries Creative Week – during which time the truly outstanding work is chosen from the best the industry has to offer, by the guys who know the difference.

So how did a self-confessed A-Type personality who’s well versed in the tech side of digital land up judging innovative creativity? It’s simple really. We don’t separate the two, and Clyde is a perfect example of this.

It’s no secret that we have assessed the climate of the day and decided to put digital at the heart of our agency. To put our money where our mouth is, we recently made our chief digital officer, Clyde Mallon, our chief operating officer.

Here’s how it happened: Clyde has over 14 years of experience in the technology, digital, mobile and advertising world, and during this time he has helped to launch numerous award-winning campaigns. He is one of only 14 members to sit on McCann Worldgroup’s Global Digital Leadership Committee, which represents the 100+ countries in which McCann operates. During his five years at McCann Johannesburg, he has steered the agency’s digital capabilities from success to success, launching some of the most progressive digital and social initiatives in the country. Such initiatives include the agency’s LIVE digital newsroom and McCann’s global digital learning programme – "pxl for Clients". Having taken on the new role, he is now responsible for ongoing development of McCann’s integrated agency offering. Suffice it to say, we’re in good hands.

In light of his being asked to judge Digital Crafts at the Loeries, we had a Q&A with Clyde on all things advertising.

Where do you think advertising is going locally?

“South African advertising has a unique landscape, and despite the fact that we’re growing enormously quickly from a technological and digital point of view, we’ve still got a little way to catch up in terms of the global stage, but we’re getting there fast. We have this unique landscape locally where we can try new things, do new things and pioneer much in the South African spirit of quick turnaround, challenging the norms, and innovative entrepreneurship.”

And globally?

“Advertising in South Africa is exploding – it’s moving from here into the African continent; we’re getting better and better at what we do, and certainly a lot of the work that’s going out is absolutely world-class. In terms of advertising globally, a lot of the tech companies are getting much closer to the digital front, so we’re seeing a lot more innovative tech in digital. We’re also seeing a resurgence of old school-type advertising making its way into various platforms, clever messaging, simple visuals, stuff that inspires people.”

What technology are you excited to see at this year’s Loeries?

“All types of tech are infiltrating digital, and I’m sure there’ll be a good representation of start-ups and interesting new ideas, or even just new ways of treating the same tech but in a different and uniquely interesting way.”

What new trends do you expect to see at this year’s Loeries?

“I expect to see a lot of tech-heavy-based stuff; a lot of clever small-scale stuff that stands out from the norm that you see every day. I’m expecting to see a great leap forward in terms of the digital contribution to the awards.”

Finally, what in your opinion sets certain campaigns above the rest? What sets them apart?

“It’s the thinking. Just like anything else, digital is a platform – it’s not advertising in itself. So it’s all about ideas first and idea-led thinking. The things that will stand out, the things that will be awarded, in my view, will be the things that have very clever, simple ideas at their core that have been used in the medium in an innovative way.”

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