This year Cape Town agency Ogilvy CT did the pro-bono campaign work around the 2010 Loeries call for entry. Executive creative director for the campaign, Chris Gotz, tells how he's always wondered how the organisers choose who does the annual campaign. During a phone call to Human he put the question, to which Human replied, "It usually starts with conversations like this!"
The work is only starting to roll out and the campaign is set to go into higher gear once the actual world cup is over, says Gotz, and things are a little less rigid and legislated. In the meantime, a series of tongue-in-cheek posters and a direct mailer playfully references the industry's sometimes over-involvement with itself and its affairs. “The Road to 2010 Begins!” reads one, “With Juniors Having to Mount Everything” (not just the art director, one supposes). “2010: The Largest Spectacle Ever”, reads another, “In Woodstock.”
Fine-tuning 2010 event
Human is happy with the move the Loeries undertook last year to Cape Town from Margate. According to him, attendance grew by 20% on the year before. He believes the move to the Mother City attracts more marketers and brand managers, which is in line with the aim of the Loeries, namely, promoting the value of creative thinking in business branding and establishing creativity as an invaluable tool to the marketing community.
He is intent on “tightening the screws” for this year's event. The ceremony will move back to Saturday and Sunday evenings (the festival weekend happens 1-3 October), after being moved to a Friday and Saturday night last year because of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
Ceremonies will also start an hour later, at 8pm, and end at 10pm, on account of local culture. Human points out that Capetonians tend to go to bed later than was the case with the citizens of Margate.
Activities will be concentrated at specific venues this year. Friday will be dedicated to registration in Long Street (at the Grand Daddy Hotel), which will again serve as the hub of The Loerie Awards. Saturday will focus on activities around Camp's Bay, with the evening ceremony held at the Good Hope Centre. After parties will be focused around Long Street. Sunday will be a golf day for those wishing to relax or network on the greens, and allows free time for everybody else, before the main award ceremony takes place on Sunday evening.
In a bid to fight the inflated prices some delegates complained about last year, all accommodation bookings will be handled by Cape Town Tourism, which has dropped its management fee for Loerie delegates. All accredited venues will have signed a pricing agreement, promises Human. Negotiations to set up special vehicle rental deals and flight pricing are ongoing.
Loss of key sponsor
The Loeries has been hit by the loss of one of its major sponsors this year - Ads24. The remaining sponsors are the SABC, Cape Town Tourism, the City of Cape Town and Gearhouse South Africa.
The SABC meanwhile had to cut its sponsorship of the Loeries Travelling Exhibition, which meant it could not attend the Design Indaba this year. Previously, the SABC sponsored the cost of the floor space and stand design and so this year The Loerie Awards was not in a position to cover these costs without a sponsor.
Human acknowledges it's going to be a tough financial year ahead but insists the financial position of the Loeries is stable and that the event is not at risk. He says sound management has meant that surpluses have been built up over the past couple of years on which the organisers can draw. The 10% drop in entries last year compares favourably to international events - Human says that Cannes dropped as much as 30%.
Human believes a direct return on its investments means Cape Town Tourism and the City of Cape Town will continue to support the Loeries, especially as the city positions itself as a world-class creative city.
The Travelling Expo
The Travelling Exhibition is fully booked out for the year and aims to promote the brand communication industry to a broader audience, according to Human. It focuses on the work itself, rather than the people behind the scenes as the award ceremony does. Partly it aims to grow interest in the industry from youth by visiting tertiary institutions. It will also go into the Bloemfontein and Durban museums to expose the work to a consumer audience.
This year the exhibit visits both the Mega Media AdExpo and the Markex exhibition and has signed Adobe as a key sponsor. As such, an Adobe creative workshop in combination with the exhibition has been launched.
Some rule changes have been announced for 2010 entries. Traditionally, only work creatively conceived and produced within the region were eligible for entry. In the Craft categories, this has now been changed to allow local producers and designers to enter work conceived and/or commissioned by international clients. It opens the competition to international agencies using South African art directors, illustrators etc. who must also be permanently based in South Africa. Human says the aim is to recognise work of worth by locals who have made good internationally.
The five criteria on which work is judged have also been expanded. Originally, these criteria were innovation, quality of execution, and relevance to the brand, target audience and chosen medium. Now a sixth has been added - to win a Gold Loerie work must have been commissioned by a client independent from the agency. Self-promotional work can still enter but won't take home more than a Bronze or a Silver and Human believes it is going to raise the creative bar of the competition overall.
“Pro-active” work still welcome
Human insists he will continue to welcome “pro-active” entries. The Loeries view pro-active work as work done on behalf of a client but with a small flighting and production budget.
Essentially, this might be interpreted as you can enter work that client would never approve for general distribution by running it once (with client approval) in a small town paper and stand a legitimate chance of being awarded.
Still Human believes that the Loeries' stand on scam ads mirror that of Cannes Lions, even if it isn't as aggressive as, for example, the One Club or D&AD. The One Club defines 'fake/scam ads' as: “ads created for nonexistent clients or made and run without a client's approval or ads created expressly for award shows that are run once to meet the requirements of a tear sheet.” The D&AD awards also clearly state that “work must have been produced in response to a genuine brief and be approved and paid for by the client. Works created solely for the purpose of entering competitions are not eligible.”
And, as a matter of fact, Cannes Lions recently stated: "Entries cannot be made without the prior permission of the advertiser/owner of the rights of the advertisement. All entries must have been made within the context of a normal paying contract with a client. That client must have paid for all, or the majority of, the media costs."
For the record, Human has in the past categorically stated that "works created solely for the purpose of entering competitions are not eligible in The Loerie Awards." (How can work not approved by, for example, a national brand for general distribution and created to run in say the Caledon Kontreinuus not be created to win awards?)
Human points to the SABC New Voice Radio Award for South African non-English radio advertising as a category where a lot of pro-active work gets entered and believes it is encouraging advertising in languages other than English. Human believes pro-active work forces clients to think differently and that it pushes the edge of creative thinking.
In any case, some of the rules adopted by the One Club is not technically feasible, says Human, with specific reference to the rule that the entire team credited on 'fake' entries submitted to the One Show will be banned from entering the One Show for five years. Human believes this to be unfair; after all, will it also ban the production company briefed to produce the ad by the agency, or the freelances tasked with illustrating it? Cannes Lions has already said it would not be banning offending agencies on a wholesale basis but will ban the individuals named on the credit list if a scam is discovered. Each case will be dealt with on its own merits, according to the Cannes Lions organisers.
Human believes that the Loeries has to be realistic about pro-active ads. “Where do you draw the line on how much clients must have spent before it is seen as legitimate?” he asks. Human says, simply, that fake ads have not really been a problem at the Loeries in the past, but is willing to consider a 'name and shame' policy should anybody get caught overstepping the Loeries submission criteria.
This year, the Loeries steps into a more positive direction with its latest call for entries campaign. It's much more Cape Town than, say, “Feed your Ego.” It combines subtle humour and pokes fun at the seriousness surrounding that other big event. For all the information you require to enter, go to www.theloerieawards.co.za and Bizcommunity.com's special Loeries section. Good luck!