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The Loeries being in Cape Town just fits

I'm a Loeries Margate baby. When I started my career, the elders spoke of the Sun City Loeries - the executives up at The Palace, their minions down at the Cabanas, banquet dinners and razzmatazz. But that was before my time. Margate was where The Loeries began for me. Smart casual and unbreakable, the perfect town for an all-night jol, a circus tent awards event with board shorts on the bottom and jackets on top, beach balls flying around the crowd, Doom 'Bugs' winning everything and creative electricity in the rainy Durban air. Like so many people at their first Loeries, overnight I went from feeling like an outsider, confused by what this advertising thing was all about, to absolute clarity.
Brendan Hoffmann, executive creative director of Joe Public Cape Town
Brendan Hoffmann, executive creative director of Joe Public Cape Town

What everyone realises pretty quickly at their first Loeries is that it is all about the work, and in Margate that year, I was blown away by the collective response to that work. How passionately each agency cheered for their own work when they won, the respect (and a bit of healthy jealousy) from competitor agencies, the stoked looks on the faces of the winners up on stage and the envious stares of those who weren’t. Celebrating our single Bronze Loerie win that night, I knew I’d be coming back every year, hungry for more.

Twenty years later, The Loeries has now found its home in Cape Town and I think it’s rather fitting that it has settled, for now, in the Cape of Good Hope because after all, the Loeries run on hope.

You hope that you’ll get some finalists. Hope that others will like the thing you’ve spent so many hundreds of hours doing as much as you did. Hope that you’ll win something for an idea that you know has already won the hearts of consumers. After all, isn’t that what great work does? When you walk into the awards event this year, look around the room and what you will see is a room full of hope. True, a few hours later the hope will have drained out of all but the winners, but once the dust settles on the event, hope will start to grow again until it culminates once again at next year’s event.

But hope aside, what I love most about The Loeries is that once a year the marketing industries obsession with size and scale takes a back seat to great ideas. At The Loeries, unlike in real life, a small brand can beat out a big one, a Grand Prix can come from a tiny budget brief, a clever social media idea can win more than a big TV ad. It’s the perfect David vs Goliath scenario and is one of the main reasons The Loeries being in Cape Town fits so well.

Having worked in both Joburg and Cape Town and most recently having opened Joe Public Cape Town, it’s clear to me that what Cape Town might lack in scale, it makes up for in quality. Which is why Cape Town agencies so often box above their weight at The Loeries.

Like Cannes and other overseas award shows, The Loeries’ focus is not just on the size of the work but more on the strength and originality of the idea. This means winners can come from anywhere. All it takes is a great idea executed with passion and of course, a world-class case study video and you’re in the running. A nice even playing field!

So, to all the new creatives attending Loeries for the first time and also the old veterans, let’s enjoy Loeries 2023. Let’s celebrate the work. Let’s be glad that we can celebrate it in our beautiful home city of Cape Town, the most creative city in the world. Let’s feed off the hope and let’s share in the awesome power of great work, even if it’s not always our own.

3 Oct 2023 09:38


About the author

Brendan Hoffmann is executive creative director of Joe Public Cape Town.