A blog for the New Zealand creative advertising industry, now at www.campaignbrief.com/nz. Email news to: michael@campaignbrief.com

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Axis chairman Toby Talbot, ECD of DDB (left) outlines big, bold changes to the Axis Awards, which includes inviting three top overseas judges to pick Gold, Silver and Bronze:

Welcome to your new, improved AXIS.
This year we’ve changed a lot about your local show. Not for the sake of change, but because it seems everyone really wanted AXIS to change.
The feedback was clear after last year. You weren’t happy. At all.
When I say ‘you’, allow me to break that down for you. Creatives, suits, producers, CEO’s, MD’s, clients, directors, composers, production companies, photographers, media companies and sponsors.
Yep, pretty much all of you.
So what we’ve done is change the things about AXIS that you least liked. Obviously we can’t please everybody. But then it wouldn’t be AXIS if there wasn’t a bit of bitching and moaning, now would it.
So what’s changed?
Well for starters, there are fewer categories. We’ve got it down from a hefty seventy-two to a svelte fifty-five. Hopefully, you won’t miss the categories we killed (let’s face it, why did we have all those ‘International’ categories anyway). If you do, um, sorry.
Then there’s that hoary old chestnut, the judging.
For as long as Roger MacDonnell has been wearing long pants, questions have been raised about Axis judging. And the voices of discontent have grown louder. My theory is that the industry has shrunk which means so has the number of agencies and therefore judges. With only a handful of agencies dominating the awards, it seems to have become harder and harder to objectively judge the work.
There has to be a better way and this year, we think we’ve found it.
For AXIS 2008, we’re asking some of our most respected New Zealand creatives to cull the initial entries into a shortlist. But not the usual suspects. This time the ‘Pommie Mafia’ Creative Directors are stepping down and the younger up-and-comers are stepping up.
Then we’re going to take the unprecedented step of getting three independent, unbiased, globally significant judges - all based offshore - to decide Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Before the outcry, ‘but what does Johnny Foreigner know about New Zealand’, the answer is quite a lot really.
We are in a global business. Our work is highly visible these days given our successes at overseas awards shows. All three of our judges will be very aware of what we do here.
As for our little kiwi idiosyncrasies, campaigns like L&P have done very well overseas, so let’s not get too caught up about people ‘getting it’.
Besides, do you really want Axis to be a parochial, xenophobic show? I know I don’t.
So who are the three annointed ones?
Traktor need no introduction, but I’ll give them one anyway. Twice crowned the most award-winning directors in the world, Emmy winners, and two-time winners of the Cannes Grand Prix, this directing collective are a formidable creative force. Who can forget the MTV ‘Jukka Brothers’ or the Fox Sports ‘News from the only region you care about’ spots. We’re proud to announce that we’ve got two of them.

Chuck McBride (pictured), prior to setting up his own agency, Cutwater in San Francisco, was Lee Clow’s right hand man at TBWA\Chiat\Day North America. Think of all those amazing adidas ads that have come out of the States in the last ten years. Chuck was behind them all.
And we’re bloody excited to have Seb Royce representing digital. The CD of Glue London, Seb’s just been listed as one of the Top Ten Digital Talent by the UK’s Campaign Magazine. A truckload of awards probably had something to do with that, as well as being a super passionate creative.
These are people whose opinions you should give a shit about.
And what’s going to make AXIS night special this year is that they will be here for the show itself to hand out the awards.
What other changes? Well, instead of five Grande AXIS, this year there will be just one Grande AXIS, previously known as Best of Show. This award will be judged during AXIS week by all three judges and chosen from the various Golds they have already awarded.
Gone are the days of forests of polyboard. Your AXIS entries this year will all be uploaded to an ftp site. Except DM entries.
(Bloody DM, but what can you do).
Oh yeah, there’s one more change that will make this AXIS better than last year’s.
Clems Wellington is entering it.
See you on the night.

Toby Talbot


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me likes!

But dare I suggest a return to the sit down dinner?

1:28 PM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toby, the whole package is terrific, well done. Love that you have three OS judges (an Axis of judges hey? Nice one.) And welcome back Duster, we missed Clems Wellington last year and you surely missed out on a ton of Axis gongs. I'm really looking forward to Axis this year but I hope everyone agrees with 1:28, make it fun like it used to be - bring back the sit down dinner.

4:39 PM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is much more like it Toby. Not sure about the sit down dinner though - everyone gets pissed and shouts a lot. I quite like the hushed reverence of an auditorium. I think Clems Welly should boycott it again too, makes it easier for everyone else if they're not entering. Axis is feeling good again.

5:08 PM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to coming down there and giving your ads a jolly good kicking you Kiwis.


Johnny Foreigner

10:44 PM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're in a global business. Yes, we are, but on the whole, very few kiwi ads get exported.

Advertising's future is an import business.

8:28 AM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

8.28 You speak for yourself and start writing some good stuff then.

9:05 AM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do we really need overseas people to tell us what our good ads are?

Weirdly enough, to me at least, this step makes Axis feel even more like a tiny regional awards show of little relevance. Which is a shame.

9:37 AM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what!? Is there a pommy mafia !?

9:46 AM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toby IS the pommy mafia.

10:36 AM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we've all been busy gaining global credits, the standard of work at home overall has nose-dived.

The big stuff I mean. ie doodles, doodles, puppets, and press - Special stuff aside.

Not all of us are angling for jobs overseas.

10:42 AM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, careful 9.46 or you'll wake up with a pork pie in your bed.

11:18 AM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now what's with all those daggers sticking out of your back eh Toby? You trying to tell us sumfink or wot???

11:32 AM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That PR reads like it was written by Neil French in 1979.

With lots of short sentences. Careful rhythmic variation. Sentences starting with 'And'. The rhetorical questions. The compulsory "Oh yeah" to add a casual touch. The unwitting clichés like 'hoary old chestnut' and 'Johnny Foreigner'.

Not sure if I'm impressed.

At all.

12:27 AM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:27 - K, stay off the blog. If you were a dinosaur you'd be called 'blogasaurus rex'.

9:08 PM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, is there really any point to axis? Let's just put it out of its misery. It's getting worse each year.

9:37 AM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:37, Please, please don't enter then. And don't come to the show either. You really won't be missed. Stay at home and slag off the industry to your long suffering friends. If you have any.

9:48 PM NZDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

vaughn baby - whats gonna win you axis gold this year?

12:54 AM NZDT


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