Creative Directors pick The Best of Perth 2016

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RSC_Nathan_BLOG1.jpgWe asked some of Perth's senior creatives for what they thought was the top local work of 2016. Some of the campaigns nominated - Rottofest Stock Footage, Chicken Tweet, WA Police Step Forward and St John Ambulance CPR Hero - were prominent at the PADC Awards but were actually produced in 2015. However, the one clear favourite amongst our group is from this year - 303 MullenLowe's Time With Mum campaign for the WA Road Safety Commission. Due to the deadline for contributions, another campaign for the RSC by The Brand Agency missed the cut but it has had plenty of admirers since it went to air and is an early contender for next year's 'Best'.
FestivalFromage_StreetPoster_BLOG.jpgAndrew Tinning, SHEDcsc
It was another tough year out there and I think this has definitely been reflected in the quality and quantity of the work produced over the past 12 months. That said, there were a few notable exceptions that come to mind.

TV: Most of the big brands produced big bland ads, so there's not a lot to write home (or here) about.  With that in mind, 303 MullenLowe's Nate being driven around by his Mum for Road Safety Commission, and The Brand's Step Forward for WA Police are my picks.

Digital/Online: Nate and his Mum get the nod again, along with Bank West's Commentator's Cup by Gettin' Hectic.

Radio: I'm Home for Doorstop by Ad Impact brings it home. And those crazy furniture testers from Sveeden grabbed my attention, thanks to IKEA and 303.

Print: Sorry but I've drawn a blank page here.

Out of Home: Even though it happened inside a train and is therefore probably more 'experiential' in nature, the longest catwalk for Lakeside Joondalup by Block struts away with top honours.

Design: The Festival Fromage by Block (above) gets the bleu ribbon for design, art direction and craft.

Adam Barker, Gatecrasher
I love a good behaviour change campaign and it would be a rare year that WA doesn't offer up something great in this space to rave about. This year, it's hats off to the folks at 303 for their Lose your Licence, Lose your Life campaign. The insight is sharp and the execution is tonally perfect. The engagement levels reached in social were testament to getting both of these things right. Easily the best thing the Road Safety Commission has done in a long time.

My next couple of picks are radio ads, favourite being the lovely Furniture Testers campaign for Ikea. Very funny scripts, beautifully produced by Brad at Soundbyte.

Considerably unfunny on the other hand, in a good way, was Matt Dickson's Dead Air for Sea Shepherd. A pretty clever use of the medium, which surprisingly hasn't been done before, as far as I know. Matt's been a major creative force in radio writing the past couple of years and I don't think he quite gets the amount of recognition he deserves in this particular forum. Onya Matt, you're one of the best!

Two more honourable mentions. I really like the cute baby animal video for Transperth, which was a very engaging way to get people to pay attention to lots of quite dry information. And nice job to Brand Agency on this year's Kleenheat campaign. Retail campaigns that manage to be entertaining in delivering a generic saving message are always to be applauded.

A good year, but I've got the feeling next year is going to be better!

BlockBuilding_BLOG.jpgAvernaHomes_BLOG.jpgMalcolm MacLean,
Likeable Creative

I think the most astonishingly creative work I've noticed this year is Block Branding's new building design (left). Resembling a giant starburst made of beautifully stepped red bricks, the new Block HQ screams "look at me". I love the sheer audacity and the total whimsy. You have to take your hat off to Mark Braddock and his team for creating an agency promotion that will literally stop people in the street.

Another piece of work that caught my attention was a small-space press ad for Averna Homes that ran in the homes section of the weekend papers. I really enjoy work that stands out in its category. In three decades of working in this industry, I must have seen 50 ads for block redevelopment that use the headline "Duplexes and triplexes needn't be complex". But this little ad says it all with one engaging visual. Nice work by Raphael Thexeira. 

The 'Time with Mum' integrated campaign for Road Safety targeted at young males totally resonated with my young, male teenaged son. What a very clever strategy to avoid the blood and gore and focus on the real pain of losing your licence, which is having to get lifts with Mum. Independence is everything when you're 18, and this 303MullenLowe work hits the nail on the head with wit and charm.

Gordon Haynes, Bear In Black
Ah, 2016. I remember like it was yesterday. I can see myself as I was then: middle-aged, head full of scalp and stomach full of belly. What else do I remember of that year? Ads. I remember ads. But not many of them.

I recall a series of audio pipings entitled 'Time with Mum' by 303plusotherletters. These dramatised the daily existence of young drunks leading the sad lives of the carless. This is why one should only drink gin as it does not register on a breathalyzer. As the AMA says, 'a gin behind the wheel is no big deal'.

I also remember seeing some ads for ECU encouraging people to 'Get Ready', also by 303plusotherletters. It is a shame that higher learning is seen as nothing more than a prerequisite for a job. It's as if the once noble pursuit of knowledge is now seen as quite pointless. Maybe that explains how a tangerine, pussy-grabber got elected to the world's highest office. At any rate, this is the reality of university marketing today and the 'Get Ready' campaign did a great job of expressing it.

Try as I might, my memory offers nothing more. Nope, not a great year.

Dav Tabeshfar, &Partners
Creatively speaking, I don't think 2016 was an exceptional year for Perth. I think both clients and creative agencies are trying to find their footing in the new budget paradigm, and the work feels like it's been a secondary consideration.

There were however a few diamonds in the gravel. Cable Beach Club for one. 'The further you travel, the closer you get.' What a beautiful truth. And I love that once the team landed on this lovely insight, they didn't bury it in the execution. The films are just what they need to be: Simple and visceral.

Super Nature's Turia Pitt campaign seems to split opinion, and I have to be honest, it made me uncomfortable when I first saw it. The fact it made me uncomfortable had me wondering; How would the public's discomfort make Turia Pitt feel? Because she would see it in people's eyes every day of her life. I came to the conclusion she probably is made of incredible stuff. I can't remember the last piece of work that made me think or feel as much.

Too heavy? Don't worry, The Animal Hospital at Murdoch University will rescue my round-up with a little levity. The 'Animals will animal' campaign (Especially 'Dogs will dog') will have the pet-owning population of Perth nodding and smiling knowingly. It's charming and true.

Des Hameister, Trilogy
Here are the top three campaigns that caught my eye and ear during the year.

1. Made of Incredible Stuff national campaign for Super Nature (Shedcsc). Incredible stuff, indeed. Not to mention powerful and memorable.

2. Zero Heroes integrated campaign for the Road Safety Commission (303 MullenLowe). It was refreshing to see a positive approach to road safety.

3. Agent Finder: Non-Agent radio campaign for REIWA (Meerkats). These spots sucked me in every time with natural performances and excellent production values.

Well done to everyone involved.

Paul Coghlan, J Walter Thompson
Mark Braddock must have thought I had a slight crush on him (Is it the beard?) with the amount of Insta likes I nailed him with for his agency's Festival Fromage campaign. Just outstanding design work, subverting all the different types of cheese into basic shapes and bold colours to create a timeless visual language that, remarkably, still made you drool. Lovely stuff. World class. My clear winner for 2016.

Another campaign that stood out - 'Time with Mum' for Road Safety Commission - just a lovely human insight. If I were being picky I reckon while the idea is nice the execution could have been stronger in TV/video. Radio was strong (I did chuckle at the up-and-down windows moment) and seems digital was too, with those great social interaction numbers coming through.

Weirdly I feel like I'd usually be writing a war and peace section about Marketforce's work but it's been a quieter year for them... though I did think Vulture Culture Stock Footage was pretty funny, and a great example of how, as Perth agencies, we can punch well above our weight in terms of idea versus budget.

Finally, a call out to Shed's Super Nature Made of Incredible Stuff campaign. One of those golden 'Can we use a celebrity?' moments in the ideation phase. Turia Pitt is a fantastic woman and a great ambassador for feeling good about yourself. Nice one guys.

Been a pretty good year. Righto, let's roll our sleeves up for 2017!

Transperth_Gopher_BLOG.jpgJosh Edge, Meerkats
As a semi-regular public transport-taker, I was a fan of a lot of the illustrated Transperth work this year. The 'Freak Show' poster was a highlight, as was one particularly awesome piece of writing on the one with the old person and the walking frame (left). Incredibly vague, I know, but I liked it enough to take a picture of it and send it to Martin, so hopefully he knows what I'm talking about.

303 MullenLowe also did a great little Transperth ambient sticker that was overtly (as opposed to 'overly') art directed that forced people to look down at the floor - super simple and super clever.

I don't work there in anymore so I think I get to give a shout-out to Longtail's brilliantly simple CPR Hero. Very proud to see it pick up at the PADCs.

Chicken Tweet was an early pick for Best of Year for me, mostly because of the ongoing conversation it started (good and bad) and the initial flurry of sharing that cut a path all the way up to Orange Is The New Black. Come on, we'd all be completely stoked with that kind of recognition and it deserves a massive high five to the whole team. While I'm on the subject of Marketforce, Rottofest was brilliant. Even more so for the fact that so many creatives were pissed off that a bunch of stock videos won all the awards. Love a bit of shit-stirring.

Bear in Black did a great job of the Jurien Bay 'Bay Time' real estate campaign. Brilliant, simple, original strategy. Probably made for 15 cents but it never looked like it.

Lastly, a shout out for the brand new Mixin Collide conference that I had the pleasure of speaking at. Definitely the most inspiring, creative piece of work I was part of in Perth this year.

Craig Buchanan, The Brand Agency
Creatively, Block has had a great year as evidenced at this year's PADC Awards. But the work I was most impressed with is for themselves. It's a tough brief re-branding your own company and they did it brilliantly. From the first time I saw the work via social media I was engaged. It's so strong, it demands attention. In fact it draws you like a magnet. Once I started seeing all the aspects of the branding the more I liked it. I even started visualising some pieces on the wall of my apartment (yes Mark and Tanya, that's a hint). The horse/unicorn image is amazing. It's world class. It's truly disruptive. Congratulations, I'm more than a little envious.

TuriaPitt_SuperNature_BLOG.jpgRon Samuel, Cooch
The upside of the short-term thinking that has gripped our industry by the short and curlies is that it actually seems to be generating more work than ever. There's all sorts of stuff being churned out now that the new 'long term' is shorter than the previous short term, and no-one really wants to look too far ahead because, well, because no-one does that anymore. 

The downside is that finding the great creative work is like going on a ghost hunt. You know it's out there, you hear rumours and sometimes you can even feel it's presence but you just can't see it. That's because you're either too late, you're looking in the wrong place, or it wasn't really there in the first place.

This year I liked the work for the State Library by Mullen Lowe 303, it was fresh and interesting, not an easy thing to do for any library.

The 'Distracted' spot for Road Safety was also a standout for me, especially as I'm teaching my daughter how to drive and she, and her mates, are definitely in the target group who need to heed that message.

It was encouraging to see more good production values on the screen for the RAC.

The highlight for me came at the end of the year with Shed's campaign for Vesco Foods featuring Turia Pitt. It was so refreshing to see such a brave campaign. It's got big hairy balls. First of all, hats off to the client for backing the agency and not going down the obvious, boring path to mediocrity. They would have been forgotten by now if they had. The alignment of values between the talent and the brand is a winner and says much about both without actually having to say much at all, beautiful. Execution is simple and memorable just as it should be. Great work, and I've been told that I don't say that very often.

(Ron submitted his review after the deadline so it didn't make it into the December magazine.)


Overseas observer said:

Time with mum is a good insight but an average execution.

You guys have the talent, please push yourselves.

Zero Hero??? said:

OO, loss of independence is not new territory in road safety comms. And this approach where the young bloke has to rely on his annoying mum to drive him everywhere embarrassing him in front of his mates etc. has been done before in the UK, the US and here in Australia.
Given that the WA road toll is the worst it's been in 6 years, it's the effectiveness of recent campaigns that needs questioning not the execution.

Interested said:

What about the execution was lacking Overseas Observer?

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