What was the best work from Perth in 2017?

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RLS_Passwords_BLOG.jpgWe asked some of Perth's CDs and senior creatives to nominate what they thought was the top local work of 2017. Royal Life Saving 'Passwords With A Purpose' by 303 MullenLowe, WA Electoral Commission 'Dark Lord' by Marketforce and Cancer Council 'Stick It To No. 2' by Gatecrasher were popular picks. Though not a Perth-produced ad, Parkinson's NSW 'The Hold' was written by JWT Perth Creative Director Paul Coghlan and also had plenty of admirers.

Joe Hawkins, Marketforce
It's been an interesting kind of creative year for Perth, with really only a few bits that deserve a special mention.

Passwords with a Purpose was a standout. So simple and an effortlessly relevant fit for the message. I witnessed the amount of energy and effort the partner-less Scott Pritchett put into this, and he deserves all the accolades the work has received, and will hopefully receive, in the future.

JWT and Paul Coghlan for their Parkinson's TVC. Sure, it didn't run on Perth TVs, but you can bet plenty of people here watched it online. But credit where it's due for being written - and by the sounds of it, produced - largely out of Perth.
And another hat tip to Tim [Newton] and Wilora [Keeley] at JWT for their mountain of great Police Union radio work. They have a knack for eking out compelling insights and executing them well. I'm curious and excited to see where they take this client next.

And on the subject of radio, it's good to see Perth is back to punching above its weight on the international stage. And credit to Matt and Mitch at SCA for keeping us agency-based copywriters on our toes. I'm just glad neither of them are eligible to win the $20,000 radio writers award.

Paul Coghlan, J Walter Thompson
Pretty solid year this year. I think most of the work that stood out featured at the PADCs, bar one or two. Some stand-outs and some notable mentions.

Stand-outs: 
Royal Life Saving 'Passwords With A Purpose' (303MullenLowe). At first I thought there was a logic disconnect with this idea i.e. they're actively encouraging people to use wifi at a pool facility. But then I put my father-of-three-young-kids hat on and, yep, realised it would actually make me extremely aware of my phone behaviour for the entire time, to the point where I wouldn't use it. Well done, 303 - very clever work. 

Lotterywest Lotto Superdraw radio (Marketforce). I judged this work at Sirens a few rounds back and actually thought it deserved more than Bronze at PADC. A lovely, authentic take on what you'd do with your millions. Also, nice to see this client is happy to push back into that particular creative space again. 

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Cancer Council 'Stick it to number 2'. Bravo, Gatecrasher. This could quite easily have been a super serious, overly-worthy campaign but it was a great way to entertain and educate a completely disengaged audience on a matter that's, you know, a bit gross. 

WA Electoral Commission 'Darklord FM' (Marketforce). Thinking about the context behind it - needing the younger voters to engage - it's actually great work. It's so ridiculous it's great.  

Notable mentions:
Synergy 'Future Home'. Nice one, Kats. Great design and digital components, plus kudos for creating something completely non-traditional and helpful, rather than a bunch of adshels and press ads. 

Kleenheat (The Brand Agency). I like some of the stuff that lingers around the periphery for this client. There was a nice social vid that used the medium superbly, where the main guy dragged the black safe-zone areas down and up to try and close the ad off. Geico but on a Perth budget. I liked it, and the campaign is crushing it with results, so obviously it's working.

WA Potatoes 'Todatoes' (&Partners via Breadbox). Left me with a lovely, warm feeling. Stop it, Dav &Partners! A simple yet smart way to get people to reframe how they view their meal-planning. This was one of those ideas that actually could change behaviour.

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Richard Berney, 303 MullenLowe
'Let's Thursday Like we Friday' for City of Perth (The Brand Agency). This is just a great, great line. A terrific invitation to an absurd idea. Actually makes me feel like drinking.  

I think I love it because I'd be happy to say it for starters, and later, probably happy to yell it out of a car window. It's smart because it gives me a reason to loosen up on a school night, and it's silly because it plays with our language like it's three beers deep. This half-cut rally cry for punters managed to galvanise the City of Perth and competing restauranteurs - as well as laddering down into retail offers. This is proper campaigning for a difficult brief (and my guess is the stakeholders would have been quite nervous about their businesses).

I also love the art direction - it feels like it's from the hip and full of fun. Oh, and Tex was a touch of class.

'Street Experience' for the WA Police Union (J Walter Thompson). This stopped me. What was so striking about this work was it was executed with abandon. I believed it because the street drama was so off-the-wall, and so violent. The pay-off was as calm as the action was wild, and it just left me in a bit of momentary daze. I got a moment - a moment - of understanding of a cop's life. I think this was an important idea, and I think it was realised in its fullest form.
  
Dav Tabeshfar, &Partners
Hopefully the Editor will put my Best of Perth review first, so I'm not the 3rd or 4th person to pick Parkinsons 'The Hold' (JWT Sydney). I was totally taken in by the twist and it told me something I didn't know about the disease. I wish I'd done it.

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The Electoral Commission's Dark Lord campaign was a pretty audacious solution to a tough ask: Get young people to give a shit about politics. I doubt the brief has changed much in the last 10 years so congratulations to the team for finding an unexpected way to skin the old "Bad things happen when people don't vote" message.

Finally, Western Power's 'Look 360' made me laugh (303 MullenLowe). Like, actually LOL as the kids would say. It's so stupid in the best possible way, and a welcome departure from the unjustified melodrama we expect from health and safety messages.

Adam Barker, Gatecrasher
If there's something we do exceptionally well in WA, it's social marketing, and 2017 was no exception. For me, pretty much all of the standout campaigns weren't for big commercial clients, but rather for Government and NGOs. (Ummm, hang on... does WA have any big commercial clients left?)

Anyway, like the judges of The Skulls, I thought Royal Life Saving's 'Passwords' was a standout. It was pretty much the perfect solution to this problem. Hats off to Richard and crew.

My second favourite campaign this year was the WA Police Union 'Would you do this?' radio (J Walter Thompson). I heard this driving to work one day, and before I even stopped to think this is a very clever ad, I was caught up as a listener in the drama and power of the story. JWT have embraced this client as their 'good fight to fight' and it comes through in all of the work they do for them. 

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The Brand Agency's ambient text in the windscreen was very nice and I quite liked Marketforce's WA Electoral Commission 'Dark Lord' campaign too. It was probably a bit ambitious on what looked to be a pretty low budget, but a good idea nevertheless. 

Finally, for sheer standout and quirkiness, the Liquor Barons 'Far from Ordinary' Bus was exactly that (AT Creative). If their booze won't cause you to have an accident, that bloody thing will! Good job AT.

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Josh Edge, Meerkats
The following is a list of stuff I remembered (which is more important than liked, although I did that too), this year: Likeable and Rare's Gruen pitches; The Studio at SCA's Complete DJ radio ad 'Scratch Master Craig' (too real Mitch, too real); 303's Royal Life Saving WA 'Passwords with a Purpose' (although as a dad with a cheap mobile phone plan, I'm kinda hoping this is the last year that crappy free wifi is pitched as a thing. Does anybody really sit in a Maccas and use dinky wifi when phone data is so much faster?); and &Partners' online film 'Release' for Nature Play. 

Best Gruen ad that wasn't ours: For my money, Rare had the better insight but Likeable's crafting was miles ahead of the typical Gruen pitch. Well done to both. 

Ad that was way better than it probably looked on the brief: Tied for Breadbox and &Partners' 'Todatoes', and 303's 'Table Dance' ad for P&N Bank. 

Best non-ad ad: Mad props to Longtail's Maurice Melchers and Marketforce's Chris & Ben for taking out the NASA SpaceApps Hackathon for the second year in a row with the fantastic 'Taste Buds' app. Super clever work. 

Smartest insight: Timora's 'How Much To...?' is razor-sharp work (J Walter Thompson). 

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Most controversial ad in the office: 303's 'Al the Owl' split office opinion like nothing else this year. I'm the one who writes this so I get to say that it's a solid spot, with genuine laughs, for a tough service and a tough audience. 

Hardest ad to avoid: Seriously, Mr Tinning's Liquor Barons' ads were bloody everywhere. There's a certain power to omnipresent imagery like this, to the point where most people probably move from "huh, that's interesting", to "goddamn these ads", to "oh yeah, I've seen them around, they're cool". I'll miss them when they're gone, which is the highest compliment I can give to them.

Most important ad conference: 3% Conference. Google it. Go to it next year. 

Personal favourite of the year: At the end of the day, my most beloved campaign of the year was Marketforce's (and Pilerats' great social activation work) 'The Dark Lord' for WAEC, for a number of reasons. It was a heinously tough brief for a junior team, for a boring client, with probably no production budget, in a big Perth agency. Yet somehow, one of the smartest, laugh-out-loud funniest, Perth ad campaigns came out of it. Possibly the only ad in this whole wrap-up that might've actually changed a human being's mind this year. 

And let's not forget two major features from the talented Perth crew involved in Hounds of Love and Hotel Coolgardie. Proud moments in the cinema all round this year! 

Andrew Tinning, AT Creative
I can't believe it's this time of year again. Like the last 6 months, my round up will be short and sweet.

TV-wise, the 'Hold' spot for Parkinson's from JWT Perth & Sydney is the clear winner. Such a simple, beautiful and emotive piece of story telling. That aside, for me there was nothing out of the box on the local box.

In the online video category, 'Dumb Ways To Poo' by Gatecrasher was no.1 with MF's Dark Lord coming in at No.2's  (or should that be the other way around?)

In the outdoor space, 303's 'Passwords With A Purpose' was a brilliant little idea, but this medium offers the potential for real presence and scale and apart from one exception that I can't mention, there was nothing else that had that kind of impact. 

The police stuff from JWT ruled the radio waves. 

And the Future House interactive thingy by Meerkats looked like a worthy digital winner from what I saw of it on the big screen at the PADCs. 

Here's to another year.

Brett Wheeler, Rare
Royal Life Saving 'Passwords with a Purpose'. What a great opportunistic and ridiculously simple idea. A timely reminder that a big idea doesn't always require a big budget. Well done Scott Pritchett and the team at 303.

Kleenheat 'Less talk more energy'. When you're selling the same product, from the same pipeline, for approximately the same price, you have to stand out. This campaign does that. Not only is it great creative retail, it's also extremely well crafted, which isn't always the case with retail advertising. Nice work Open Spaces for making it look so sharp. 

Cancer Council WA 'Stick it to number 2'. I wasn't sure if this was great or crap when I first saw it. I back the former, but others I know said it was the latter. It makes my list because a) the client approved it, and b) it was obviously created with a tight budget, which actually adds to its charm. Great work GC.

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Best of the beer Cans: Block continue to produce great design for a range of boutique clients. The packaging for Otherside Brewing is no exception. Another notable mention goes to Public Creative and Peter McDonald who continues to quietly create amazing design work, particularly in the area of packaging. He was asked to turn his Mad Fish wine label into a beer can and it really does look the goods.

Dave Donald, The Brand Agency
When CB asked me for my Best of Perth review for 2017, the first campaign that came to mind was 'Passwords With A Purpose' by 303 MullenLowe. And this was pre-PADC.

Using the Wi-Fi passwords at pools to remind parents to watch their kids is a great idea. Given the problem, it's easy to imagine how an online video or Facebook banner might have been an effective solution. But not as effective as delivering our pool safety message to parents before they've even accessed their YouTube or Facebook. Turning the distraction device, into the tool that helps save lives. It's a big idea and in retrospect an obvious one. But the really good ideas always are. Well done 303 MullenLowe.

The other piece of work that had me a little jealous was The WA Police Union, 'Quotes Radio' campaign by JWT. Confronting, uncompromising and uncomfortable to hear, these spots perfectly demonstrate the difficult situations faced by WA Police officers. It's brave work, by a clearly brave client. Let me tackle briefs instead of criminals any day. 

Malcolm MacLean, Likeable Creative
The work that stood out for me as being best of the year were the campaigns that were based on great marketing ideas.

A great example is the City of Perth's 'Let's Thursday Like We Friday'. It's such a cool line to express the business purpose of boosting bars and entertainment venues mid-week. And the idea of using Tex Perkins as spokesman was spot-on.

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Another campaign that caught my eye was 'Brownstones' from Express Two Storey Living. This work is just so different in a category where everyone else is talking about stone benchtop inclusions and alfrescos. The TV commercial simply communicated a lifestyle, showing a New York vibe and not even mentioning if Brownstones was a house design or an apartment building. I was so curious I Googled it, and found myself on the Express facebook page which was on fire with millennials tagging each other, asking for details, and having sales people respond instantly with invitations to continue the conversation via private messaging. 

The Liquor Barons work is also very clever positioning. From one single photoshoot, they've extended consistent branding through catalogues, point of sale, press and outdoor with style and elegance. And picked up a PADC Bronze Skull for the bus wrap!

Gordon Haynes, Bear In Black
It wasn't too long ago when advertising provided an escape from a life that was various shades of beige. The Cadbury Gorilla, Skittles, the Budweiser radio campaign, Old Spice. All weird and wonderful. All brilliant diversions. Then Humdrumia became Nutsville. Brexit, Trump, North Korea, Trump, hurricanes, citizenship nonsense, iOS 11 - the world was drinking large from the crazy juice bottle. And advertising changed. 

People now want an escape from the insanity of the everyday and not confront it again when looking at a billboard or listening to a radio ad. They want something safe, wholesome, Rockwellian. The tone of current advertising has changed to better reflect these subconscious desires. Shame.

That said, there have been some creative, if not weird and wonderful, highlights this past year in Perth. Enough's been said about 303 MullenLowe's brilliant wifi password campaign. Meerkats' Synergy Home of the Future is the best installation I have seen for years. JWT's beautifully shot ad for Parkinson's is very clever. I also loved Likeable's x-ray ads at Domain and Rare's Eagle logo redesign.

Here's hoping for a much less crazy world in 2018.

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