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2007 Lotus Awards

Posted on December 3, 2007 and read 1,546 times

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Maybe I’m jealous of the Magnum P.I.-wannabe’s that littered the Westin Bayshore’s ballroom at the 18th annual Lotus Awards, but I just wish more focus was put on the evolving advertising trends than their choice of burgeoning growth on their stiff upper lips. Nevertheless, there were some winners that stuck out past the fledging facial fashions, and they were the ones who the Publicis Vancouver-developed “Get in and get noticed” theme were directed toward.

Thankfully the décor found in the Westin’s ballroom was slightly more charming than the top-lip thatches. Crisp white tabletops, spotlights glowing with gold, and a backdrop of the cardboard cut-out styled hands found on all of this year’s Lotus materials did a decent job of setting the stage for an interesting evening. I just wish the salmon followed suit.

Presented every year by the Advertising Agency Association of BC, the Lotus Awards are a night where BC’s communication industry convenes and rifles through the memorable creative work from the past year. Chair of this year’s awards and the VP and managing director or Publicis Vancouver, Brett Macintosh, started the night noting the growing struggle to reach out to the consumer and the need to be more creative than ever before. While some of the work presented embodied that sentiment, it seemed like many in attendance thought otherwise.

In front of nearly 1,000 industry professionals, event MC Stephen Tobolosky, known for his “What’s his face” status for roles in (ahem) classics like Freddy Got Fingered, The Glimmer Man, and most recently as “Bob” in TV’s Heroes, reeled everyone in and got things rolling with a stringy speech on the topic of getting noticed. Pretty engaging fellow, but he was kind enough to share the stage and spotlight, with the usual suspects in BC’s ad scene.

This being my first time attending the Lotus Awards, I was expecting a bit more variety in those walking away with the hardware. That’s not to say in most cases the winning’s weren’t warranted, but I could see the motivation levels of other shops go down quicker than glasses of wine while DDB and Rethink employees were close to playing games of rock, paper, scissors to see who should go up to accept their next award. Both shops made strong showings, along with ostensible fan-favourite TBWA\Vancouver who ousted Rethink’s two-year run for “Best of Show” with their work for Vancity that included both traditional and non-traditional elements, such as a bike sharing experiment and wild postings.

While many in attendance stayed stationary for the duration of the event, it was still a celebration of some talented handiwork. With their Vancity pieces also picking up “Best Multi-Media campaign”, TBWA also made off with the “Best TV (>:30) single” and “Best TV (>:30) campaign” for their craftiness for the Vancouver International Film Festival. Rethink’s work for Playland gave Creative Director Ian Grais a solid walking workout with its usual handful of Lotus’, same with their pieces for Bare Wetsuits.

There were some other notable moments, but this time for the little guy. Smaller shops like SmashLab and Hangar 18 Creative Group got their moments to shine, the former for it’s inspiring work for Design Can Change winning the Lotus in the “Best Interactive Miscellaneous” category. Hangar 18 was the recipient of the award for “Best Brochure and Catalogue” featuring clever pieces for Unsource Canada. Other underdog winners included Wasserman + Partners, Identica, and Involver Interactive. It was nice to see at least a little diversity in the winner’s circle.

The night also included a heart-stirring tribute to fallen Vancouver creative James Lee. The James Lee foundation received a donation from the Advertising Association of BC that will honour the man’s memory with a scholarship being awarded to a post-secondary student who embodies the hardworking creative’s ideals. It was a great moment in the night, enough to make even the moustaches turn up slightly in a smile.

Once “Best of Show” was announced, all in attendance could finally scratch their itch and get out to the bars and out-of-place mini-burger platters waiting outside the ballroom. The area became jammed with creatives and suits alike lamenting about the lack of a mixed bag of winners. In talks regarding the work from the common players, the phrase “middle of the road” came up more than once.

As a young creative being somewhat perplexed by the reactions (I kind of liked the puking Playland plushies, among others), I can only hope that this is a sign that more shops will be turning their creative notches to 11. Vancouver is undoubtedly on the cusp of something pretty big, and here’s to the smaller shops pulling out all the stops and making bigger waves to push the industry on the West Coast to its limits. That is, of course, if the judges have the nether-regions necessary to choose the best work, not the biggest name. Time will tell.

Spirits, both figurative and literal, were gradually raised over the next few hours as industry talk gave way to the notion of having a good time. Business cards slowly disappeared from handshakes, beers replaced bad feelings, and it was nice to see friendly faces emerge from the Westin, ready to take on the awaiting after party at Vancouver’s Ginger62.

My kudos and high fives go out to the team at Publicis Vancouver for putting on a great event that, unfortunately, more got into than got noticed. All in all, the night left me looking forward to the caliber of work that’ll show up at next year’s event, and for me attending without the “press” tag I had this year. But those moustaches – let’s hope they decide to stay home.

Steve St. Pierre




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