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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  Howard Draft: Introducing The Gunn Report 2009

Howard Draft: Introducing The Gunn Report 2009

Posted on November 23, 2009 and read 3,805 times

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howarddraft Howard Draft: Introducing The Gunn Report 2009Howard Draft
Executive Chairman

Howard Draft, Executive Chairman of Draftfcb, served as Guest Editor of the 2009 Gunn Report. The fine folks at the Gunn Report were kind enough to share some of Howard’s thoughts on the most awarded ads and campaigns of the previous year or so. Howard pulls no punches; just because an ad won enough gold to outshine Fort Knox doesn’t mean he necessarily loved it, and he doesn’t shy away from telling you so.

But remember, this is just a tasty but tiny morsel. To get your hands on the full, juicy report, including all tables, charts and stats, the ads, commentary and more… click here.


Being brought under Donald Gunn’s tent as he and his lean but dedicated team prepared the 11th edition of his famous – sometimes infamous – Gunn Report was an eye-opening experience, one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Imagine the privilege – and fun — of sitting back and watching 150+ award-winning ads from all over the world, most of which have won multiple honors at some of our industry‟s best Festivals, then being asked to rate them alongside Donald and a couple of other colleagues to determine the Top 100 worthy of being included in this closely watched creative collective.

Having sat on a few award juries myself over the years, I know the long and difficult path these award-winners had to navigate to snag a Lion or a Pencil or a Clio. I do have to admit scratching my head at the award-worthiness of more than a few of them. And I can only imagine the heated debates that many of them engendered.

The longer I‟ve been in this business the more I‟ve come to appreciate the power of a truly creative idea to motivate consumers to act in the desired way. I‟ve long had a deep respect for the planning process and its role in uncovering those nuggets of human insight that will resonate with our target audience.

Having spent the first couple decades of my career running a supposedly “below-the-line” agency, many people have mistakenly classified me as just a numbers guy. Of course metrics are important to me. If clients are going to spend millions of dollars on a marketing campaign aren‟t they entitled to understand the return on their investment?

So that‟s one of the lenses through which I looked at this impressive pool of award-winners. If something looked like it was being creative simply to be creative — without clearly articulating the selling proposition — I tended to be less generous with my grades. But if it hooked me in from the onset, made me lean forward and actively engaged me, it received a big thumbs-up
Right now Draftfcb is only a little over three years young (even though our collective heritage dates back nearly 140 years). As our agency has evolved we‟ve come to believe more than ever that there is no way to separate creativity from accountability. They cannot and should not be mutually exclusive.

I could not ignore this fundamental belief as a one of Donald‟s anointed jurors this year.

The other lens I put the work through stemmed from some proprietary research we conducted in waves among more than 1,000 consumers across several markets worldwide this past year. We wanted to see, in this too-much-information age where now-in-control consumers are being bombarded with marketing messages at every turn, just how much time they were willing to devote to advertising.

We discovered that, on average, consumers are willing to give an advertiser 6.5 seconds to make a connection. Granted, that number fluctuates depending upon the media channel. Web and print and out-of-home ads are given even less time.
What did this tell us? With the window of opportunity to make an impression upon consumers becoming smaller and smaller, we have to make the most of every second. That is why our new creative expression is “6.5 Seconds That Matter.”

In putting the initial pool of 150+ award-winners through the “6.5 Second” filter, I realized that the most effective ads in this year‟s consideration set hooked me from the get-go and didn‟t let go until the usually very satisfying end.

Net, I hope that the ads we decided upon matter as much to you as they did to us. And I hope they provide you with an endless source of creative inspiration.

Finally, please join me in saluting Donald as The Gunn Report begins its second decade of really mattering to our industry.

1. Film 

In a world where DVR‟s make skipping through commercials way too easy — and channel surfing is out of control — getting viewers to relax their thumbs is more difficult than ever. Congratulations to those advertisers and agencies who keep rising to the challenge: 

1. Crest Toothpaste “Smile” campaign 

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A hallmark of good comedy is taking a universal truth and giving it a new twist. We all know it helps to give and receive bad news with a smile. The retro feel of this campaign keeps these comic masterpieces from turning tragically uncomfortable for the viewer. We‟re left to slyly smile at some sheer audacity from Crest. 

2 (tie). Schweppes Mixers “Burst”

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How do you sell bubbles? It‟s all in the burst. Who knew there were so many ways to show the fresh, unexpected moments when carbonated water becomes something much more? 

2 (tie). Shelter Charity “House of Cards” 

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Normally I‟m not the biggest fan of computer-generated spots. This is one of those captivating exceptions where the idea drives the technique, not the other way around. It‟s also one of those rare times when using a cliché like “house of cards” properly makes it become fresh again. 

2 (tie). Skittles “Piñata” 

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OK, I‟ll admit a life-sized, moving piñata guy is an arresting visual. But my love for this spot stops there. Who are they selling this product to? Adults who‟d rather have a chocolate Skittle than one of Mars‟ more upscale alternatives? Or do they really believe a lame office scenario is the best way to reach kids craving chocolate? 

2. Print 

While the traditional print media continues to struggle with declining circulation numbers, it can‟t be for lack of creativity. For proof, consider the year‟s Top 10 print ads, both outdoor and in: 

1. Chrysler Jeep “Two Worlds”

How did these art directors leap beyond the obligatory close-up of a tire in a muddy jungle rut in favor of crisp block prints that express the benefit of owning a Jeep? We don‟t know how they got there, but we‟re sure glad they did.

2 (tie). Alka Seltzer “Dissolve Your Problems”

This ad proves most problems can be reduced to black and white. Brilliantly.

2 (tie). Harvey Nichols “Harvey Nichols Bristol Store Launch”

A brilliant way to stand out amongst the pages of men‟s clothing ads with chiseled-cheeked models who look like they‟re on the way to a meeting or bar where they wouldn‟t have a clue what to say or do. 

3. Interactive 

There are those who say Digital Technology has changed all the rules. It‟s put the consumer firmly in control, and those marketers who are able to engage their target on their terms will win big in the end. Not just win business, but lots of awards. Consider: 

1. “Whopper Sacrifice”, Burger King

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Who needs friends, anyway? Burger King took a big gamble with an idea that flew in the face of where nearly every other marketer is heading. Instead of embracing the power of social media to do good, it tapped into its inherent flaw: We‟ve all „friended‟ indiscriminately, thinking more is always better, and it was time for people to pay for their sins. Who better than a King to lead the crusade? 

2. “Wario Land Shake It”, Nintendo Wii 

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Every game marketer looks to unlock the key that puts the player inside the game. Just as Nintendo broke all gamebox marketing rules by targeting its Wii introduction to families, it continues to defy convention by breaking the fourth wall. Another game changer. 

3=. “Hotel 626”, Doritos 

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Sure, it‟s as clever as nearly all things targeting the young and mobile must be these days. But to use all that technological creativity on a haunted house for product flavors that had died? I‟m left in the dark as to how this campaign is more than just a fun play toy of the Digital Age. 

4. All Gunns Blazing 

For years, I‟ve espoused getting rid of all lines. What do Above the Line and Below The Line signify anyway? In looking at the following fully integrated campaigns, I‟m pleased to see so many others are also saying, “To hell with lines” – and doing it so effectively. 

1. “Obama for America”, The Obama Campaign 

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The Obama campaign schooled our industry on how to use all of the communication tools available to us not just to entertain and inform but to sell. They reminded us of the power of grassroots marketing and the pinpoint precision of radio advertising. They dared us to pool 30-second media buys into a 2-minute masterpiece of persuasion. They relied on social media for more than daily updates and video posts; they zeroed in on its core use as a free way to unite and inspire people with similar interests. This movement showed marketers and agencies alike how anything is possible when we capitalize on the benefits and features of a good product fueled by a singular, strong message. In this case: “Hope.” 

2. “Million”, New York City Dept. of Education 

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to us all when he says, “If we‟re not looking at everything, shame on us.” The Million campaign shows how we can hypercharge our ideas with technology partners, incentive programs and self-sustaining solutions. Let these schoolchildren remind us that when we get to a proper insight — like the peer-to-peer motivation of this campaign — anything is possible. 

3. “Oasis Dig Out Your Soul in the Streets”, Warner Bros. Records 

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I would not want to be in the music industry right now. Little control over distribution, no clear-cut categories, fickle consumers and unlimited competition. Warner Bros. fought back by finding the “tipping point‟ for new artists: The street. As one of the band members says, “It‟s so easy to get caught up in the hooh-hah of it all, when all it‟s about is the music, really.” Insert the word product for music and find your own beat. 




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