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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  ihaveanidea’s 2010 Annual Report

ihaveanidea’s 2010 Annual Report

Posted on December 31, 2010 and read 3,013 times

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brettcreditpic ihaveanidea’s 2010 Annual ReportBrett McKenzie
Chief Writer, SBN2

Amazing. I can’t believe 2010 is already over. And what a year it has been! The advertising industry went from “woe is us” to “wow, it’s us!” We laughed at the stupid feminine hygiene product-sounding “iPad”, but stopped laughing and started coveting once we got it in our hands on it, and we watched an ad god remove himself from his “Ivory Cottage” to live life on his own terms.

We at ihaveanidea did a little “on our own terms” living in 2010, branching out in different directions as we saw fit, not necessarily as how more traditional companies would do things. It made for a little bit of tightrope walking, a significant amount of faith and a whole truck load of adventure, but here we are, still standing on December 31st.

Normally when I write annual reports, I like to take things on chronologically, starting in January and working my way through December. This year, I’ve decided to shake things up by first talking about what REALLY shook things up in ihaveanidea-land. And believe me, quite a lot has gone down in 2010!


Let’s start with the crown jewel of the ihaveanidea calendar, Portfolio Night 8. If you recall 2009, you’ll remember that the global advertising industry was in a bit of a tailspin, with agencies cutting their budgets and shrinking their staff. While that certainly made things more difficult for us to put on an event such as Portfolio Night, we felt that is was more important than ever to push forward with PN7. Fortunately perennial Global Partner Corbis and newcomer Global partner Ogilvy & Mather shared our faith, and Portfolio Night 7 became a surprising success in twenty cities around the world.

In 2010, however, trepidation within the industry was replaced by courage. People realized that the sky wasn’t exactly falling, and if it was, new talent and new technologies made for great umbrellas. And so Portfolio Night 8 saw the world’s largest portfolio review back at full strength with a vengeance. With Ogilvy back on board as our Global Agency partner, Portfolio Night expanded to a record-shattering 39 cities, beating PN6’s total of 22. PN8 saw the return of cities such as London and Mexico City, as well as an astonishing array of all-new cities: Athens, Atlanta, Austin, Brussels, Cairo, Caracas, Dublin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Jeddah, Kuwait, Madrid, Manama, Mumbai, Philadelphia, Seattle, Shanghai, Stockholm, Taipei and Tel Aviv. Whew! Throw in nineteen returning cities and two new Global Partners in Adobe and Microsoft Advertising, and PN8 was certainly the grandest event in ihaveanidea history!

One of the fun things that leading up to Portfolio Night each year is that we allow each city to create a video to promote the event locally. It’s a chance for the agencies to flex their creative muscles a bit and have some fun. This year saw two dozen different videos from all over the world, Some of our favorites included:


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Ogilvy Memac Dubai’s incredible mishmash of advertising taglines…

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Leo Burnett Madid’s “Creative Director Candid Camera” which was shortlisted at Cannes this year…

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Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai’s overly protective junior…

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Quebec City with a rarity: a portfolio night ad where the CD, not the kid, gets the abuse…


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Gitam BBDO Tel Aviv’s graphic war epic…

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…and Y&R’s tale of a young man who is ‘gay for advertising.’

When the big day came — and by some miracle the date of May 20th didn’t conflict with a single holiday anywhere — it was a humungous success. Thousands of CDs and even more young copywriters, art directors, advertising designers and technologists all met in a flurry of advice giving and receiving, not to mention the occasional job offer. We even worked with our latest ihaveanidea and Portfolio Night Partner Blurb to compile the best of the best work from PN8 into an annual that has been selling far above our expectations!

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PN8 Austin


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PN8 Frankfurt

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PN8 London (on a boat!)

Rest assured, we are already hard at work putting together Portfolio Night 9, scheduled for May 26th —  have you visited the new site yet? Be sure to scrounge around for some old fashioned 3D glasses before you do! And contact us if you want your agency or company to be involved. We are always looking for new cities and Global Partners to take Portfolio Night to the next level!

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Now with Portfolio Night 8 being not only ihaveanidea’s biggest event in 2010, but the biggest event in our history, you couldn’t blame us if we just put up our feet and coasted the rest of the year. But hey, that’s not our style! While we were preparing for PN8, we were also burning the midnight oil launching not one, but two all new initiatives to our ihaveanidea audience and the ad industry as a whole.

Over the years, many people have jokingly asked us when were going to start our own award show. After all, we knew people from all the top agencies all over the world, and probably learned a thing or three by working alongside some of the most respected advertising award shows in the world. But our response was usually just a laugh and a shrug. We didn’t want to dive into that world until we thought of something very different, something that could educate as much as celebrate, and something that industry leaders could get behind.

That “something” came in early 2010 in the form of the Tomorrow Awards.

Now we knew that for each person that asked us about starting a new award show, there must be at least five people who’d say it was the last thing our industry needed. So in launching the Tomorrow Awards, we knew we needed to be different, and to have that difference actually mean something. And so we set up our own guidelines:

• No categories: technology has been moving at an alarming rate, giving us in the ad industry new and exciting media options to work with each year. Most award shows have responded to this by creating ‘miscellaneous’ categories to accommodate things they can’t quite squeeze into their existing categories, and adding new categories in future years once they’ve figured out what to call these new things. And the more categories there are, the more of a shell game it becomes for agencies entering multiple pieces. Of course, multiple entries mean multiple entry fees, which tend to make award shows happy (notice they always say “entries were up this year by 6%”, never “entry fees netted us 6% more cash than last year.”) Our goal with the Tomorrow Awards was to do away with categories. The consumers we are supposed to be courting don’t view the thousands of messages they see every day into “TV commercials over 30 seconds but under $50,000”, so why should we? Amazing and innovative is amazing and innovative, no matter if it’s a 3D TV spot or a geo-location fuelled iPhone app. So the Tomorrow Awards got rid of all categories — including ones that would have agencies entering the same individual ads or campaigns multiple times in multiple categories for multiple fees.


• Industry Voting: We wanted the industry to help decide the winners, not just the big muckety-mucks who normally sit on juries. So the first round of judging is handled by hundreds of ad people from all over the world, from students in ad school all the way up to famous Worldwide CCOs. We wanted to do this so that we had the industry truly engaged in what was new and fresh, and introducing them to new possibilities that they could bring to their own work. A clever marketing exec might call this process “crowdsourcing.” We just called it “voting”.

• Giving back to the industry: from ihaveanidea’s very inception, we’ve sought to provide the advertising industry with various things, whether it was knowledge (our articles and interviews), advice (the ever-popular “Ask Jancy” column), camaraderie (the Forum and various events) and opportunity (Portfolio Night). With the Tomorrow Awards, we wanted to help guide the next generation of innovative creatives, and so from day one we pledged to give 10% of all entry fees directly to schools who we believed were doing an incredible job in preparing their students to not just enter the advertising industry, but to lead it.

So with those guidelines in mind, the Tomorrow Awards were launched. And what an inspiring first round it was for us! We received more than our modest estimate of entries, from big multinationals to small digital shops we had never heard of, but whose work blew us away! Our first found of judging included more than 450 public judges from around the globe, who narrowed down all entries to a shortlist of 50 phenomenal pieces. These shortlisted entries were prominently featured on the Tomorrow Awards and ihaveanidea sites, as well as passed onto our esteemed “Monster Judges” who selected five entries to receive the first ever Tomorrow Awards trophies:

And this year we selected two world-class advertising schools to receive a share of the entry fees towards scholarships: our old friends at the VCU Brandcenter in the US, and our new friends at Hyper Island in Sweden.

Has the Tomorrow Awards changed the world yet? Not quite, but 2010 was a great kick-off year, and we are hopeful for an even more revolutionary showing in 2011! By the way… entries are NOW OPEN, and the deadline is February 16th, 2011, so enter today! You know you need one of these bad boys in your trophy case!

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The OTHER major announcement we at ihaveanidea had in 2010 also stemmed from a common question we’ve been asked over the years: “when are you gonna start your own agency?” After all, all of the ihaveanidea originals come from the ad agency world. Well we aren’t quite ready for that just yet, but 2010 marked the launch of a project that we’ve been working on for over three years (and have the battle scars to prove it).

In June of 2010 we proudly launched Giant Hydra.

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Immediately we had hundreds of ad people from all over the world apply to become ‘HydraHeads’, and several agencies inquired about how to implement the system into their work. We also had some agencies calling to say very bad things to us about how it’ll never work, but that’s just been extra incentive for us!

While each project we’ve worked on through Giant Hydra with different agencies and clients has been unique, the basic idea is the same:

  • The agency posts the basic details of the project (type of project, length of time, how many HydraHeads they are looking for, payment etc.)
  • HydraHeads in the system decide if they wish to work on such a project, and if they do, they apply. They need not invest any time working on a brief at this point; they are chosen much like a real world freelancer would be: a sharp resume, a brilliant portfolio and a track record of great, timely work.
  • The agency pores over the applicants and assembles a team for the project.
  • Once the team is assembled, they are introduced to each other and fully briefed. Then they work on the project together, within Giant Hydra, relying on each others strengths and opinions to craft several fleshed out ideas for the agency.
  • The agency’s contact (usually the creative director) can observe and guide the entire process, helping the team focus on directions that he or she likes, and steer the team away from directions that don’t seem fruitful.
  • In the end, the agency has scores of solid new ideas at their fingertips, the team members have built up a camaraderie that extends beyond continents (and into other projects) and everyone is paid for their efforts.

So far we have had the pleasure of working with agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, TBWA Worldwide, Taxi, VCCP Blue and Blammo Worldwide. We have also worked with production companies like Untitled Films, and even directly with clients such as Yellowbrick in the Netherlands. The HydraHead teams have been made up of people from Toronto to Tokyo, from Lisbon to London and from San Fran to Sao Paulo, and have been everyone from a fresh out of ad school superstar to a well respected CD with multiple awards to his name.

It’s been pretty exciting so far, and the agencies and the HydraHeads have played important roles in making Giant Hydra better with each project. We already have some cool new features ready to be added in the weeks to come, and new projects ready to be fed to the HydraHeads. 2011 is looking to be a really fun time to be part of Giant Hydra, whether you’re an agency, a HydraHead, or if you’re me or Ignacio watching it all unfold!


While Portfolio Night 8, the Tomorrow Awards and Giant Hydra were the three most monumental things to happen in ihaveanidea-land this past year, they weren’t the only things. On the contrary, we kept busy throughout the year, meeting fascinating people and visiting awesome places. 2010 meant our return to the Cannes Lions back in June. Back in 2009, a significant number of people bailed on the granddaddy of advertising festivals due to the trobled economy, but it was back in almost full force this year (DDB and Leo Burnett haven’t brought back their dueling Friday night parties yet). You can check out our adventures along the French Riviera, from the insane mountain drives to the night nobody remembers, all right here. There’s so much detail here you can almost feel the rum being sweated out our pores.

2010 also meant coverage to not one but two big events down in Richmond, Virginia at the VCU Brandcenter. The first one was the school’s annual “Recruiter Sessions”, where CDs and recruiters from all over North America visit the campus to get their hands on some phenomenal talent. The second trip was to cover the school’s Executive Education course for Creative Directors. It had been a number of years since we last visited this course, and we can honestly say that in this ever changing world, it is more crucial than ever for budding CDs to register and take part. For the rest of you, hey, you can live vicariously through my coverage of all five days.

Ihaveanidea was also fortunate enough to work alongside two new sponsors this year; audo production phenoms The Eggplant and editing gurus Stealing Time. Their support gave us the chance to reach out and visit more agencies for our ever-popular Agency Profiles. They’ve started to be posted in our Articles section, and expect more profiles in the future from cities lik Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia.

Speaking of articles, 2010 also marked the beginning of a new column on ihaveanidea. Schenck’s Take features looks at some of the most compelling campaigns out there today, all penned by the keen wit of renowned creative director and consultant Ernie Schenck. Look for more of Ernie’s musings in the new year.

I don’t know if there was something in the water this year, but 2010 also brought us some of our best received interviews of all time. Maybe it’s because of the sheer star power we were fortunate to chat with this year: Crispin’s new worldwide CCO Rob Reilly, Y&R Worldwide CCO Tony Granger, TBWA\Chiat\Day LA Group CD Jimmy Smith… the list goes on! And expect the list to go on in the new year.

Well that’s pretty much the entire year of the ihaveanidea that you normally see; behind the scenes, this was also a year of change. In 2010 we said goodbye to our fantastic Event Director Stephanie Pellicer, who crossed over to give the agency side a try (she’ll be back, MWAHAHAHA!) In her place, we say not only hello but welcome back to Alfred Park, the new Event Director. Longtime ihaveanidea fans may recall the name; Alfred was a key player in Portfolio Night 5, the first year our star event went worldwide. And he’s already working his magic on Portfolio Night 9.

We also said goodbye to the “ihaveanidea Towers”, our cool offices in Old Montreal, and hello to, well, even cooler offices, also in Old Montreal. What makes the new office better?

  • We finally have an elevator!
  • We have a pretty sweet kitchen
  • We have a lot more neighborhood dining options, including the first Five Guys Burgers in the city (which still hasn’t opened yet, but we are waiting.)

If you’re ever in “la belle province” be sure to give us a shout!

Well that pretty much concludes our look back on 2010 at ihaveanidea. On behalf of Ignacio, Nat, Brendan, Rafik and Alfred, I’d like to thank you all for your gracious support throughout the year. Here’s to an incredible 2011, for you, for us, and for the whole advertising industry that we all love so much.




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