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Jimmy Smith: ANDY Diary 2011

Posted on March 4, 2011 and read 3,324 times

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jimmys Jimmy Smith: ANDY Diary 2011Jimmy Smith
Group Creative Director
TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles

Award season is upon us once again. The granddaddy of them all, the Cannes Lions, is fleshing out their juries, the Clios has their call for entries ending soon, and even we at ihaveanidea are in the midst of having hundreds of ad people around the world formulate the shortlist for the Winter 2011 session of the Tomorrow Awards.

The International ANDY Awards has considerably fewer judges than that, and are known for bringing them to some  exotic tropical location each year to select the very best work, work that often sets the tone for the rest of the award show season. The 2011 judging just wrapped up in the British Virgin Islands (lucky bastards) and we were fortunate enough to snag one of the judge’s diaries. And not just any judge’s diary, but the one by our homeboy Jimmy Smith, Group CD of TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles, and star of one of our best received interviews last year. And without further ado, we present Jimmy’s “off the skillet” thoughts on judging this year’s ANDYS.


Wus good, y’all?  Just finished judging the ANDYS, along with a judging crew that was off the skillet!  In the words of the Godfather of Soul, I had a funky good time.

Now, I know no one is going to feel sorry for me and the rest of the judges.  After all, the judging took place on the Scrub Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands.  HOWEVER, as many of you know, there’s not a whole lot of play.  Quite the contrary.  In fact, we’re inside all day, looking at ad campaign after ad campaign, all the while knowing that we could be playing in the ocean.

OK, OK, OK, I know.  There will be no tears shed for us.

I must say this year’s crop of work made the judging process move a lot more swiftly.  There was a lot of work that I wished I had done.  There was some radio for a product called Machos that made me laugh every time I heard it.  And trust me, that’s saying something, because I heard it a LOT.  The Most Interesting Man in the World campaign for XX beer is one of the most interesting I’ve seen.  It should be turned into a TV show or movie.  I was digging the Philips stuff with the robot and the magic box.  Mitsubishi’s idea where consumers could virtually drive a car was bananas.  The Nike Film Room joint reminded me of an old school NYC basketball joint…but with the technology, which is something W+K’s Dr. Jay (AKA John Jay) and I didn’t have back in the day.  Of course, being from Michigan, I was a sucker for Marshall Mathers’ shout out to Detroit with the Chrysler 200.  Of course, all of the usual suspect stuff was beyond dope: Arcade Fire, that Darth Vader kid and The Man Your Man Should Smell Like.


Fuck trends.

There’s no point in telling you, because it’ll be over by the time you have your next concepting session with your partner.  Plus, you don’t want to ride a trend.  You want to set the trend.

How about telling you about some trends that should have never been started? For instance, saying you used Facebook and Twitter is like saying you used NBC and FOX to run your commercial.

If I had a nickel for every case study that said their technology idea was the first to ever be done in the world, I’d have enough money to buy that billionaire Russian’s yacht that zooms around the BVI.  Let the judges decide if you’re the first.  When you say it, it will only prompt a judge to dig as deep as she or he possibly can to prove you wrong.

Entering your work in a ton of categories is also probably not a good idea.  If something is dope when you first see it, it tends to lose its luster by the 110th showing.  And it really hurts your chances of getting a gold, silver or bronze, even if it’s worthy.  Enter your work in just a few categories, even if you think entering it only a few times may hurt your chances in another category.  9 times out of 10 the judges will move it to the appropriate category.

I’d probably go easy on the “crowd sourcing thing.”  Saw a lot of that.  In most cases it’s far from new and it made it seem as if the creative team couldn’t come up with an idea.  So someone said, “I got an idea!  We’ll have the consumers come up with the ideas, because we’re all out of  ‘em!”

The case study is NOT the idea.  The IDEA is the idea.  That doesn’t mean your case study shouldn’t be excellent.  But don’t waste your time and money entering an artful case study in which the sole purpose is to cover up a weak idea.  The judges are like bloodhounds.  Only we sniff out the idea or the lack thereof. Cats hungry for awards still attempted the easy route and tried to slip in fake ideas.  We weren’t having it.  So when the awards are announced and your fake work didn’t make it, that’s why.

OK, that’s it for trends.  As for some of the good work that didn’t get in the show, like my mentor Jo Muse used to say, “Don’t let it get’cha babblin’.”  God willing, you were simply ahead of your time and we simply didn’t get it.  THAT’S A DOPE PLACE TO BE!  I remember Stacey Wall did Lil Penny and a lot of shows slept on that.  Hell, even Lee Clow’s work has been missed by judges from time to time.  Think that makes him any less of a legend?

Just keep on keeping on until we catch up.

And then there’s the work that was very, very good and just missed out because we simply had to draw the line somewhere.  Nothing to be bummed about.  Show us what idiots we were by winning some other show.  Or better yet, bust your ass on your next campaign to the point where the judges would have to be Stevie Wonder to miss it.

Unless it’s radio.  icon wink Jimmy Smith: ANDY Diary 2011

Godspeed – Jimmy




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