The Scottish Advertising Awards 2002
If last year’s Scottish Advertising Awards were all about domination, as The Leith Agency tightened its creative grip on the event, this year’s theme is of a slightly more stretchy nature. Spandex, perhaps, as the creatives took their corners to try and wrestle the awards out of the clutch of their rivals and peers.
The awards were aptly billed the AdWars – and this year they certainly didn’t disappoint, with The Union grappling with The Leith Agency, Faulds and 1576 for the belt.
The Union managed to wriggle out of The Leith Agency’s four-year-long creative headlock two years ago, but last year the creative crown was wrestled back to the “shore” in an impressive show of strength.
However, this year, The Union has again been proclaimed the Big Daddy of the Scottish Advertising Awards 2002, beating all comers into submission as it scooped ten of the 30 awards handed out on the night of a thousand bars, sorry, stars.
It was The Leith Agency that was again awarded the Grand Prix Prize, however, for its “Pintlings” campaign, having picked up the same accolade last year for its Orangina ads.
Marcus Vinton of Spring London, chairman of the judging panel – which also included Mick Mahoney of Mustoe Merriman Levy, Paul Silburn of TBWA/London, Guy Moore from Malcolm Moore Deakin Hutson, Danny Brooke-Taylor of BDH/ TBWA, Rob Porteous from Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, Elliot Wilson of Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters – selected Navigator Responsive Advertising for the Chairman’s Award for its in-house recruitment advert.
But it was to be The Union’s night. The agency won ten awards in total for their clients Baxter’s, the Balmoral Health Club and the National Galleries of Scotland, as well as the title of Scotland’s Favourite Advert for its s1 “Ice-Cream” van commercial.
Guy Vickerstaff and Phil Evans left the awards having scooped more accolades than any other creative team too. However, it will be interesting to see next year how The Union fills the gap left by their departure, as Evans and Vickerstaff – along with account director, Caroline Garrad – found their own agency, Bond.
The second most rewarded team this year, winning seven awards and ten commendations, was The Leith. As well as the Grand Prix prize the agency won in the Best Use of Small Space, Best TV Campaign, Best Short TV Commercial, Best TV Ad of 21–30 Seconds, Best Advert Over 30 Seconds and Best Cinema Campaign for clients Irn Bru, Tennent’s and 20/20 Opticians.
But again the Leith is faced with the same problem as the Union, as deputy creative director Gareth Howells, accompanied by a small team from the Leith, which is leaving the agency to work on the Tennent’s account that the agency was forced to resign.
In third place was Faulds with four awards and eight commendations for clients that included the Scottish Executive, The Drum and Scottish National Blood Transfusion Services.
Next was 1576, also winning four awards for work done with VisitScotland, The Fantasy Bar, White Dental Care and Nairn Golf Club. However the agency picked up seven fewer commendations than Faulds. Navigator Responsive Advertising and MTP were both rewarded with two awards and The Bridge, unexpectedly, only received one award.
Ice Commercials, 60 Watt, CitigateSMARTS, Dijitol, Merle and Story all received commendations.
But these awards would not be possible if it weren’t for the ideas, the inspiration, the hard work and the nights in the pub spent by the creatives.
The Drum now talks to the teams behind the ads about their briefs (creative that is, not their pants) and the inspiration behind some of the most rewarded campaigns of the year.
The judging panel this year was chaired by Marcus Vinton of Spring London and also included:
Mick MahoneyMustoe Merriman Levy
Rob PorteousRainey, Kelly, Campbell, Rolfe/Y&R
Richard DraycottEditor, The Drum
Guy Vickerstaff & Phil Evans
Baxter’s of Speyside & National Galleries of Scotland
“Baxter’s wasn’t too enthusiastic about some of the initial ideas that had been put to them for the campaign and we were drafted in at the eleventh hour. The media was already booked and we had a weekend to produce something. So we went to the pub – for some intensive brainstorming.
“We liked the idea of slicing the vegetables in half as it was simple. It was a new fresh soup brand so, in the marketplace it was competing in, it had to be seen as contemporary – something that has not perhaps always been synonymous with Baxter’s. We needed to get out of the traditional stereotyping that surrounds Baxter’s but keep the elements of quality, while introducing a modern and different feel.
“There were two reasons we went for the halved veg. One, we loved the simplicity. Two, we only had ‘til Monday.
“The brief for the National Galleries of Scotland was nice, but tricky. We had to aim the work at a young audience. Stop students going to the pub and get them to go see some art. The posters had to be visually arresting and appeal to students who are very marketing literate.
“We wanted to create this odd reality. A kind of underworld that really isn’t too dissimilar to our own. A world where those who didn’t go to art galleries grew deformities. On first glance you know that there is something wrong with the subject, but you have to look really hard to spot it. Oddly real. Originally we created six characters, but we whittled them down to just four, the best four.”
Gareth Howells, Dougal Wilson & Gerry Farrell
The Leith Agency
Tennent’s Lager (Pintlings)
“With Tennent’s we have had the same brief for quite a few years now – to make it uniquely desirable.
“We bounced a few suggestions about and eventually came up with the idea of a lost tribe of ‘Pintlings’, which is stumbled across and drunk, making them extinct.
“That idea spent a time in production and we moved the idea on. We started to think ‘who had drunk the Pintlings?’ ‘Who’d murdered them?’
“That’s when we came up with the Taggart/7even-inspired story line. 7even with Scottish voices. It even had a bit of that Morgan/Pitt relationship going on – the young, eager rookie and the slightly cynical, seen-it-all-before old stalwart.
We sent the scripts off to the celebs, a good, proper A-list, and they must have liked it because they jumped at the chance to be involved.”
“Dougal’s doing well in London with Blink Productions – he’s recently directed an ad for Friends Reunited, but he’s still too tall for his own good. It was definitely the right move for both of us – and my career’s certainly progressed since I got rid of that dead-weight,” adds Howells, tongue firmly in cheek.
David Aylesbury & Martin Hartley
Scottish Executive & The Scottish Ad Awards 2002
“The brief that we were given was to ask the question, how does your drinking affect you and others around you?
“The Scottish Executive is usually very good at considering the brief and really lets you explore and develop it to get the maximum effect.
“We worked really hard on the brief with three teams all putting together scripts. Six scripts were eventually put forward to the client and they chose ours to develop for TV, radio and posters.
“Our inspiration came from hard work, plain and simple, not a flash of inspiration. The only flashes in our office are of Martin's belly when he takes his jumper off. The radio campaign had us stumped for a while – it was a very visual idea after all, so we tried to do a very visual radio script.”
“Guys in the office think that the client chose our script because of the extensive ‘research’ we put into it.
In this case it looks like drink actually helped them and others around them. Ironic.
“The work for The Drum that we did really came from doing it in the past – not having ad wars that is, but jumbling up the letters to make anagrams of the words on the announcement board. Normally people just make up rude words and stuff. We thought we could turn it into something a little more clever.”
David Reid & Adrian Jeffery
“We wanted to show the majesty and the uniqueness of Scotland. Show how it can help you leave things behind. Stress. VisitScotland is always quite open in its briefs and allows for a great deal of creativity and flexibility.
“When we first won the account, myself and Adrian went on a tour around Scotland staying at cheap B&Bs and a few expensive hotels – a real wide range of places – to get a real feel of Scotland from a tourist’s perspective.
“Although the focus has changed slightly now, the initial focus for the campaign was always the ‘stress-buster’.
“Our tour of Scotland pre-dated the 1576 camper van – besides, it is not ideal for long trips because it is a left-hand drive and has a sticky second gear. We do still take it for the odd jaunt around Arthur’s Seat though.”
“The Nairn Golf Club idea came up when I was chatting to a friend of mine who happens to be the club pro at Nairn.
“He was telling me that he wasn’t getting to teach much and I wasn’t surprised because the advertising spend for the club was next to nothing, or actually nothing.
“I explained to him about ambient advertising and how you don’t need money for the media, just the advert. We had had the idea of putting signs around a golf course for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity. The ads – little metal signs – fitted well in the surroundings, but with a sense of humour. It worked, he got calls from customers who were looking for their balls saying ‘I’ve just seen your ad in the rough.’