NOBBY'S DIARY: ANDY'S JUDGING IN BUENOS AIRES, DAY 1
Saatchi & Saatchi Australia executive creative director David Nobay is in Buenos Aires, judging the Andy's, along with a star-studded panel of the best creatives in the world, including Mother´s founder, Mark Waites, DDB Chief Bob Scarpelli, Leo Burnett's Mark Tutssel and Crispin´s ECD Andrew Keller. Here is his first daily report...
So, like a good trooper, I fly thousands of miles, pass through four separate airports and 20 odd hours later stagger into the sumptuous arms of The Four Seasons Hotel in Buenos Aires. And all for a little head. Not just any head mind you: the most coveted little head stateside (and given the international jury, I suspect soon to join our worldwide shopping list, too). I´m talking the ANDY - a kind of decapitated Oscar, that comes in three colours this year: bronze, silver and now gold. Better still, if you do snag a gold, it's now accompanied by its own ring, Super Bowl style. I kinda like that. A gong you can wear. (Maybe a Gold Lion medallion's up next, to wear dangling across your chest as you swagger down the Croisette).
Gongs aside, I love this crazy town. As always on these arduous business trips, I'm accompanied by Lady Saatchi, my wife Nikoll. This is our third time in Buenos Aires, and surely not our last. You have to admire any country that lists "Are you now, or have you ever been a Vegetarian?" on the Immigration Form.
Dutifully, I respect local custom and ignore the clouds of jetlag by joining Bob Greenberg, Head of R/GA, for some late night cow and a few bottles of Vino Tinto. Bob´s a revelation! Apart from running the top digital creative hotshop in the world, looking like Woody Allen meets Harpo Marx and sounding like the comedian Stephen Wright, he boasts a CV (ex boxer/biker/film producer) that even rivals Frenchy´s "Matador/Rock Manager path to adland´s door.
Next morning, I question the wisdom of that third bottle as Mark Tutssel, Leo Burnett’s WW Creative Chief and the ANDY´s Chairman kicks off breakfast with introductions to the jury and gives our day´s briefing. He´s assembled quite a cast: Mother´s founder, Mark Waites, DDB Chief, Bob Scarpelli, Crispin´s ECD, Andrew Keller and our regional star from Thailand, Thirasak Tanapatanakul, to name but a few. As with Cannes, we´re sectioned off immediately into smaller teams to start thinning out the thousands of entries.
I join my old mate Tuts and Andrew Keller in a small room with a big screen, comforted by the knowledge that this is the second cull (the first happening a couple of weeks ago back in the States). Alas, within minutes of our first reel, it’s painfully clear that their scalpel didn’t cut too deep: most of what we’re presented with is garbage that, as with all major shows, begs the question "who enters this stuff and surely there are more entertaining ways of throwing away thousands of dollars?"
Still, mustn’t grumble. Those limp entries are, I assume, paying for my rather impressive room eight floors up. Thankfully, we’re spared the dreaded automotive category and we get down to three hrs of fast food ads, followed by Best Original Soundtrack for dessert.
Here’s a strange thing: while most of the food ads were conceptually lame, the sight of hours of drooling pizzas and overloaded buns has left me and the boys salivating. I guess ads do work. (Which, given my present profession, can’t be a bad thing).
Andrew, Tuts and I soon set a cracking pace, synchronizing our responses until we become a single, united, throbbing muscle (no, not that one!) over our respective keypads. Such is our collective chemistry that we finish a good hour ahead of the slower teams next door and are immediately rewarded with a hefty slab of their unfinished categories to vote. (NOTE TO SELF: don’t show off tomorrow.)
That night, as most of the Jury head off for a sophisticated evening of Tango and cocktails, I sneak out a side door in search of the nearest McDonalds and Dominoes. If nothing else, the ads today were effective!