The Immortal Awards in association withJSM

Inside the Jury Room: Three Finalists Chosen from The Immortal Awards ANZ Judging Day

London, UK
LBB’s Delmar Terblanche reports on the process inside the jury room as the seventeen shortlisted works are narrowed down to just three

Wednesday, November 16th saw Aussie and Kiwi works duke it out during the ANZ judging. A trans-Tasman panel debated subjects such as originality, craft, and audience effect, as the best work from the region was closely, meticulously assessed. Judging was an online affair this year, and, in keeping with post-2020 fashion, took the form of a spirited Zoom call. 

Jurors consisted of Anny Havercroft (head of business marketing AUNZ, TikTok), Cam Blackley (chief creative officer, M&C Saatchi Australia), Claire Waring (executive creative director, R/GA), Leisa Wall (co-CCO, FCB NZ), Paul Nagy (chief creative officer Australia & New Zealand, VMLY&R), Rob Galluzzo (founder and CEO, FINCH), Stephen de Wolf (national chief creative officer, DDB Australia) and Tara Ford (chief creative officer, The Monkeys).

"Every year we see some truly fantastic work from across Australia and New Zealand submitted into the Immortals, so the ANZ day is one we look forward to,” says Paul Monan, awards director at Little Black Book. “I have to thank our jury for their time and efforts in judging this year; the conversations on the day were tough. The Immortals bar is set pretty high and our jury more than upheld those standards this year. The trio of projects that have made it through to the regional round are outstanding and we can't wait to see how far they can go in the competition."

The jurors dug into the work eagerly, but without ego. Instead, all displayed a keen understanding of the ANZ market; its commonalities as well as its differences. Careful observations were made about the cultural state of both countries, and how advertising best engages with it: Does it create culture? Or does it merely engage with culture? And what are the responsibilities of either position?

Three works were selected to enter the final round of APAC Judging. These were:

  • Matilda Bay Brewery - Rejected Ales (submitted by Howatson+Company)
  • ROLLiN' - Larry (submitted by Bear Meets Eagle On Fire, Revolver & The Editors) 
  • Waka Kotahi New Zealand - Toll Booth (submitted by FCB NZ)

Shortlisted for the ANZ competition but not progressing further were:

  • 3M Post-it - A Little Space to Think (Dig Agency)
  • Australian Federal Police - Crime Interrupted (Host/Havas)
  • Bodyright - Bodyright (TBWA\New Zealand)
  • Common Ground - Dreamy (Ogilvy Australia)
  • Defence Force Recruiting - Audio Ad You Can See (VMLY&R Melbourne)
  • Defence Force Recruiting - See What Your Shipmates Can't (VMLY&R Melbourne)
  • Dept. of Mental Health, University of Melbourne - Boys Do Cry (The Hallway & ARC EDIT)
  • KFC - Degustation (Ogilvy Australia)
  • Raiz - Raiz Your Game (PLAZA)
  • Royal Australian Mint - Donation Dollar (Saatchi & Saatchi Australia)
  • Stake - The Takeover (Bear Meets Eagle On Fire & Rumble Studios)
  • TVNZ - It's Free. But It Could Cost You. (Dentsu Creative Sydney & ARC Edit)
  • Uber Eats - Choose Your Own AO (Special Group Sydney)
  • United Nations Development Programme - The Birds & The Bees (Wunderman Thompson Sydney)

Several themes were raised during discussion, with both originality and craft being highlighted as clear turning points in the assessment. Several works, including Donation Dollar and both Defence Force Recruiting spots, were compared explicitly to past campaigns on the same subject, with the question being raised of whether they were bringing enough “new” to the table.

But the biggest deciding factor in elevating the three finalists was something intangible. The term “feel it” was used at least two dozen times during the session; a shorthand for that ineffable quality the jurors looked for when selecting a piece of work. It came up especially when discussing Boys Do Cry and Dreamy, ads which engaged with the thorny issues of male suicide and Indigenous culture in Australia respectively. In both cases, the main point of contention was that simple, hard to define question - “do I feel it?” Even among the more humorous works, that same question came to the fore. 

The jurors remarked, also, what a high standard of work they’d been able to enjoy today, and offered their congratulations to all participants.

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