Zoo Republic Duo Beat Out Agency Creatives For Salmat Showdown Win

Amanda Jennings and Edbert Wahjudi from Zoo Republic won the inaugural Salmat Showdown with their innovative Letterbox Media concept for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

The duo competed against 30 teams from Australia’s best advertising agencies including BMF, Common Ventures, Droga5, Edelman, Havas, M&C Saatchi, McCann, Mercer Bell, OMD, RAPP and many others  in the “I Wish I’d Thought of That” Salmat Showdown on Friday evening. In 90 minutes, the teams had to brainstorm and create a Letterbox Media concept that is original, inspired and demonstrates an ability to drive awareness and donations for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

The judging panel consisted of executive creative directors Ashadi Hopper from Lowe Profero and Brian Merrifield from Common Ventures; Salmat’s national head of agency sales, Luke Sullivan; Fred Hollows’ associate director, marketing and fundraising, Nicola Stewart; and B&T’s very own editor in chief, David Hovenden.

The winning Letterbox Media concept was selected for its creativity, ‘shareability’ and practicality of execution. The team wanted to show people how blindness can make the simplest of tasks difficult, but in a fun and social way. They created a Letterbox Media piece designed to go to a selection of the Australian population. It contained a mask, paper and pencil and asked the recipient to draw a loved one while blindfolded. It then asks that person to share their drawing on social media and ask their friends and family to try the same challenge, while also donating to The Fred Hollows Foundation. The concept will be refined and finalised with Zoo Republic and then turned into a national campaign by Salmat on behalf of The Fred Hollows Foundation.

One half of the winning team, Amanda Jennings said, “I’m really looking forward to working with Salmat and The Fred Hollows Foundation with my team at The Zoo Republic to bring this idea to life. It is fantastic to be able to work on a project that changes lives.”

Her teammate Edbert Wahjudi added, “The whole event was an amazing experience. The main reason I joined was to see other people’s ideas and to learn from them, and we certainly got to do that. The competition level was so high.”

Coming a very close second was the inspirational and decorated team from BMF – Simon Fowler and Nicole Hetherington – with their ‘Must See Movies’ pitch. They walked away with a pair of Beats speakers, and sneakily, the winner’s champagne.

Salmat’s Sullivan said, “It was amazing to see so many gifted creatives applying their talents to Letterbox Media. The final results spoke volumes about not only the level of talent in the room but also the potential for Letterbox Media to be used in innovative ways.”

Ed Pullen, Salmat’s head of marketing, added, “The quality of work from every participant showed not only thoughtful and robust preparation but a genuine respect for both the event and the Letterbox Media channel. We can’t be grateful enough for this effort and are thankful to have had such an inspirational group of creatives in the room.”

“The competition was very tight, but we chose Amanda and Edbert’s concept because it was the whole package – it was original, it was shareable, it was practical and most importantly, it harnessed the power of The Foundation’s current ambassadors,” said B&T’s Hovenden.

“I really enjoyed being part of tonight because I think awards like these, where young creatives are encouraged to have a go, are important in our industry. Everyone here that didn’t win is going to be thinking about what they need to do to win next year, and it’s that competitive spirit that makes this industry work.”

Judge and Fred Hollows representative Nicola Stewart said, “There were so many fantastic ideas presented that it was hard to pick just one winner. In the end though, we really felt that Amanda and Edbert presented a powerful campaign concept that will not only engage our audience but encourage them to act. We can’t wait to see the concept brought to life by Salmat and see the tangible results.”

As well as having their idea turned into a national campaign, the winning team received tickets, flights, accommodation and $2,000 spending money to attend Spikes Asia; a fine-dining experience at Rockpool Bar and Grill Sydney; and will have their wining concept entered into the Spikes Asia Awards and the ADMA Australian Creativity & Effectiveness Awards.

To see what actually went down on the night, check out #salmatshowdown on Twitter.