Forty-five esteemed creative leaders from around the world were selected to judge the Caples Awards 2023 under the leadership of jury president, Laura Jordan-Bambach, president and chief creative officer at Grey London. Among them were representatives for Australia and New Zealand: Matt Batten, executive creative director at Momentum and Tara McKenty, chief innovation officer and Co-ECD at BMF
McKenty and Batten took B&T behind the scenes of the virtual judging room, ahead of the awards presentation night this week in London.
“My experience judging the Caple’s this year can only be described as delightful disorder. It was adjudicated by the prolific Patrick Collister, a person who is so devoted to our industry it reminds you that legends do exist, and you feel the very privilege of merely sharing a zoom call with his passion. Grey’s President Laura Jordan Bambach did a tremendous job ensuring no good idea was left un-debated and acted as Chief Banter Wrangler, steering the conversation back from terrific tangents and judges persevering points of views (often my own!).”
“I have never been in a jury room quiet like the Caple’s. It was unique. Filled with personality (mainly Patrick’s) and pure passion for the purity and originality of the idea, not the polish! I witnessed no bias toward regions, networks, or how shiny an awards video was. What won at the Caple’s was simply the best, the most progressive, and the bravest idea.”
“A Caple’s jury room is not for everyone. It is chaotic and charming at the same time, it is there to get the job done, ensuring that great ideas are recognised, especially the humble ideas that bigger award shows may have missed, and this requires passion trumping process (said no producer ever!)”
“Being a Caple’s jury member is being part of an experience only Patrick Collister can deliver, and a thoroughly enjoyable one at that. If you won at the Caple’s this year you should be extremely proud, and if you didn’t you should have peace of mind knowing that your work was absolutely deliberated over, and given a fair go.”
“There was clearly a rise in AI-based projects, but not many used AI in a genuinely inspiring way beyond tech for tech’s sake. The entries that really had all the jurors in a lather was the work that delved into those core, and dare-I-say ‘traditional’, creative skills: clever strategic plays, inspiring uses of media, emotion-inducing craft, original thinking, consumer connection, and uncharted territory.”
“Among the campaigns we may have already seen across the industry publications or in other award shows, there were those projects we’d never seen before (thanks to Caples’ free entry), like the long-format Thai ad featuring one of the nation’s movie stars in an empty warehouse as he waits for vox-pop consumers to provide ideas for the crazy ad that is built around him with props and extras.
“The other standout trend was the number of campaigns from Lebanon, rising up against the corruption of their country. Such as the death-defying guerrilla publication of state-banned newspapers to protest the regime in Lebanon and stand up for the freedom of the truth. While many clients believe brand purpose is the sponsorship of a third-party charity loosely connected to their product, these projects proved the value of creativity – and true bravery – for real brand purpose.”
In 2019, The Caples Awards became the first global advertising awards show to be free to enter, levelling the playing field so that small indie agencies could compete equally with bigger, wealthier networks.
The Caples Awards were founded in 1978 in New York by luminary copywriter Andi Emerson and named in honour of her former boss, legendary Mad Man John Caples. Originally a show devoted to Direct Marketing, the Caples have evolved over the years and now celebrate every discipline of the industry. Billed as “Run by Creatives for Creatives”, the program is managed out of London by Duncan Gray, one of the founders of BHWG which became Proximity in 2001, and Patrick Collister, formerly Head of Design at The Zoo, Google’s creative think-tank.
Duncan Gray said, “Caples was created by the passion of one creative, the late Andi Emerson 45 years ago, and exists today with the continued support of the worldwide creative community. It’s madness to be one of the two custodians who run it on a shoestring, but we believe it needs to exist…and it’s a lot of fun!”
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