As one of the jurors for the Epica Awards, the Daily Squib observed a strict objectivity and analysed each entrant with a meticulous analytical fervour, yet holding a loose creative slant to the proceedings.
The majority of the entrants within the various categories were of a high standard this year, as in previous years, and the overall theme as is the case in the industry is one of Woke awareness to societal issues and ‘responsible’ messages brought forward. In that light, these days are not filled with ‘dangerous’ creative outbursts pushing the boundaries of societal norms or creativity, but of ‘safe’ normality, imagine a horizontal line that fades into infinity without any bumps.
Nevertheless, judging the Humour Section was edifying, simply because in these hard times we need humour now more than ever, but this year was rather lacking unfortunately. Our favourite Norwegian agency somehow missed the mark a little with their seasonal effort, and need to try a little better next year. The Gold winner for humour was every boy’s nightmare, exuding an almost Orwellian governmental message and totalitarian lecturing tone, although delivered in a slight humorous fashion, there was certainly a Big Brother privacy-infringing feel to the overall message. Should this entrant have been put in the ‘scary’ category or the ‘humour’, you decide on Thursday night?
When it comes to post-production, effects, animation and conceptual implementation, the levels of technique are certainly world-class in the upper echelons of the award winners, but again there is this nagging thought at the back of one’s mind, what ever happened to experimentation, pushing the boundaries in every facet, exuding the spirit of the Atelier Populaire and really engaging the audience, so they cannot turn away, remembering, imprinting in their memory the message of the brief? The key here is power, creative biomorphic power to engage with something that has never been done before, to infiltrate the mind of the viewer with such fantastic immersion that they are actually transported to another place.
The advertising industry must break free from conformist shackles that hold it back, for true innovation can only come from breaking rules, not being aligned along that long horizontal line that was mentioned before. Always question, break free, experiment, create.
As the Joker in the pack, the Daily Squib was truly honoured to participate in the judging this year, as it has in previous years. It is our creative duty. We sincerely hope that world events improve in the future, so we can all get back to normal life.