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The Hardest Working Piece Of International Work

Posted: April 29, 2016

So a few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to represent South Africa as a member of the Interactive Jury at The One Show, one of the most prestigious global award shows. Joe Public has been fortunate enough to win a few of these awards during the past few years, but this would be our first taste of what goes on behind the scenes.

The judging took place in Mexico, in a city called Playa del Carmen, about 40 minutes out of Cancún. We stayed at an amazing resort, which reminded me a lot of The Lost City, except everything was real. We were a jury of 15 people from all over the world, which was great for the debates that we had around the work. Prior to arriving in Mexico, we had judged over 400 entries remotely, so that meant that our time together would be spent on evaluating work that had already made it through the first round.

On our first day, the CEO, Kevin Swanepoel, a South African I might add, started off by explaining the judging process to us. The major difference from some of the other awards shows I have judged in the past, have been that there wasn’t a jury chairman and there was to be no discussion of the work until right at the end. Everything would be done by secret ballot, and only at the end would we be told what had been awarded gold, so we could choose our category’s “best of show”.

The next four days were intense. Early mornings and late nights became the order of the day. What I really enjoyed was the dedication of all the jury members to truly apply themselves to the work, even if it meant missing the evening’s activities.

As far as the work goes, this was definitely the year for extraordinary, hardworking campaigns that broke through the clutter.

Learning 1: One of the trends that stood out for me was the ever-increasing pursuit of thinking bigger and differently about digital – my hardest working example of this is titled Adoptable Trends.

Learning 2: Is what I consider the stretching of an idea. This means taking an idea and pushing it to go so much further than just where it started, it’s almost like the “Second Life” for ideas. For me, it highlighted how often we stumble upon a thought, execute it and pat ourselves on the back, when that piece still has so much potential for further expansion. My hardest working example of this is titled #TacoEmoji. Part one of the campaign saw the brand lobby the Unicode Consortium to add a taco emoji to its keyboard, read more here. Part two saw the brand celebrating their feet by launching the taco emoji engine.

Learning 3: The third one was the infusing of humanity back into technology-based ideas. It seems the world is realising that technology for technology’s sake isn’t worth much if it ultimately doesn’t make a difference in people’s lives or touch on a deeper level. My hardest working example of this is titled Call Brussels.

The last day of judging was the hardest, as this was the day when we had to choose our “best of show” award. The debates were robust, long, enlightening, sometimes ugly, oh and did I mention, long. But by the end of the day, once we had made all our points in the most articulate manner we knew how it all came down to a vote and I can proudly say the Joe Publican in the room backed the right horse.

This experience was one of the highlights of my career and it served as yet another testament of how fortunate I am to be part of the Joe Public family – because, without that, none of it would’ve been possible. I’m looking forward to infusing all that I learnt into the growth of our clients’ brands with the one thing that matters most – our product.