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Adfest judges unfazed by equine romance as DDB's '4th Best' comes first

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Obviously the Adfest judges aren't offended by the sight of horses in the throes of passion quite as much as some members of the New Zealand public, because, slightly ironically, DDB NZ took home one of the top awards, the Grande 360 Lotus, at the Asia Pacific advertising festival for a Moro campaign that celebrated the joy of coming fourth.

As well as being inspired by Auckland’s recent ranking as the world’s 4th most livable city, the '4th Best' ad also ended up being one one of the most complained about in 2009 according to the ASA (there would have been a nice symmetry to it all if it had been fourth on that list, but it actually came 9th, with 10 complaints, presumably from people who have never been to a farm before).

“Using typical New Zealand humour, DDB built a campaign around the number four and coming fourth, which is quite a nice idea. The ‘New National Animal’ idea [for Sanctuary Magazine by Contract Advertising in Mumbai that highlighted the plight of the Indian tiger] was possibly stronger, but from a 360 perspective, Moro just had more spokes in the wheel and a whole lot more elements to the campaign, so it won on that basis. I think the Jury made the right call on that,” says Brett Mitchell, digital director at Droga5 Sydney and one of the judges.

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Aside from the hefty Grande 360 accolade, which is basically the equivalent of a Cannes Grand Prix, DDB's Sky TV awards juggernaut kept rolling in the Film Craft category (New Zealand and Australia dominated the section, taking 11 of the 16 winners). Sky TV's Que Sera Sera took silver in the Single for Best Use of Communication Media and Publications and the Sky TV content campaign ('Martin Luther', 'Rose' and 'Jonah') nabbed bronze in the Campaign for Best Use of Communication Media and Publications.

The Sweet Shop took home medals with all three of its finalists: a silver in cinemtography for Fresh n Fruity 'Wrecking Balls', a bronze for its 'Dove Love' spot in directing and another bronze for Toyota Prius 'Harmony' in Animation. And Curious rounded off the Kiwi wins with silver in editing for 'The Ride'.

Adfest's Grand Jury President Steve Henry, co-founder of HHCL in London, says he was inspired by the experimentation taking place in the Asia Pacific region.

“It’s been a difficult time for creativity generally for various reasons thanks to weaker financial conditions and changes in the media marketplace. Certainly in London there seems to be low morale within advertising agencies at the moment, and yet here in Asia there seems to be more confidence and experimentation. There’s some real innovation and some great fresh thinking going on,” says Henry.

But even though he was impressed by the quality of winners in the 360 category, which received 48 entries, he says the quantity of good ideas was underwhelming.

“To be honest, I’m slightly disappointed with Adfest's 360 entries. The winners are very, very good, but I wanted to see more of it. The quantity wasn’t necessarily very good, but the winners were very fresh, very brave, and very interesting,” he says.

Check out the rest of the winners here.

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