Just another site

AUT Adschool wins AXIS student award 2016

We won it last year too.

Last night (March 10) 2015 graduates Deborah Chae and Kieran Buchan were awarded the Student AXIS Award for their campaign for Lightbox (video streaming).

Click here to see the 2016 AXIS student award in use.

The CAANZ AXIS awards are held annually and recognise creative excellence in New Zealand’s advertising, design and communications industries. Keiran Buchan went up on stage in front of 500 + industry luminaries to receive the award. Deborah Chae was unable to attend as she is currently working at FCB San Francisco with her creative partner, Tom Davies (both winners  of the AUT InterNZ programme 2015). Deborah received the news via Twitter and Facebook.

AUT grads from past years also picked the Grand Prix Integrated Prize, two golds, three silvers and at least two bronzes. I lost count.

Congratulations also to Kurtis Selby and Michelle Petricevich (BCS 2015) who student campaign was also a finalist for the student AXIS Award.


Michael Smythe made my day.

Microsoft Word - Document1

Here’s the article in full.

The class of 2015, well a small selection.


Adam DaweAjax 1

Kurtis Selby and Michelle Petricevichsugarhigh

Tom Davies and Deborah ChaeFBpost

Tom Davies & Deborah Chae


Tom Wilkinson and Kate MacdonaldVitafresh2

Tom Wilkinson and Kate MacdonaldWorldWarTea2


All watched over by machines of loving grace? Notes of disquiet and disbelief

You’ll need a while to read this, but take it, and give thanks to Martin Wiegel for doing all the real reading for you.

canalside view


“I like to think (and the sooner the better!) of a cybernetic meadow where mammals and computers live together in mutually programming harmony… and all watched over by machines of loving grace.”

Richard Brautigan, ‘All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace’

“How is it that when I speak of belief, I become aware always of a shadow, the shadow of disbelief haunting my belief?'”

Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote

“Anyone who makes up his mind to evade the uncertainty of belief will have to experience the uncertainty of unbelief”

Pope Benedict XVI, Introduction to Christianity


Preface: What we build will shape us

Innovation is never a neutral quantity. Technologies and artifacts are shaped by the values, priorities, and assumptions of their developers, and often their users as well. Of course, many technologies are designed or refined with particular goals in mind, but here I am referring to a different and less deliberate…

View original post 7,909 more words

Ex-AUT Adschool creatives picked up a total of 65 Axis awards last night – it’s got to be a record

Campaign Brief was the first the run the story. Click and read it for yourself.

Here’s the Samsung Smart Phone Line work that scooped the lion’s share of awards and help Simon Vicars be what I’m sure was the most awarded individual of the night.

And this little piece won five of our grads two Silver AXIS awards – the first their agency Young & Shand have ever won. And these days every single person in the Young & Shand creative department is an AUT Adschool grad, except the CD.

The Executive Judging Panel awarded the Emerging Talent Axis to Kevin Walker (AUT Adschool, 2011) and Melina Fiolitakis (AUT Adschool, 2011) from DraftFCB New Zealand, who both demonstrated outstanding talent as newcomers to the industry having won a gold Axis for UNICEF and four silver Axis awards for Sony Walkman.

Simon Vicars (AUT Adschool, 2005), now senior copywriter at Colenso BBDO went up on stage for more awards than any other person on the night: he was awarded two Grand Prix Axis awards, 8 Golds, 11 Silvers and 17 Bronzes. And ColensoBBDO were named Creative Agency of the Year.

Joe Stuart (AUT Adschool, 2010), Sklyer Bongers, Anna Kerr (AUT Adschool, 2012), Felicity Hopkinson and Olivia Trimble (AUT Adschool, 2013) won their agency’s first ever awards when they picked up two Silver Axises. (Everyone in the creative department at digital agency, Young & Shand is an AUT AC graduate, except the boss.)

Alan Jones (AUT Adschool, 2009) and Angelo An BCS AC major (AUT Adschool, 2008) grabbed six bronze Axis awards.

Matt Williams (BAUT Adschool, 2007) who won big last year for his Driving Dogs campaign collected four Bronze awards this year.

Seth Joseph (AUT Adschool, 2011) hauled in two Bronze awards, as did Smeta Chotthu-Patel (AUT Adschool, 2003), while Sasha Arandelovic and Kevin Bachtiar (AUT Adschool, 2010) collared a bronze Axis too.

“Axis is a celebration of NewZealand’s best creative work; the work our industry is most proud of because it has broken the rules, permeates popular culture and influences behavioural change,” said Paul Head, CEO of CAANZ (Communication Agencies of New Zealand).

Well, done

Has any one ever considered the creepiness of social media’s interface copy?


“View friendship.”
“Remember me.”

It feels perverse, awkward and foreign, yet familiar, like the best details in a dystopian story. It’s appealing in that way, but it also irritates me, because I love words. Words mold brains, and if you don’t believe it, you should look at what sort of language we use about the internet and the products (digital and not) that connect to it and are part of it.

Revolutionary, disruptive, magical, wizards, and on and on—contemporary digital culture has co-opted the language of revolution and magic without the muscle, ethics, conviction, or imagination of either. And it’s not that those things aren’t possible, we just aren’t living up to their meaning and instead saturating ourselves with hyperbole. These are words you have to earn, and slinging them around strips the words of their powerful meaning. Can you take a real revolution seriously if you are bombarded with messaging that says your phone is revolutionary?

These words are from Frank Chimero’s much longer blog post – full of interesting stuff about creativity in the age of the internet. Worth a read.

The book cover is reposted from Canalside View.

Brand building in a digital age: Old thinking for new times

Every client should read this. As well as everyone who works or wants to work with brands, obviously.

canalside view


A good question

Last year Admap set the marketing community a rather excellent essay question – ‘How brands are built in the digital age’.

(Given that most of what follows is not my original thinking , contains content from previous posts, and is twice the designated word limit, I chose not to submit it).

It is a great question, not least because it refocuses our minds on brands.  Guy Murphy has put it well: “I like this question. It rightly assumes that brands will remain important in future, and doesn’t invite any silliness about them being a quaint marketing concept that can’t survive the rise of technology. The question also raises the current industry debate up from ‘communication engagement’ to ‘brand-building’.”

However in truth it is really a question with two parts.

For it first demands a perspective on how brands have been hitherto built, before the offering of any opinion and…

View original post 4,937 more words



A couple of weekends ago I got a shock. It wasn’t that Wigan Athletic beat Man City 1-0 to win the FA cup in the last minute, even though Wigan was about to be relegated in the league. It was that I discovered the FA cup is actually the Budweiser FA cup this year.

What? Budweiser, as far as most English soccer fans are concerned, tastes like coloured water; water that has been passed. Budweiser has nothing to do with beer as far as most Brits are concerned. It has bugger all to do with British soccer either. A few million quid’s worth of sponsorship cannot change that.

But here’s the real point. Nobody gives a toss about who’s sponsoring anything. In fact, they mostly don’t even notice who the sponsor is. You don’t believe me? You must work in a marketing department or be a sports administrator desperate for cash.

The most glaring example I’ve come across of misguided sponsorship isn’t even a case a brand being mismatched with a sport or a cause. This year the New Zealand Super 15 Rugby tournament has what should be a very noticeable sponsor on the field. Every single referee in the competition is clothed from head to foot in pink; bright yukko pink, Barbie pink you might say. All this because Pink Batts (the most famous insulation products in the country) are big slabs of pink material.

The point is not that I can’t believe anyone would be dumb enough to dress burly men in pink, especially when the ref is supposed to be the one who calls the shots on a field heaving with approximately 3,000 kg of boiling testosterone. They have got away with that. What they haven’t done is register with many people the simple fact that this year’s refs are sponsored by Pink Batts.

I know this because I was sitting watching the Chiefs beat the Sharks 27-39 on TV and I asked a room full of spectators what they thought of refs being dressed in pink. The replies I got were that everyone who had noticed – half of the people in the room – thought they were dressed in pink so that players would stand a better chance of seeing the ref and not running into him. No one in the room realised that Pink Batts was the sponsor. Not one person. Is that why they call it shocking pink?

The solution to nobody reads copy any more.

Medieval_writing_deskThis is what Dave Trott says in the new edition of The Copy Book (2012):

“I was always taught, 5% of people who turn to your page read the headline.
And 5% of the people who read the headline, read the copy.
If that’s true, the copy is 5% of 5% of the ad.
In which case, who are we writing the copy for?”

Ex-colleague and cracking copywriter, Simon Sinclair, has written a brilliant piece about Dave Trott’s point of view on his blog Raving Adman .

Here I’ve adpated his figures for an ad that might run in the New Zealand Herald:

Even if your ad only ran once in The New Zealand Herald, the average daily readership of The Herald is 553,000 (according to Nielsen). Of those, 5% – 27,650 people – will read your headline.

27,650 people reading your ad for a Glasson’s top or a chocolate bar is pretty good.

But if you’re selling something like a Bose sound system or even a really good pair of shoes – as Simons says, 5% of those people are also highly likely to be willing to read some body copy.

So you’d have 13,825 warm leads, who would love to be able justify to someone why they’ve blown that week’s food bill a new Bose sound system, or a $300 pair of shoes, or whatever it may be. The fact is they are ready to hear what you have to say – to be sold to even.

Again, as Simon says, surely no client would turn their noses up at 27,650 extra sales. Could they actually make those sales to customers who patently didn’t get enough from the headline to drop the newspaper there and then to head straight for the shop?

Let’s start writing decent copy again and not just rely on the perfection of a headline and picture or, worse still, just a picture.

Simon Sinclair, like me, has the deepest respect for Dave Trott and his work, but he balances Trott’s thoughts with three of his own: 1. Copy can’t be too long, it can only be too boring. 2. Arguing over how long a piece of copy should be is like discussing how tall a general should be. 3. Copy should be as long as it needs to be, but no longer.

True, sometimes copy just isn’t necessary but if it’s relevant, interesting and useful, it has a right to be there.

Last word from Simon again: “The answer to the reproach that nobody reads copy any more is not simply to admit defeat and refuse to write any, it’s to learn how to write copy that people want to read.”

I don’t say, “Hear, hear.” I say write, write.