Industry

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Word to the Winners of Annual 2020 - #AnnualSpotlight

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To say 2020 was an eventful start to the decade would be a tremendous understatement. We've seen the industry come together even while apart, as a pandemic brought about one of the biggest social crises in the history of humanity and protests for equality broke out all over the world. Amidst the ashes of what 2020 will always live to represent, however, the creative industry proudly stands out for its spirit of adaptation and how it was able to envision new ways to forge ahead in the new normal.

Annual 2020 was a symbol of recognition, celebration and community through hardship for the entire Creativepool community. This year, with Annual 2021, we are raising the bar even taller. But it's impossible to do so without taking a step back to recognise all the amazing winners from last year.

If you've been following these pages for the past few months, you'll have noticed a range of Annual Spotlights popping up to celebrate the Annual 2020 winners. In this final round-up to wrap the series, we will share with you comments and tips, hopes and support from some more winners from Annual 2020, the best of the best in the industry – from agencies to freelancers and anything in between.

But enough with this intro. Keep reading to learn more about what taking part in Annual 2020 meant to these beautiful people from the Creativepool community, and make sure to look into Annual 2021 to join the fun this year!

Learn More!

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Image credit: Jamie Ansell

What feels unique about The Annual?

"There’s something about The Annual that feels incredibly democratic and truly unique as an international celebration of creativity by other agency folk.  Also, given that CreativePool has over a quarter of a million creative members, that recognition is pretty special."
Jason Foo, CEO at BBD Perfect Storm

"We love the democratic nature of the People’s Choice award, which other awards in our industry don’t have. It is something that sets The Annual apart."
- Brendan Haley, Executive Creative Director at Taylor James

"The Annual is a wonderfully open and inclusive showcase of high quality work. It has few airs or graces, and goes out of its way to welcome work from an incredibly broad spectrum of creative organisations. The result is a rich mosaic of creativity with more work on show than most other awards."
Alex BookChief Strategy Officer at Arcade

"Bringing together such a diverse range of artists under one umbrella makes the Annual feel quite unique, especially as the companies and judges involved are so prestigious. Most events like this are limited to quite a specific area of the industry and don’t have such a wide repertoire of creative agencies for example."
Cato Hoeben, Freelance Composer

"The Annual is a uniquely positive award, because it’s very much directed at every corner of the creative agency world championing the highest calibre of work, regardless of location, size or reputation. The inclusion of the ‘People's Choice’ aspect of The Annual also enables widespread participation and community in the process – being able to vote for and view all the fantastic work being produced by agencies around the world is inspiring, driving us to produce even better work ourselves!"
Oscar Ralf, Marketing Manager at Nalla

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Image credit: Benjamin Statham

How does it feel to have won the Creativepool Annual Awards?

"Exciting and affirming. The whole process provided an opportunity to evaluate, even validate, the multiple creative decisions that lead to the finished project. I was delighted to see my name up there with a host of other excellent photographers."
Benjamin Statham, Freelance Photographer

"Being recognized by our industry and our peers feels great. While we believe in and are proud of the work we push out every day, having our work awarded by our creative peers, agencies and brands is always nice to receive."
- Brendan Haley, Executive Creative Director at Taylor James

"Obviously I’m delighted to have won a Bronze award for my illustration for LNER. I’ve been a pro illustrator for over thirty years now working on a huge variety of projects, from large ad campaigns to packaging, children’s books, magazines and a few individual oddities! This is the first thing I’ve won for a good while. Regularly sitting there working into the dead of night, It’s good to get some recognition for what I do and will help to keep me motivated."
Tom Connell, Freelance Illustrator

"Fantastic! It was great to see so many engaging with a project that was so close to our hearts. Seeing the appreciation from the public and the judging panel reaffirmed our positioning of accelerating positive future change, and we’re over the moon that others were able to see that vision with this project."
Oscar Ralf, Marketing Manager at Nalla

"Based upon my answer above, we are, of course, hugely honoured and proud. The individual campaign awards are fantastic, but it was a huge highlight to win Emerging Agency of the Year a couple of years ago."
Jason Foo, CEO at BBD Perfect Storm

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Image credit: Arcade ltd

Will you be entering again this year? If so, what are your hopes?

"We’ve already entered again this year! In everything we do, we look to outdo ourselves, and get better and better. With that in mind, we’re going for gold!"
- Brendan Haley, Executive Creative Director at Taylor James

"We will be entering again this year, hoping for more wins and to see some more super creative work from our industry! Great design has such a positive and powerful impact on the world, and The Annual is a perfect place to showcase this."
Oscar Ralf, Marketing Manager at Nalla

"Yes. Recently a new documentary film called ‘Not A Game’ was released onto Netflix world-wide and I scored the original music. I like to submit this work as I’m proud of the music I wrote about computer video games, where I used a range of 8-bit midi synthesisers, analog modulars transitioning modern orchestral elements to build a story from retro games to the complexity of AAA games."
Johnny Yates, Freelance Composer

"Yes, I am entering again this year. As for hopes, we’ll see. There’s a lot of new talent out there and I’m all for them being encouraged to produce more epic stuff so something shiny sitting on the shelf can only help. I feel I’ve earned my spurs so anything like an award can only be a bonus!"
Tom Connell, Freelance Illustrator

"I am planning to enter again this year, yes- this time I would like to submit an entry in a different discipline, in an area that is slightly outside of my comfort zone- to see what the feedback will be like, if anything I guess. Perhaps in more than one category, too. I haven’t quite decided yet."
Jamie Ansell, Freelance Graphic Designer

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Image credit: Mona Sharma

Can you tell us more about your winning submissions and what you think impressed the judges?

"Our 3D work for Glenfiddich was recognized. We collaborated with Purple Creative agency London to help launch Glenfiddich's new flagship packaging. It was a very distinctive campaign, visually surreal and captivating, with some quite complex VFX challenges too.  The campaign is very design lead, but also combines the organic and natural textures, which gives it the photo-realism that Taylor James is renowned for.  I think Purple Creative’s design ideas for the whole campaign brief took a really deep dive into the brand. Layers of rich details and ideas underpin each of the visuals, helping to evoke the different tasting notes and unique provenance of each product, which certainly resonated with the client. In that regard it ticked a lot of boxes, which makes it a memorable and stand out piece in our portfolio."
- Brendan Haley, Executive Creative Director at Taylor James

"Asentamientos (Favelas) has won more than 30 international awards and was also awarded at Creativepool 2020. I think that the simplicity of its idea, its regional scope and the results obtained made it worthy of several metals and also managed to capture the attention of the jury at Creativepool. The idea was to make Latin Americans in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Peru believe that there was a film about the settlements, communicating the premiere with the typical codes of cinema (trailer, billboards and digital media). The film did not exist and when people bought tickets on the landing, they realized that it was a donation to Techo Latam. In just one month of the campaign, 100K dollars were raised, achieving 10.4M of reach and 2.7M of web traffic."
Pancho González, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Inbrax

"Our winning project, Natia, is one that is particularly close to our hearts. Natia supports people affected (both directly and indirectly) by cancer, by providing easy access to mind–body techniques, including yoga, meditation, music, and conversation. Their aim is to provide complementary therapies to add to the existing ecosystem of support, using a digital app to deliver this.
We hoped the judges would appreciate and relate to how a simple uncluttered brand that visually communicated the ethos of what Natia was about and echoed their principles. My personal highlight, was the smooth transition of logo into a character, that helped walk users through the activities on offer and follow the brand right through the process of digital holistic cancer support."
Oscar Ralf, Marketing Manager at Nalla

"We work in the immersive space, and both of our winning entries (Roxy the Junior Ranger for SEA LIFE’s London Aquarium and A Vixen’s Tale for Welsh National Opera) make use of the magical world that can be accessed by blurring the lines between physical and digital. Although these technologies have been around for a while, the convergence of high quality hardware, advanced operating systems and sophisticated developers means than mobile AR in particular is finally coming of age, and our success in The Annual is a demonstration of the power of these ‘XR’ experiences to create real impact. This is no longer a peripheral gimmick, but a real, purposeful creative medium."
Alex Book, Chief Strategy Officer at Arcade

"In 2020, we won for a really exciting piece we got to partner with Aerosmith on. (Yes, the legendary rock band Aerosmith). It was a 360 visual and sound experience for their live show in Las Vegas and we were brought on to make a 30min immersive soundscape in the theatre paired with films taking guests on a journey through the band’s history. Basically, it sounded like we dropped acid before creating it.  It was pretty unique and special.  Steven Tyler loved it.  Between the unique creative approach, utilizing audio technology never before used in a live venue and rave reviews from the audience, I think the judges were hooked."
Brian Yessian, Partner & Chief Creative Officer at Yessian Music

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Image credit: Nalla Design

What advice would you share with other agencies and individuals looking to grab a prize?

"Make sure the idea behind your project has a story and talk about the process. Also, utilise your social media channels for a wider reach when voting starts, and make it easy to access."
Mona Sharma, Industrial Designer at Jabra

"Don’t be afraid to enter – it can sometimes feel daunting having your work out in front of your peers, to be judged and scrutinised – but the sense of pride and achievement you can achieve from winning, or simply participating, can go a long way. Being able to benchmark yourself, and gain inspiration from others, is an invaluable prize in and of itself. Also, make sure the story is really clear in your submission!"
Oscar Ralf, Marketing Manager at Nalla

"Be obsessive about the details and work with true partners that challenge the whole team to do better. When everyone is passionate, disciplined and meticulous about the details, the results will always shine through."
- Brendan Haley, Executive Creative Director at Taylor James

"Our starting point is always to make great creative work that we think we really engage consumers and over-deliver on its objectives for the brand. We then see awards as a consequence of achieving that. So the advice is always, quite simply, focus on success for the brand and allow the awards to follow as a result of delivering that."
Jason Foo, CEO at BBD Perfect Storm

"It’s always worth showcasing work that really highlights you as an individual or your idiomatic style because audiences will hear the authenticity from your talented work. Also explaining there’s a story behind the creative process buys into people’s perception of you as an artist and understanding ‘how’ and ‘why’ you created a piece of work will go a long way."
Johnny Yates, Freelance Composer

How do you feel Covid has impacted the creative landscape in 2020?

"In some senses Covid has been a fundamental case of problem solving. Animations and illustrations have been able to fill the gaps usually occupied by film and photography, digital and streaming have stepped in to replace events etc. However, I feel it’s served as a reminder as to what we cherished about life before Covid. One thing that has been greatly affected has been communication. Furlough, lockdowns and the rest have greatly disrupted our ability to talk, to plan and to look ahead. I thought Creativepool were hugely proactive in undertaking surveys to provide a clearer understanding of what this time was like for everyone working in a creative field, it helped to create some sense of context, and to feel like you weren’t alone. I know that working as a photographer can at times feel isolating, so it’s been valuable to be connected to a wide range of people. It’s also given some people (myself included) a window to refine, reconsider or change wholesale their creative practices, which might see some people create work they might not have had the opportunity to do so before. In that sense Covid has been complicated, and confusing, as throughout the strife, there have also been opportunities."
Benjamin Statham, Freelance Photographer

"Massively! Obviously various lockdowns have seen people working from home and via Zoom meetings. Some have struggled to work like this, others have flourished. Personally I’ve never been busier, a lot of work which might have gone to photographers has come my way due to them not being able to get out to a shoot.  The weird thing is that Covid hasn’t changed the way I work at all, I’m used to my own company working from home for many years now."
Tom Connell, Freelance Illustrator

"The Covid-19 impacted everything and everyone, without distinction, and therefore the creative landscape as a constant reflection of our society as well, that is something that characterizes advertising and creativity in general. There are many ideas related to Covid-19 that this year will be awarded and many of these can be solutions applicable in any country. I think that will be the value that The Annual will have this year, we can take those ideas and apply them in our reality to help us cope with the greatest health crisis in history."
Pancho González, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer at Inbrax

"Covid meant in 2020 there was not a Creativepool party! In all honesty, how we approach collaborations has definitely changed. For myself project briefs may have the same end message but switched from any reliance with filming and instead championed the use of motion graphics. This year The Annual will highlight the resilience of people in tackling projects with social distancing restrictions."
Jonathan Chen, Freelance Motion Graphics Designer

"It’s a cliché but necessity really is the mother of invention. We can’t be grateful to the pandemic for too much, but it has forced creatives and commissioning bodies alike to reassess their approaches and look for new ways to express themselves. It has been a difficult time for so many, but creativity will out – and in a better place than it was. The Annual will, I’m sure, be testament to that."
- Alex Book, Chief Strategy Officer at Arcade

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Image credit: BBD Perfect Storm

What are your hopes for 2021 and beyond?

"We’ve got big plans; helping the next generation of exciting scale-ups achieve their ambitions and make their mark on a post-covid world, finding a new Nalla studio and looking to expand our team. We’re also just looking forward to being back around each other again – we feel privileged to have been able to continue our jobs from home, and still produce work we are immensely proud of – but we miss each other. Our culture, our people and the sense of togetherness we have is something that sets us apart, and although this continued virtually, we’re itching to be back in each other’s company again."
Oscar Ralf, Marketing Manager at Nalla

"We hope to for a brighter future for everyone and to put Covid behind us.  We want to see all the cogs of our industry running at full speed and the creative ecosystem thriving again. Digital and online technology has advance significantly in the last 12 months, which has meant all out teams learning new skills and experiences. We want to keep that momentum and apply everything we have learnt to keep pushing the creative and technical quality of all our productions."
- Brendan Haley, Executive Creative Director at Taylor James

"I hope we can start to connecting with people again in the real world, but carry with us the positive benefits we have discovered with remote working and flexibility."
Jonathan Chen, Freelance Motion Graphics Designer

"To continue producing work that meets my own standards and to also continue to broaden and expand my skillset. It’s important to always retain a hunger and curiosity, I think."
Jamie Ansell, Freelance Graphic Designer

"To be more creative than ever, and see more creativity around the world. I also hope communities are appreciative of their surroundings, and societies are more forgiving to our planet."
Mona Sharma, Industrial Designer at Jabra

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Image credit: Taylor James

What is your most exciting project in the next year?

"From accelerating rapid growth scale-up brands and disrupting tech-phobic sectors, to working with one of the leading global publishers as well as working on our charitable programmes such as MindFull (our recently launched mental health tool for the creative sector), we’ve got lots keeping us busy! Throughout all of this, we will be committed to producing work and working with clients that are making positive change possible. Having the backing of The Annual and the amazing team at Creativepool would be an invaluable asset when showing the impact of our work, and helping others to see that positive change is possible."
Oscar Ralf, Marketing Manager at Nalla

"We have several exciting projects in the studio at the moment. We are particularly excited about the real-time content, as it’s a real shift forwarda in how brands will create content in the future and the clients we are working with are already very excited for its potential and new ways they can now reach their audiences. Hopefully, victory in The Annual will help raise even more awareness of the amazing potential that creative and technology can bring to brands."
Brendan Haley, Executive Creative Director at Taylor James

"We have some pretty special projects in the works.  Of course, none that we can talk about quite yet.  That said, The Annual only helps to elevate our company and our brand.  When our clients see that we are successful on this platform, they take notice. Now that’s a real boost!"
Brian Yessian, Partner & Chief Creative Officer at Yessian Music

"We have a number of incredibly exciting projects launching this year.  We can’t lift the lid on them just yet, but some involve breaking work for a new global brand positioning and others are just wonderfully creative opportunities. Watch this space!"
Jason Foo, CEO at BBD Perfect Storm

"I’ve got a few exciting projects coming my way but a couple that I can’t wait to reveal to the world. One I’m currently working with Sony Music to record a live orchestra in Budapest and a new Amazon Original series. All I hope is my projects will make people enjoy what I do and it’s creating a difference in the experience watching the film. Including framing my award on the wall."
Johnny Yates, Freelance Composer

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