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TOP PERFORMERS OF 2001: Mother is Agency of the Year on the back of fantastic creative work and an enviable new-business record but Bartle Bogle Hegarty ran it a very close second

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The unlikely duo of Monkey and Al clinch Campaign of the Year for

ITV Digital. Starcom Motive snatched Media Agency of the Year. Glamour

launched and is Medium of the Year. Gorgeous is top Production Company.

A transformed and re-energised COI Communications is Advertiser of the

Year.



AGENCY OF THE YEAR - MOTHER



Great creative work, impressive growth and strong management have pushed

the former hotshop that was brave enough to be different into pole

position in the UK.



Campaign's choice of Mother as its Agency of the Year will be as popular

as it is predictable. Not only has Mother's populist brand of creativity

won it many admirers but it has amassed a formidable array of new

business to scotch any lingering notion that its success would be short

and sweet.



But let nobody believe the agency cantered home in a one-horse race.

While Mother was the industry favourite, it had a thoroughbred breathing

down its neck and could easily have been pipped at the post. Bartle

Bogle Hegarty, which turned in a performance that could have won it the

contest in another year, was reluctantly denied the prize. But more of

that later.



In 2001, Mother had an outstanding year and, away from the hype, the

figures speak for themselves.



It recorded about £64 million in new business for an agency

billing £40 million at the beginning of the year. That equates to

a 150 per cent increase and, because of Mother's diminutive size, works

out at more than £1 million in new business for each person at the

agency.



New-business highlights include ITV Digital in June. BMP DDB, WCRS,

Partners BDDH and TBWA/London were all seen off as Mother walked away

with the £27 million account. The agency topped this by snatching

the Egg account from an embattled HHCL & Partners without a pitch and

impressively won the account across Europe without a European

network.



Mother was awarded five accounts this year without a pitch, worth £25 million in billings collectively - which gives some indication of the

agency's reputation among clients. Of the other seven pitches the agency

has entered this year, it has won them all. In its five years Mother has

only pitched for work 16 times - and has won 14. An enviable conversion

rate.



Other wins of note were a project for Lever Faberge's Organics shampoo

against J. Walter Thompson and Schweppes against Lowe. The agency also

took Batchelors Cup-a-Soup from Lowe in June, again without a pitch.



One of Mother's most impressive feats is its continuing ability to

attract almost any candidate for a position at the agency - most

creatives would give their right arms to work there. Under the

management of the partners Stef Calcraft, Andrew Medd, Mark Waites and

Robert Saville, the agency has grown in numbers and taken on 18 more

staff.



Above all, Mother had an exceptional creative year. The successful

"Monkey" campaign for ITV Digital takes Campaign of the Year this year

but there were many other highlights. The hilarious West Side Story

spoof for Super Noodles achieved an initial tracking of 53 per cent

spontaneous ad awareness.



The first work for Cup-a-Soup was a treat, as was its work on Organics,

Dr Pepper and Mighty Mint. The new slant for Schweppes with its

"Schhh ... you know who" ads represents Mother taking a typically bold

step forward for a once-staid advertiser.



Another feather in Mother's cap is that the work it turns out works.

Vindaloo Super Noodles are now popular enough to be established as a

core flavour. Kiss FM became the market leader for 15- to 24-year-olds

for the first time in 2001, overtaking Radio One in London. Magic FM is

now the second most popular station in London.



Now the bad news. Mother suffered two business losses in 2001. The

partners are quite open about their disappointment at Harvey Nichols'

exit. Typhoo's departure was also a blow. After the company was bought

by Premier International Foods, the review duly came and Fallon picked

up the £3.5 million task.



BBH, an extremely close second, recorded no business losses in 2001 and

achieved an impressive new-business record. Wins such as the Xbox

pan-European brief, Barclays and Sony-Ericsson insulated the agency from

the downturn that has afflicted so many of its rivals. According to

Advertising Age, BBH recorded the best global performance by a

British-based agency group in 2001, with $330 million from six

account wins which meant the agency added almost £7 million to its

bottom line in new-business income alone. True to the agency's culture,

strong creative emerged too on Lynx, Paddy Power, Levi's, Bertolli and

Barnardo's.



Fallon and McCann-Erickson have both had good years and are worthy of a

mention here. Fallon has had solid wins and no losses. McCann had a

number of wins including Microsoft, Coke and Siemens. Leo Burnett

amassed an awards tally that led to a change of perception by its peers

- but the awards were mostly for 2000's work.



But after five years of people putting it down as a flash in the pan,

Mother showed its muscle and is truly deserving of the accolade. With

continual expansion, an impressive client list and an original body of

acclaimed creative work, the agency is being true to its brand. It set

itself up as something different, distinct from the mainstream, and it

practices what it preaches. While other agencies simply nod towards

building a brand, Mother has gone for unashamed popularity and has

enriched the UK agency scene in the process. It produces original,

effective and highly visible work consistently. With the possibility of

overseas expansion in 2002, we will have to wait and see if Mother can

hang on to its principles when graduating from a London hotshop to a

truly global player.



Recent winners: Lowe Lintas (2000); M&C Saatchi (1999); BMP DDB (1998);

St Luke's (1997); Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO (1996 and 1995)



MEDIA AGENCY OF THE YEAR - STARCOM MOTIVE



Excellent new-business success, including Barclays' prized account,

allied with a strong show in Campaign's media awards saw Starcom Motive

fulfill its promise.



After two years spent dominating media awards while barely troubling the

new-business performance leagues, it almost all came right for Starcom

Motive in 2001.



The agency, which so frustratingly failed to translate its planning

expertise into billings in 2000, has finally showed what it was capable

of over the past 12 months. Once again, the majority of Campaign's Media

Awards were bound for Starcom's Great Pulteney Street offices, but this

time around they were accompanied by many of the year's most notable

new-business successes.



In a year of unprecedented success for the agency, Starcom's one failure

came where it should have proved strongest. Its inability to secure its

place on COI Communications' all-new media planning roster was an

unexpected blow for an outfit that prides itself, correctly, on its

expertise in this area. Last year, such a lapse would have been a major

blow to the confidence of the agency. Within an exceptional 2001 record,

however, it seems a mere blip.



The agency began the year still dealing with the effects of last year's

merger and with its chief executive, Mark Cranmer, continuing to manage

the alliance of Starcom and MediaVest across Europe. Yet the events

which proved such a distraction last year became an opportunity to

develop talent within the agency this time. Iain Jacob, the client

services director, stepped up to managing director in January, taking on

the day-to-day running of the agency from Cranmer. Quietly, yet no less

effectively, Andy Roberts, Starcom's executive buying director, spent

the year bolstering his reputation as a leading negotiator, while Peter

Edwards, the business director, is widening his reputation as a planning

guru.



By the time of Jacob's promotion, Starcom had recorded its first

significant new-business success of the year, grabbing Co-op's planning

from MSc to sit with its £7 million buying account. Much more was

to come, though, as the agency's restructured management clicked quickly

into place. Late January saw Starcom grab the £50 million global

brief for the World Gold Council and the £3 million media task for

Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society's rebranding drive. Then in June the

agency stunned adland by muscling its way on to the pitch for Barclays'

£15 million account, one of the year's most prized pieces of

business and a key assignment for Starcom's sister agency,

MediaVest.



Starcom went on to scoop the business in a final shootout against OMD

UK, after MediaVest and Optimedia were dropped from the list.

Controversial though it was at the time, the agency's win secured a

shaky account for its group - speedily filling the hole left by the loss

of NatWest late last year.



A week after the Barclays appointment, Starcom stepped in to take the

£5 million Nintendo account left vacant by Universal McCann's

defection to Microsoft - a crucial win ahead of next year's launch of

the Gamecube and an expected acceleration in media spend. Further

successes on accounts such as the Abbey National Treasury Service,

Ultraphones and Malaysian Airlines served to swell Starcom's

new-business balance to a total of £30 million in billings gained

against none lost - an impressive record in a particularly difficult

year for a shop lacking the buying power of Zenith, MediaCom or

Carat.



Yet Starcom Motive's selection as the Media Agency of the Year is not

solely a result of its new-business record. The agency once again

excelled in the Campaign Media Awards, taking home four trophies for its

work on Johnnie Walker, UBS Warburg and One2One - the latter award, for

new media, demonstrating the vitality of its online division, Starcom

IP. The agency ceded the Grand Prix to Naked this year, despite working

alongside it on the winning Selfridges account. However, there's no

denying that across the full range of its portfolio, Starcom Motive has

stuck to its principles of creative planning and buying, frequently

shaping an entire media strategy rather than simply providing "icing on

the cake" stunts. Its online and offline "fantasy instalments" for Lego,

Brixton's Evian Lido, Johnnie Walker mini-documentaries and in-flight

Stella Artois sponsorship, are only the most high-profile examples of an

agency showing just how hard its chosen specialism can work.



In balancing new-business success with creatively driven media planning

amid economic conditions that threaten to make media a commodity,

Starcom is a worthy winner of Campaign's Media Agency of the Year for

2001.



Naked Communications pushed Starcom close with its blend of strategic

excellence and brilliant new-business performance. Naked won the overall

gold award at Campaign's Media Awards for its work for Selfridges and

there was other award-winning work for Batchelors, ITV Digital and

Metro.



Naked's 23 new-business wins included ITV Digital, the police and Marks

& Spencer Financial - all testament to the vigour of an agency that is

trying to do things differently and deserves recognition for its

non-traditional approach.



Honourable mentions should also go to MediaCom, which boasts the UK's

second-most muscular new-business record, achieved without losing a

single account or receiving extra help from international alignments.

Optimedia also shone, having seen its new-business record improve

dramatically to take third place in Campaign's business performance

league.



Recent winners: BBJ (2000); MediaCom TMB (1999); New PHD (1998);

Michaelides & Bednash (1997); TMD Carat (1996)



MEDIUM OF THE YEAR - GLAMOUR



Despite concerns about its A5 'gimmick' size, Glamour bucked last year's

trend of lacklustre launches in the women's magazine sector and was an

instant success.



Last year, the UK's publishing industry braced itself for the launch of

two eagerly anticipated American imports. Time Inc's In Style and Conde

Nast's Glamour both came with successful US pedigrees. However, it was

the former that commanded most attention from the British media,

courtesy of the phenomenal ad revenue growth its US cousin had

experienced over the past year or so. Glamour's prospects seemed less

spectacular by comparison. The US version invited instant comparisons

with the 30-year-old Cosmopolitan and its editor Jo Elvin's (pictured

centre) success seemed likely to depend on how many readers she could

win from that market-leading title.



The news that Glamour, under the publishing director Simon Kippin

(left), would be launching in a "revolutionary" A5 format (modelled on

the magazine's Italian edition rather than the US original) looked

suspiciously like a gimmick - and a potentially costly one. How could a

uniquely sized title gain a strong position on the newsstand? Would

advertisers be prepared to support a title that would shrink their

executions? Could an A5 title do fashion coverage?



A year on, and Glamour has answered its doubters emphatically. In the

process it has almost wholly eclipsed In Style, succeeded where so many

of 2000's launches (Nova, Star, the monthly version of Marie Claire

Health & Beauty) have failed and helped revive the credibility of a

women's lifestyle sector that was too easily criticised for buying

circulation through bulks and covermounts.



Glamour unveiled its first official circulation - of 451,486 - in the

June ABCs, based on four issues rather than the typical six. It came

second in the women's lifestyle sector, losing out to Cosmopolitan by a

mere 700 copies. Significantly though, Glamour overtook its rival in UK

newsstand sales.



The industry continues to dispute just how this was pulled off, weighing

the significance of three factors. There was the initial cover price of

£1.50. There was the size, which fits perfectly into women's

handbags, and it proved equally accessible to early maturing teens.

There was the well-executed, heavily backed launch campaign through J.

Walter Thompson.



Whatever the reasons, Glamour is the most successful UK magazine launch

of the past two decades.



However, Glamour's influence and its status as Campaign's Medium of the

Year goes far beyond the muscularity of its numbers. The success of its

format has handed a new tool to the publishing industry as a whole.

Already, stablemate GQ has experimented with A5 editions and both Dennis

Publishing and IFG are considering launches in the format.



Yet size is not Glamour's only innovation. Its editorial is viewed by

many as the title's weakest link and undoubtedly will be blamed when its

circulation inevitably settles down in February. However, those who

focus on the cover size overlook the celebrity pulling power that is

exhibited on them. Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Kate Winslet have

all adorned Glamour's front this year. Cosmopolitan's covers implied

mass market and megawatt celebrity didn't mix. Glamour proves

otherwise.



This point of difference suggests that Glamour could sit with

Cosmopolitan at the top of the women's lifestyle sector. It is

significant that The National Magazine Company title, which itself had a

strong year, did not appear to lose readers directly to Glamour.

Advertisers are not simply watching one mass-market title being

displaced by another. Instead there is evidence, with research

suggesting that 25 per cent of Glamour readers are new to magazines,

that the reach of young women's titles has increased.



As an option for advertisers, Glamour looks strongest as part of the

Conde Nast stable, which is exactly what was intended. The publisher,

which has built its reputation on selling high-end titles such as Vogue,

lacked a mass-market edge. Now Nicholas Coleridge (right), its managing

director, has one and the potential for selling across Conde Nast's

portfolio has increased as a result. It's surely no coincidence that

Conde Nast titles have grown fatter despite the recession.



Glamour's second year will be far tougher than its first. It may have

brought new readers to magazines but it has also prospered at the

expense of others, NatMags' Company, in particular. With its own cover

price now reduced to £1.50 and Glamour's rising to £1.80,

Company threatens to make up some of that lost ground. The next six

months will prove what part of Glamour's winning formula was most

important - and how strong the title's staying power is.



No other medium has quite enjoyed the impact of Glamour this year but

two members of the red-top newspaper market had a good go. Following the

11 September atrocities, The Mirror discovered a sense of editorial

mission and a genuine point of difference from its rival, The Sun. It

was rewarded with circulation figures for the next two months that

reduced its year-on-year decline and outperformed its rival.



At the other end of the spectrum, the Daily Star has continued a

Jordan-led charge on the circulations of its rivals, reaffirming old

red-top values and establishing itself as Richard Desmond's most

vigorous newspaper asset.



Last year's winner, Metro, did its bit for the print medium - and the

advertising industry - with the "wasted opportunity" campaign. It was an

initiative that demonstrated its growing confidence and was rewarded

with a £600,000 deal with Warner Village Cinemas.



Recent winners: Metro (2000); Freeserve (1999); Daily Mail (1998); FHM

(1997); Sky TV (1996)



ADVERTISER OF THE YEAR - COI COMMUNICATIONS



Reinventing itself as a dynamic and forward-thinking organisation, COI

managed to coax outstanding advertising with measurable success from

agencies in 2001.



In a year when Britain's ad industry hunkered down in the face of a

brewing economic storm, it had cause to be thankful for loyal clients

such as COI Communications.



Having chased illusory dotcom budgets, many agency chairman spent 2001

rueing the fact that they didn't spend more time cherishing their most

steadfast advertisers. "Thank heavens people don't stop washing their

clothes or wiping their arses," one remarked.



He might well also have given thanks that the UK not only has arguably

the best public service advertising in the world but, in COI, an

organisation that is committed to doing it well and is perpetually

supportive of the agencies charged with delivering its messages.



In short, the body in charge of the Government's £195 million

annual media spend is very much in tune with the times. It takes pride

in getting its agencies to stretch the creative boundaries and although

its official status prevents it being massively generous with the

taxpayers' money, it pays fairly and promptly.



As stories abound of parsimonious clients attempting to screw agencies

to the floor, nobody ever accuses COI of acting dishonourably. Indeed,

agencies regard a place on its roster as a badge of honour and are proud

to feature COI work prominently on their showreels. What's more, it has

proved itself capable of getting great work out of agency powerhouses as

well as the bright young hotshops it encourages. Just as important is

its rigorous monitoring of that work.



It's a remarkable testament to one of the UK's most unusual

communications groups; part client, part agency, it has survived the

jibes of politicians who would have had it killed off or privatised it

and has transformed itself from a once sleepy civil service backwater to

a dynamic client service-led operation.



The catalyst for this was the Government's 1995 decision to end COI's

49-year Whitehall monopoly and to allow departments to run their own

campaigns free of COI control, if they wished.



As a result, COI has transformed itself from being a peaceful bolt-hole

for industry has-beens to a place where 70 per cent of its 400 staff

come from the commercial world. The regime is epitomised by Carol

Fisher, the chief executive and former Holsten marketing director, and

Peter Buchanan, her deputy, whose agency career includes spells at

Saatchi & Saatchi and Publicis.



The effect of all this on agencies has been dramatic. Accustomed to

dealing with COI stick-in-the-muds, they now praise its bright, sparky

people with a passion for communication and its power as an instrument

of social change.



Most remarkable of all is how COI has managed to be a conduit for

award-winning advertising against awesome odds. Not only is it

constantly subject to ministerial whims and the scepticism of civil

servants who know nothing about advertising, but it must tease out

cut-through creative work from agencies with few of the usual research

tools to help them.



Some formidable statistics demonstrate the measure of its progress and

effectiveness. Work placed with it by government departments has risen

50 per cent in the past year and customer satisfaction is hitting record

scores.



Against this backdrop, the industry was shocked by the news last autumn

that the Department of Transport and the Regions was opting out of COI

and building creative and media rosters of its own. COI has a tough task

ahead to convince other departments not to follow.



However, for the way it has reinvented itself, for its professionalism,

for stimulating outstanding advertising on the back of some difficult

briefs and for treating its agencies fairly and with respect, COI is a

worthy winner of Advertiser of the Year. Even worthier, given the

quality of the other contenders, most notably the Halifax, the building

society-turned bank which might be said to have broken the mould of

financial advertising with an all-singing, all-dancing TV campaign to

become a true "people's brand".



All credit to Philip Hanson, the former Diageo senior marketer, and

James Boulton, formerly at Walkers Snack Foods, who drew on their FMCG

experience to lift Halifax out of the ad clutter.



Their achievement speaks for itself. The campaign has not only recorded

outstanding recall levels, according to research by Hall & Partners, but

has produced tangible successes. The Halifax's market share for new

mortgages has jumped from just more than 5 per cent at this time last

year to almost 13 per cent in September 2001. Meanwhile, credit card

take-up has more than doubled this year.



Two food clients, albeit with contrasting approaches, also made it on to

our shortlist. The first was Batchelors, whose sale by Unilever to

Campbells has been the cue for advertising that's often hilarious and

certainly brave. Attempting to tap into a new youth market without

losing the core consumers of brands such as Cup-a-Soup, Super Noodles

and Vindaloo, Batchelors went maverick. It's a bit early to measure if

going for broke has paid off, but anecdotal feedback suggests the ads

are well liked and a 4 per cent sales growth for Super Noodles isn't to

be sneezed at.



A final word of praise for Nestle Rowntree. The confectioner could never

be called leading edge but has bought a clutch of memorable campaigns,

notably Aero and Kit Kat, from Lowe and J. Walter Thompson

respectively.



Nor has it been afraid to explore less traditional routes to reach its

consumers - the Kit Kat radio campaign must go down as one of the year's

funniest.



Recent winners: Heinz (2000); French Connection (1999); McDonald's

(1998); Volkswagen (1997); Orange (1996)



CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR - ITV DIGITAL



Monkey and Al, a woolly monkey with witty one-liners and his

couch-potato friend, saw off the competition and pulled off a very

difficult rebranding to boot.



For sheer impact, creative and strategic insight and what it has done

for sales of grey wool, the Campaign of the Year falls to Mother's work

for the pay television platform ITV Digital.



The two stars of the campaign, Monkey and Al, have come a long way in a

short time since they hit UK screens in the summer in a bid to

re-educate consumers about ITV's digital offering and claw back some

share for the flagging venture.



Not only has the campaign achieved that, it has engaged consumers to the

extent that during November's "free Monkey" promotion, retail staff were

employing security guards to protect the stuffed toys rather than the

televisions and set-top boxes. What started as an adventurous TV, press

and poster campaign has developed into nothing short of a

phenomenon.



Mother won the £27 million account last year with the difficult

task of helping ITV Digital turn around poor sales, disastrous brand

awareness and defecting consumers.



Alongside this was the fact that ITV Digital was losing money hand over

fist for its two shareholders, Carlton Communications and Granada.

Currently, the loss for both companies stands at more than £850

million, but in part owing to the impact of Mother's campaign, the two

companies pledged late last year to continue investing in the

loss-making venture. Both Granada and Carlton have taken a battering

this year as a result of the advertising downturn and the costs of

running ITV Digital, which is expected to cost a further £300

million before it breaks even in 2003/2004.



ITV Digital suffered in the market for several reasons. Apart from poor

brand recognition of its previous guise, ONdigital, it struggled in a

market full of competitors offering other pay-TV options such as

Telewest, ntl and BSkyB.



Reflecting this, its subscriber base was low compared with its

rivals.



At the end of September 2001 it had just 1.2 million subscribers

compared with BSkyB's 5.5 million. It follows that its market share is

low at 12 per cent, while cable rivals hold 20 per cent and BSkyB has 68

per cent.



So, with this in mind, Mother set to work creating a campaign to present

the issues to consumers in a way they would understand. The TV campaign

is essentially a soap opera based on the comedian Johnnie Vegas as the

dim-witted telly addict, Al, and his bachelor-cum-child/parent

relationship with Monkey, a knitted primate with a caustic wit and a

nice line in slogan T-shirts.



Although humour is certainly a factor in the campaign's success, the

messages about ITV Digital are clear and consistently delivered. Each

spot educates; the first ads showed before and after shots of Monkey in

a new ITV Digital T-shirt. Other executions built on an increasing brand

awareness to explain either that the set-top box is portable and can be

used in another house, or that live football is available on ITV

Digital.



Mother's team-up with the creative media agency Naked also proved

effective as Monkey and Al moved off screens and billboards and into

everyday life.



Guerrilla tactics, including festooning Leicester Square on the premier

night of Planet of the Apes with a massive poster of Monkey dressed in

the film's costume, have effectively carried through the creative

characters.



The creation of the knitted Monkey toys prompted a rush on sales and

resulted in the Mother offices being door-stepped by fans eager to meet

his creators.



A website followed on from a TV ad showing Monkey using ITV Digital to

surf the web and find himself a monkey girlfriend.



What turned out to be saturation tactics worked, with the results being

seen fast. BMRB research showed that the rebranding of ITV Digital was

successfully communicated to 89 per cent of its existing customer base.

Within a month of the rebranding campaign, sales had increased 15 per

cent. ITV Digital invested £3 million in a call centre in a bid to

concentrate on keeping subscribers and reported an 80 per cent increase

in telesales. Although ITV won't be drawn on exact sales figures, the

company claims it has wrested back a considerable share of the market

from BSkyB - all this for an operation which has always had to play

catch-up with Sky.



ITV Digital held its breath before Christmas as executives at Granada

and Carlton decided whether to pour more money into the venture or

abandon it to focus more clearly on ITV's core offering. They chose to

keep up their investment, albeit reduced, but Carlton and Grananda's

shareholders will be watching its performance keenly.



Despite its victory as Campaign of the Year, ITV Digital had some tough

competition from The Guardian, which underwent a year of concentrated

brand building with a campaign from BMP DDB. With 118 ads over the year,

the vibrant and entertaining "fresh Guardian" campaign focused on

attracting readers on Saturdays through The Guide and The Editor and

Julie Burchill's weekly bile-filled column. The Guardian's sales rose by

4.7 per cent and Guardian Unlimited's page impressions increased by 125

per cent year on year.



Other contenders for the crown were Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's TV

campaign for Dulux's paint range, Lowe's Heineken "Close to you"

celebrity campaign, Wieden & Kennedy's poster, print and ambient

campaign for Nike's Run London event and McCann-Erickson's work on

Bacardi.



Recent winners: Skoda (2000); Levi's Sta-Prest (1999); Volkswagen Polo

(1998); Volkswagen "affordability" (1997); Conservative Party (1996)



PRODUCTION COMPANY 0F THE YEAR - GORGEOUS



Memorable advertising such as 'twist' for Levi's, The Economist, Nike's

'tag' and Reebok's 'sofa' has propelled this company to the fore with

cool, wit and panache.



A year of consistently impressive creative output has made Gorgeous the

unanimous winner of Production Company of the Year.



This, and the fact that it is no longer the Chris and Frank show.



Palmer and Budgen, whose combined talents have made Gorgeous truly

scrumptious, were joined this year by Tom Carty. For the former

creative, the path to directing has been as smooth as a glass of the

dark stuff. In just 11 months, he has built an impressive reel

encompassing ads for The Economist, MTV, Nike and COI Communications'

Smoke Alarms, and scooped Best New Director at the British Television

Craft Awards.



Likewise, Peter Thwaites, who joined Gorgeous in 1999, is fulfilling his

early promise. The ex-director of photography proves he still has an eye

for beauty with award-winning work for Aristoc and Lloyds. He was also

voted Best Newcomer at Creative Circle.



Carty and Thwaites' rise has silenced critics who claimed the company

would crumble without the old masters - something a few doommongers

believed possible just 12 months ago, when it was thought that both

Budgen and Palmer were heavily involved in feature projects.



The opposite has, in fact, been true. Budgen shot only two ads in 2000

(for the RAF and Stella Artois) while in 2001 his work has been prolific

on both TV screens and the awards scene.



Highlights include Levi's "twist", an ad which effortlessly exuded cool

and helped bring the brand back on to the radar of the capricious youth

market. The combination of effects, style and the all-important

soundtrack also resulted in Budgen scooping Best Crafted Ad of the Year

at the British Television Craft Advertising Awards - for the second year

in succession.



He was also awarded Best Director at the ceremony - for the third time

in four years.



Reebok's "sofa" was another top spot which perhaps best demonstrates

Budgen's famous attention to detail - from flawless effects and spot-on

casting, down to the very fabric of the sofa, something which divided

director, client and agency for days.



Nike's "tag", an ad which is currently running in the US but set to come

to our shores this year, is a Budgen classic.



Visually impressive, involving and funny, it perfectly portrays the

excitement of a playground game with some wonderfully infantile

moments.



The spot is likely to add to Gorgeous' vast awards collection. This year

the company was ranked fifth in the world at Cannes, was Production

Company of the Year at the Clios and Budgen was presented with the

Chairman's Award at the British Television Advertising Awards.



Palmer was also hugely successful at awards, particularly on the back of

the effects extravaganza of last year, Orange's "hold up". This year, it

won at all the major festivals including D&AD, where Palmer was the

recipient of three silver Pencils including one for Best Direction.



New work this year included Heineken, in which D-list celebs were

persuaded to humiliate themselves (no doubt with the aid of a large

budget). Palmer achieved hilarious yet agonising performances from a

motley crew which included Paul Daniels and Vanessa Feltz. Palmer was

also responsible for the 50-second launch ad for Mini with his

blockbuster-style "Martians" and has completed new work for Nike

featuring the Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong.



Harry Nash, last year's runner-up, finds itself in the frustrating

second position yet again. Once more, it's an impressive reel which

features some of the best-loved and most-talked about ads of the year.

Highlights include the strange and captivating Lupo for Volkswagen, the

hilarious West Side Story pastiche "face off" for Super Noodles and the

deeply disturbing yet strangely amusing COI energy efficiency campaign

featuring badly behaved boilers and lightbulbs.



All of these were directed by Fredrik Bond. His dark sense of humour and

creative genius have made him one of the hottest and most-awarded

directors in town.



However, it was felt that Harry Nash's strong performance was too much

the work of one director. Although Ringan Ledwidge produced the widely

debated "bottoms" for Lee Jeans, work for BBC News 24, Pimms and a

brilliant new spot for Nike, "raining runners", he has not been as

prolific as in previous years.



The new Harry Nash signing Andy Morahan produced notable work for Physio

Sport and Rimmel but, so far, has had a lower profile than expected.



Last year's winner, Partizan, had a busy year although its star

directors, Traktor, were quieter on the UK ad scene in 2001.



Outsider had perhaps its most successful year with a strong and diverse

reel from a broad base of directors. Paul Gay proved his creative

excellence with Dulux while Rupert Sanders showed his visual strengths

with Genie and Tia Maria.



Finally, Stark fought hard after the loss of Steve Reeves at the

beginning of the year to produce a large volume of work of a high

standard, again spanning a number of directors. Highlights included Jeff

Stark's McDonald's and Virgin ads, Colin Gregg's Ikea and Carling spots

and David Hartley's "gremlins" for COI. However, the company ended the

year on a sour note with Hartley's return to Brave Films after just six

months.



Recent winners: Partizan (2000); Gorgeous (1999); Academy (1998); Godman

(1997); Blink (1996).



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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