British Arrows Craft Awards 2014

At last night’s awards there was some great TV, cinema, online, outdoor and filmic work done by British agencies and production companies. A brilliant reminder that quality still exists in an age of reduced budgets and more cautious marketers, even if it comes at a price.

As usual, there were some obvious contenders we’ve probably all seen, the stunning Lurpak ads (director Dougal Wilson), IKEA’s falling beds ad (director Juan Cabral), Honda’s optical illusion ad (director Chris Palmer), the quirky First Direct creatures ad (directors Dom & Nic) and Simon the Ogre for Thomson Holidays (director Fredrik Bond).

Guinness: Sapeurs in their finery walk among the cattle

The oddest ad, if it was an ad as no one had any idea what it was selling, featured a naked man standing in a garden while a woman made dinner!

Two of the most moving were an ad for Barnado’s (winner of best actress) and one for The Carers Trust by director Gus Filgate (Little Fish) which beautifully captured the reality of the life of hundreds of kids caring for relatives (up for best direction and winner of best actor).


One of several multiple winners, Sapeurs for Guinness is a stunning commercial (best colourant, best costume & wardrobe) that features brilliant characters. Not sure how it sells Guinness but what the hell, they make great ads like their other winner Made of Black.

For fun, the singing chicken ad for Foster Farm (who?) is just plain good old fashion entertainment (winner of best model making).

If there’s a few tips to take away from last night for those wanting to win a few arrows next year, it’s probably these:

  1. You need a brave client with big budgets that actually trusts his creative agency and the director.
  2. God is in the detail – quality in everything, so use the best people.
  3. Longer ads win better than short ones (a minute seems a basic).
  4. Have a great idea and execute it really, really well.

And how not to get nominated… well you’ll find endless examples on your TV most evenings of the week.

And finally, as a Creative Director, I know that no great ad is a solo effort but so often the one real hero is not praised enough – the client. The person who goes against the corporate machine, breaks the rules and takes a risk. The person who trusts their agency’s expertise and creative instinct. Who makes it all possible by not cutting corners, restricting the idea or trying to write the ad themselves. The client who understand consumers respond better to great ads than 30 seconds of sales talk.

As a tribute to those clients who made it all possible for the winners last night, an adaption of another great ad.

Here’s to the great ones.

The brave.

The rebels.

The challengers.

The clients that respect the round pegs in the square holes.

The clients who see things bigger.

They’re not fond of cutting corners.

And they have no respect for doing average.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, like or dislike their ads.

About the only thing you can’t do, is ignore their ads.

Because they challenge the status quo.

They push the standards higher.

And while some may see them as the indulgent ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are brave enough to think they can do great ads, are the ones who do.



British Arrows nominees