Q&AAF: Joanne Kim on the Communication Arts Advertising Awards

2e568dbJoanne Kim, Partner and Chief Idea Officer at Marcus Thomas and AAF-Cleveland Hall of Famer, was part of the nine-person advertising jury for this year’s Communication Arts Advertising Competition. The CA’s Award of Excellence is one of the most coveted awards in the advertising industry, and winning entries are published worldwide in the Communication Arts Advertising Annual (aka the Bible for many copywriters and art directors.)

It’s awesome to have a member of the Cleveland ad community serving on the 2016 jury – and even more awesome that she agreed to answer a few questions about this year’s work.

Q: What was your biggest takeaway from this year’s Communication Arts Advertising Competition?

A: The real question these days is: “what business are we in?”. If we firmly believe we’re in the idea business, it’s difficult not to get distracted by the shiny object of technology. Many of the entries this year had the cool factor but not necessarily a core concept to it.

The best entries were the ones that had a strong idea tied to an innovative execution. You can tell the team thought through the entire execution as it was coming together rather than waiting until the idea was “perfect” and then throwing it to producers.

Q: What trends did you see across this year’s entries?

A: Type must have been on the rise this year as we saw a ton of perfectly fine, pretty type. Unfortunately, most of it wasn’t necessarily for the idea and many times detracted from it. I wanted to see at least one brilliant copy led concept and was sad that I didn’t.

Q: What advice would you offer Cleveland agencies if they want to compete with this year’s winning work?*

A: There are some things agencies can do to improve their chances of winning (beyond having a great idea executed well). For anything print, you should always mail in beautiful blown up copies of the work instead of sending an electronic file. Judging is rapid fire but if it was sent digitally, it’s shown on a screen and flipped through in about five seconds. If you send in hard copies, judges can spend more time with each piece and actually read the copy.

EVERYTHING should be sent in with a one sentence descriptor in the entry. So many times we’d ask if there was an explanation that came with the entry and the ones that did include it helped enormously.

Make sure your case videos are short and to the point. And, if your only metric was impressions, don’t even put that in there.

*Never too early to start thinking about your entries for the next ADDY Awards, happening February 23, 2017!

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