LIA Awards 2018: Final comments

LIA Awards 2018: Final comments


Earlier this year, Tim Jones, Creative Director at the Havas Lynx Group, was appointed as Health & Wellness Jury President at the LIA Awards 2018. After spending some time out in Las Vegas judging multiple pieces of work, Tim has shared with us his final comments on the event.

The quality of this year’s entries was matched only by the quality of the Health & Wellness jury. They were the best creative minds I’ve had the honour of meeting. And better yet, we got the opportunity to see some of the best work in the world: work that saved lives; work that changed laws; and work that ultimately made a real difference.

But as always, there was an abundance of work that just fell flat and never made it past the first few rounds of voting. There was a clear distinction between the really poor ideas; the ones that were good; and those that were bladdy brilliant. (We called it ‘the good, the bad, and the lovely’.)

If I were to offer a quick tip for success at an advertising awards show like LIA, I would say that the first job is to make sure your work is bulletproof. Leave no reason for debate.

For questioning.

For picking apart.

For unravelling.

You want your idea to glide through the first rounds of judging without any thought. The less friction there is with your entry, the more chance it stands of converting into a shiny piece of metal.

After a few long days of siphoning out the bad, we were left with an unofficial longlist. Then, with fresh eyes, and fresher coffee, we streamlined it into a shortlist that we could all defend when we returned to our agencies. We took real pride in making sure the work that made it on that list was worthy – a shortlist at LIA is a big deal.

The final round of judging was the most exciting. It was almost magical actually. It was the day where we could be vocal about the work. We could protect, criticise, question and gush. We spent the first few hours affirming our gut reactions, and awarding the golds. It always amazes me just how easy this is…these pieces just stand out from the beginning. Silver and Bronze award discussions on the other hand open up the subtle nuances of the ideas. It’s like creative alchemy – one minute you could have Silver, the next, Bronze (and in some cases, a paper certificate). That’s the power of an opinion and the strength of a concise point. And our jury was full of them.

Shiny statues sorted, the atmosphere changed to reflect the gravitas of the grand decision.

‘With great power comes great responsibility’ someone once said. And soon the burden of the decision to award a Grand LIA became obvious.

Unfortunately, after much thought, we came to a collective realisation that there was not one piece of work that stood up above the golds and declared itself a Grand LIA. It was not something we took likely. The gold winners were fantastic golds, and very well-deserved. But to put our name to a Grand LIA would’ve been amiss.

Consider it a creative challenge for 2019.

I have to take a moment to congratulate LIA for another fantastic festival. The process of judging was fair, professional and ultimately hugely enjoyable. Thanks Barbara, Patricia, Wayne and the rest of the LIA team.

We however, as a collective healthcare creative community, need to ensure we keep up our end of the deal – by entering our best work into shows like this. We have to keep testing the quality of the work in our industry. It’s the sort of creative barometer that challenges every creative team, agency and most importantly, client.

It makes us question our output – “If they can do that, why can’t we?” “How did they manage to get that idea through regulatory?” etc.

What we need is for our clients to start paying more attention to these awards. So don’t just share the winning work within your agencies, show them to your clients. Get them excited about the possibilities within healthcare. Get them talking about the ideas. Inspire them.

Hopefully next year we will see some brave work making a big difference. And who knows, maybe even a Grand LIA..