What Do The World's Best Think of The Denver 50?

/ Comments (9)

A good test of the worth of any new idea in any category across the world is whether thought-leaders embrace it upon it’s introduction. The test for the New Denver Ad Club’s idea – a reinvention of the staid ad industry award show, called The Denver 50 – is whether the best people in the world agree to judge the annual show’s entries. The best people in the world have agreed to judge the upcoming 2008 show.

Gareth Kay of Modernista!, Adam Owett of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Rob Schwartz of TBWA, Ty Montague of JWT and Scott Goodson of StrawberryFrog are lined up. Across the world, award shows are chasing talent of their caliber, and here they are dissecting the work coming out of Colorado. What we wanted to know is why they agreed to judge The Denver 50. So we asked. Gareth and Adam’s responses are below. We expect the other three to be coming soon.

“As I understand it, The Denver 50 is about IDEAS, not TV commercials, billboards, websites or packaging. That resonated with me because I work in ideas, the platform that the idea is realized in comes second, and if the idea can’t live across various platforms, maybe it’s not a good enough idea. That’s how I work. That’s how my team works. That said, I was frustrated with how ad agencies and their holding companies Balkanize creative into digital, TV, print, event, packaging, media, etc. That’s why I left the traditional agency business. At Sony BMG, I’ve been able to unify all disciplines so all the focus can be put back on the idea, without the the distractions of competing P&Ls from entities that work in one platform or another.”

Adam Owett
Executive Vice President, Creative Group
Sony BMG Music Entertainment

“The Denver 50 is great for two simple reasons. It’s great because it’s about the only category of awards that really matter, the idea. And it’s great because I’ll get to see amazing work I don’t see that often in Boston. The inaugural 50 really impressed me by their breadth, depth and freshness. I’m hoping this year’s awards will be even better.”

Gareth Kay
Head of Planning

“Impossibility leads to all the possibilities. Matt Ingwalson and The Denver 50 have carved out a nationally respected communications show from scratch, one that not only honors excellence in Colorado marketing but has the potential to represent the future of our industry on a much broader scale for one reason: Matt pushes the boundaries and has opened new doors for people from new places. I’m proud to be a part of this evolution in the making. The show kicks ass.”

Scott Goodson
Founder and CEO

What do you think of The Denver 50? Will you enter work this year? Speaking of, look for the official call-for-entries in the coming weeks with a mid-August deadline to get your best ideas in.


Hear, Hear Egotist!
(And even more to Matt Ingwalson for all his hard work in making the 50 happen.)

Thank you for helping to forward the need for strong ideas and thinking to drive the work, not pretty pictures or a technology platform.

Matt – you kick some ass! Thanks for helping Denver Sucks less by actually DOING something.

How do you think this work is going to stack up against last years ?

I’d say it will be just as good if not better for a number of reasons: 1) It’s proven it is a nationally respected award, just look at the judges it’s attracted both last year and this. 2) CP+B work this year qualifies as Made In Colorado 3)The shops who get it here want to prove they can not only run with CP&B, but beat them head to head.

To me that sounds like a formula for something good.

A few predictions:

* More agencies/firms will participate and there won’t be as much domination by a couple of firms. One, if they enter again, will still thrive very, very heavily.

* About 5-10 of the winners will be from disciplines well outside the traditional agency mindset. I’m talking fine arts, sculptures, architecture, motivational speeches, events,etc…

• Expect non-visual entries in the Denver 50 book as planners will demonstrate their marketing prowess and make their mark with much ferocity.

• I think the work will be just as good, if not slightly drop off with only 12 months to create vs. the 18 months originally slated. Unless, of course, the first few points comes to fruition.

• Somebody is going to absorb the idea of category-less shows on the national level, and smother the efforts Matt and his troops have excruciatingly put together. Which is as good as it is bad.

Just my 2¢. I’m excited to see what’s cooking for year two.

My own predictions:

1. More entries. And more winners from interactive, PR and marketing shops.

2. CPB will not participate. We asked them to send in any work made in Colorado last year and they chose not to. I have a guess as to why. But it’s only a guess.

3. The ADDY’s, One Show and their ilk will never go category-less, because it would cost them too much in foregone revenue. But they will institute a “Big Idea of the Year” category. Cannes has sort of already done this, with the Titanium Lion.

Oh, and I know I sound like a broken record, but last year’s show worked because of all the vendors and volunteers who gave their time (Pure, Amatucci, Rastar, Integer, Texture and more). This year, people like Thomas Dahl, Hero Design and Citizen Pictures are already diving in and helping out. If anybody wants to help, please get involved with the NDAC.

I don’t think the ADDYs, One Show, or long-established shows will alter their format either. I do think people who know their way around the shows will get wise to the 50 concept and copy it on a national level. Maybe a Detroit 50 or a Little Rock 50 or a Vegas 50 will happen, too.

Jay, It wasn’t Detroit, Little Rock or Vegas, but the president of an ad club in another market did call me after reading my AdWeek op-ed inquiring about the Denver 50. When I explained it to him, he asked how we could afford to run a show that encouraged people to group entries together. I told him we probably could have made more doing the ADDY’s, but the NDAC board thought it was more important to make a statement. He said, “Cool motivation, but we could never afford to do that here.” So I’m not sure many markets will even attempt a “50.”

I also got a call from a reporter new to the ad world. He asked if I could give him a quote about an agency called, um, have I heard of someplace called Wieden and Kennedy?

After I finished choking, I told him to call the One Club.

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