One of the largest creative festivals in Europe – White Square International Advertising Festival – this year is scheduled on June 9-11. Annually, over 1000 cases, created by both local and network agencies and studios from more than 30 countries of the globe for their clients participate in the festival. Entries submission is opened online till May 17. Winners of White Square 2021 will be announced during Award Ceremony on June 11 that will be broadcasted and all the participants will be provided with online access.
Contest entries of White Square will be evaluated by international jury that according to international standards are represented by real stars of global communication industry with numerous prestigious global creative awards, including more than 400 Cannes Lions and reach judging experience at the leading advertising festivals.
Jury members of White Square shared their opinion about changes of marketing and advertising industries during recent year.
2020 has proved to be a real challenge in the industry. What has become a discovery for you?
Andy Upton, OMD EMEA, The United Kingdom, Media jury member: The most important lesson 2020 for me was that agencies are as very much as people, if you give people the trust they deserve and tools they need, they will continue to succeed in the industry. Also agility is the key to success. Those who are unable to adapt that model are gonna struggle. And, finally, get more sleep, it’s really productive to be restful. That is my mix of lessons of 2020.
Ralf Heuel, Grabarz & Partner, Germany, Creative jury: I think that in every crisis there is an opportunity. Even in pandemic. We decided in the beginning of this pandemic that we want to get out of this stronger and faster that we went in. And we did exactly a lot to achieve this. We worked differently with each other, we acted faster and we moved even closer to each other. And it will not change even when this pandemic will be over. When an earthquake destroys your house, nothing forces you to build the same house again after that. You can simply do a better and more beautiful house and that is what we are doing.
Eugene Kostylev, GForce/Grey, Kazachstan, Marketing jury: Two lessons I have learnt and both of them were pleasant. It is possible to switch unassuming office to distant work during 2 hours. With technical equipment. Distant work does not suit well to a big agency, every day the speed, quality, mindfulness and motivation lowers.
Kestrel Lee, Lighthouse Independent Media, Singapore, Digital jury: I have learnt not to rest on my laurels. Even while advertising campaigns got postponed, brands dove into e-commerce and new digital retail to gain market share and recruit new fans, advocates and customers online. These are new emerging areas but they were willing to take risks to raise their game in the new consumer arena.
Alexey Fedorov, BBDO Moscow, Russia, Creative jury: It was very interesting to observe how our business and its processes adopt to new reality. The most important thing I understood is that I was wrong in a lot of things – everything I considered impossible moved towards and started to work.
Oleg Profatilo, Digital Chain, Ukraine, Digital jury: The state of crisis on national level or, in our case, global, is the best time to build Lovemark. During these times people in brands look not only for rational or irrational solutions of their needs but also real support and understanding. No matter a size of a brand or its category, every brand has an opportunity to strengthen the connection with the consumer using the right communication framework.
The projects of your agency again and again have been award-winning at international advertising festivals around the globe. Is there any formula for success and did anything in this formula changed in the recent year?
Ali Rez, Impact BBDO, UAE, Marketing jury: I think №1 - it has to be something new and original. Good question to ask yourself is: “Have I seen something like this before?” And if “not” then there is a very good chance. The work has to have some sort of impact better on business or on society level. If your ideas about bringing wellness to people, about shifting culture than it has to demonstrate it. If your ideas about bringing more sales to the brand it has to demonstrate that. I think those the two very important things in any piece of work to begin with. Finally, there is craft. I think, it is also very-very major aspect of the win-well work.
Pancho González, Inbrax, Chile, Marketing jury: To obtain awards you have to practice and work hard until you find new creative codes. The hard work pushes luck in your favor.
Dimitris Vayas, PHD, Russia, Media jury: Formula for success is very simple – think outside the box! Because only creative and non-standard projects are able to stand out from the crowd and reach consumer’s heart who is too tempted with attention, to put it mildly.
James Seath, White Rabbit, Hungary, Marketing jury: I feel that more than ever creativity is needed, people want to be inspired more than ever and are looking for brands to entertain more than ever, they are sick of Netflix, they want escapism. Craft skills have dropped hugely and it breaks my heart. Script writing and story telling isn’t seen as important, I look at Netflix and the script writing is lazy and poor. This is the same in modern advertising right now, which is sad. At the same time the foundation for award winning work for me is a great incite.
Vitaly Kokoshko, Kinograf, Ukraine, Creative jury: In my opinion, there is no specific formula for success. The only thing I could mention, and it is not a secret, a talent of having the profession and a talent in this profession. Moreover, not only creative director/copywriter/designer/art director should be talented. But also manager, head who is able to build a team and lead it to right way. Client should be talented as well. That is why in opinion a talent is crucially important to win at festivals and its existence in all structural units both on agency and client side.
Michael Wilk, Serviceplan, Germany, Branding jury: There will always be space for a strong disruptive idea - for sure. Additionally I strongly believe in a timeless feature elevating every piece of communication: craft. No matter if it’s a perfectly crafted long copy, a well-designed layout, a strong illustration, a great photography or a thought-out product - if its nicely crafted it immediately relates to a receiver.
Ergin Binyildiz, Havas Creative Group Turkey, Creative jury: The need for unique ideas never vanish. No matter what the circumstances. In fact more so, when it is testing times. We will definitely not go back to 100% physical space. Every agency and brand will create some form of hybrid working method. No one will want to waste hours on traffic going to a client meeting.
Nuno Leal, Partners, Portugal, Marketing jury: I would say that maybe sexism and other hot topics in advertising will be past, hopefully forever. To change the world for the better. Yes, it’s a trend. There are still more selfish goals like change the consumer habit for the brand, change the world, but for the brand. But yes, it is a worldwide trend that I really admire, that is more than anything, because people nowadays respect that, and it is the only way nowadays for a brand to become a love brand, that is to change the world for the better, as you name it. And when we can do that in a campaign, the goodwill invades yourself, your hear and mind and that is so rewarding.
Manuel Wenzel, TBWA Zurich, Switzerland, Creative jury: This might sound a little romantic, but I think that true creativity in its essence will, in this or that way, stay forever. Doing things in a really new way or even better do completely new things. By this I also mean the way you approach challenges beyond advertising briefings. If we approach structures, processes and stuff also creatively and are not afraid of doing things in a really new way we will be able to work properly, effective and creative. If there’s something that I would have to name that is forever gone I’d say: relaxed timings.
You are a jury member on the White Square Festival 2021, and you have already been a jury member on various international creativity festivals. Can you name one or more key evaluating criteria of entries for you and why?
Daniel Ottoni, TracyLocke, Brazil, Marketing jury: I always judge a work based on three pillars: originality, creativity and effectiveness. Originality is what can make a job different, new, standing out from your competitors. Creativity is what makes the shopper engage with an idea. Effectiveness starts from a well-executed creative strategy focused on conversion. It is not easy to have the three pillars acting strongly in a single campaign. When it succeeds, the work turns unbeatable.
Raushan Sultanov, Depot, Russia, Branding jury: It is very important for a designer constantly to be in search. That is why I always want to see something new, brave and experimental - those decisions that cast doubt on everything done before. Ideas that reveal hidden parts. Search for epoch codes and interpretations of present and past. Elegant decision of complicated issues. “Meme” on visual communications level. Request for authenticity and uniqueness in design from the point of craft caused by global digitalization. Sincerity. I’d like to see cases created not only for professional communities or trending themes but projects made for people first.
Ali Rez, Impact BBDO, UAE, Marketing jury: As a jury member in an award show what you look for is really intelligent and well put together solution to a problem. All briefs that come to you are problems that need to be solved and the jury looks for just the smartest and the most original way somebody handles that and that solution has brought a large of impact on the business or on the task. I think that the №1 thing that most juries look for is to be amazed. If you can make a jury person wish that they have done that piece of work that you ventured then you probably going to win award show.
Alena Kremer, DPG, Russia, Marketing jury: For me the key criteria of entries evaluating is a presence of creative idea that is supported by analysis and strategic insight. If everything listed matches up in one project no doubt it will bring high results. One more important factor is how effectively creative idea communicates target audience, and how this idea responds to the narrowest requests of the audience. Creativity for creativity is not needed at this pretty competitive market.
Michael Wilk, Serviceplan, Germany, Branding jury: Originality. There will be great ideas submitted for sure. But if it’s been done already in the past the idea should not be rewarded. We gonna set a standard for next years communication. Therefore, I think repetition is no option.
Lili Jiang, Cheil Worldwide, Hong Kong, Creative jury: I did a have some jury experience for several international advertising award show in past. Every time it’s very fruitful and amazing for me. For myself one criteria I am using to judge the works will be the word “impossible”. When I see the works I will ask myself: Does this work make you jealous? Or do you think you are possible to come up with this work? If the answer for myself if “no” there I will give it high score.
Evgeniya Lysenko, OMD Media Direction, Russia, Media jury: While evaluating the case it is very important to observe the whole story 360. It is important to plunge into market background, have a look at challenges and barriers of brand, which insight was chosen and why, which solution was chosen and the results achieved.
Sergio Spaccavento, Conversion E3, Italy, Branding jury: I think the most relevant thing is the impact that every project has in the society and in the consumer's thinking. The results, not only the sales ones, are very important for our mission, changing habits deeply give a wider value to the brand.
Pancho González, Inbrax, Chile, Marketing jury: For me, the key criterion is to reward original ideas that have a positive impact across stakeholders, not just for the owners or shareholders. That simple, besides brief, goals, strategy and so forth.
Alexey Fedorov, BBDO Moscow, Russia, Creative jury: When I am inspired with the idea and its execution.
This year the slogan of White Square is short: IT’S TIME! Do you think, is it worth taking part in international advertising festivals in times of crisis, and why? What would you like to wish the participants of White Square 2021?
Ali Rez, Impact BBDO, UAE, Marketing jury: The slogan “IT’S TIME!” is very cool I think. Not only from the point of view of the kind of year we’ve had. That also just as the call to action. It’s time. This is an industry that does do things they needed the most. And I think reminding people that this is the time now to do everything that you want to do. It is very important for agencies to enter award shows and to learn from them at any even point. The industry has to keep moving forward. I think the best way to do that is to look at the work that is performing well or has done well.
Michael Wilk, Serviceplan, Germany, Branding jury: I think participation in award festivals Is important. Especially for young talents. A well set up award show will provide something we all need in those tough times: inspiration. So my wish for all participants, partners and organizers of White Square festival: get inspired and stay healthy.
Alena Kremer, DPG, Russia, Marketing jury: I suppose that regardless of economic state for any advertising business it is crucially important to enter award shows. It is about demonstrating your expertise, experience, creative approach. It is powerful image factor that influences agency’s promotion on the market. Besides that a solid festival portfolio will positively impact on HR-brand. It is not a secret that a great expert will pay the attention to it while choosing company. That is why IT’S TIME to be noticed. I wish wins to participants of White Square 2021, to partners and juries as much interesting, bright and truly creative cases as possible and to organizers - successful holding of the festival!
Folker Wrage, Leavingstone, Switzerland / Georgia, Marketing jury: IT’S TIME! In so many ways. It’s time to understand and to take action. To understand that we all are responsible for what we do and what we don’t do. That we are the ones who decide what kind of life we are living, what kind of society we are living in, what we do to be happy and to make others happy, and what the future is going to be like. I wish everyone that their future is going to be peaceful, healthy and prosperous, and that democracy will win.
Kestrel Lee, Lighthouse Independent Media, Singapore, Digital jury: The chances for doing brave break-through work will always be there as long as creatives keep their drive alive for developing great ideas. Giving up also means giving space to younger and hungrier talents to catch up with you in the global arena.
Temur Sadi, MA’NO branding agency, Uzbekistan, Branding jury: Each crisis is a new opportunity for rapid growth. And in this sense award shows are a real springboard to present yourself. That is why yes, it worth participating in advertising festivals and it is preferable to overthink your festival strategy. I would love to thank everyone who is involved into this and wish to move forward only.
Manuel Wenzel, TBWA Zurich, Switzerland, Creative jury: I absolutely think that it is worth taking part in award shows. At least this year again, simply because of being and looking optimistic into the future and believing in a life after Covid. And maybe even more important: creativity might be one of the forces we all need to navigate through this crisis successfully.
Vitaly Kokoshko, Kinograf, Ukraine, Creative jury: We live in time of global changes according to worldwide statistics – this is the best time for breakthrough, this is the best time to create something new and show up. For sure these are the best days for participating in creative festivals if you have the opportunity and the work that could win. It could be even twice stronger especially during these times. That’s why participate! Participate if you have something to show. And I would love to thank the organizers of White Square for your decision to hold the festival during hard times around the globe and in Belarus. It is very important. Both me and other jury members are ready and willing to support you and your country. We love you and we care about you. And thanks a lot that you do not give up! Long live Belarus!
What would you advice to young agencies to become successful? Does the participation in festivals could help them to achieve their goals? What do they need to stand out from the other participants at the festival?
Markus Daubenbuechel, Ex Scholz & Friends, Germany, Digital jury: What do you need to stay successful? A young agency might have a lack of experience. But on the other hand, an established agency might have a lack of flexibility. To become successful, you need outstanding ideas and great planning for best effectiveness. But to stay successful, you need to stay true to yourself. And, simultaneously, you need to continuously adapt to the new. Uniting these two poles is one of the hardest jobs in advertisement. And one of the most important ones.
Ralf Heuel, Grabarz & Partner, Germany, Creative jury: My advice to young agencies is really-really simple and it goes like that: try to do above average work every day on actual clients in real life. Only then you and your agency will develop the right direction. It’s so much more important to do better and above average work and be better than others
Marin Kostov-Muro, All Channels Communication Group, Bulgaria, Creative jury: Success is not a lonely thing anymore. Anyone that wants success only for themselves and at the cost of others will see that this is going to become harder and harder. We all need to connect, to work together, to be partners and not competitors, that we need to act together, create together, win together. So we need to meet, talk, make plans and turn them into realities together.
Nuno Leal, Partners, Portugal, Marketing jury: To all participants, partners and organizers of the White Square 2021, I would wish everybody a great time, with healthy and productive streaming conversations. Because Festivals must go on, no matter the situation.
Momchil Zakhariev, NEXT-DC, Bulgaria, Marketing jury: Coming from a young agency, I can confirm that participation in festivals is priceless in shaping your vision and learning how to execute and present ideas to an international jury.
Temur Sadi, MA’NO branding agency, Uzbekistan, Branding jury: We are relatively young agencies. And I would love to share the idea we follow in our team. We want to make every new project better than the previous one. We want to dig deeper, make clearer. We take each project as new challenge. And every time pushing the limits of our capabilities we are growing up. Participating in the festivals and wins add self-confidence. Confidence that young teams often lack.
For those participants of White Square 2021 who submit 3 and more entries, the organizers will provide bonus – access to online broadcasting of intense business program of the festival from the headliners from more than 30 countries of the globe.
Winners, prize-winners and finalists of White Square Advertising Festival get broad promotion with more than 50 publications in industrial media of the globe, including Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, the MENA region, Serbia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and others.
White Square is included into Global creativity ranking AdForum Business Creative Report, Global ranking TopFice, Baltic Agency Ranking, Creativity ranking of Estonian Marketing Association, Creativity ranking of Association of Communication Agencies of Russia in all segments, Effectiveness ranking of Association of Communications Agencies of Russia in all segments, Creativity ranking of Central Asia and Azerbaijan, Creativity ranking of Association of Communications and Marketing Agencies of Belarus.