Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Loerie Awards 2008

Last weekend, Kelly & I went to the Loeries Awards - it's basically the South African advertising awards, where once a year, the entire industry descends on a sleepy little seaside town called Margate, in Durban and wreaks havoc. This was our cheesy internal invite (Wimpy's a burger joint here... kinda like Wendy's in the US).

We were all given little packs for the weekend, which included silly glasses, Panama hats, badges that said everything from "I'm here for the sardine run", "Shut up or we'll buy you" (a dig at a smaller agency here, rumoured to have been bought by Ogilvy's parent company, WPP).

After a 2hr flight to Durban, about 60 of us got on the bus for yet another 1.5hr drive to Margate. The Events team had organized chilled beers on the bus, and away we went. Halfway through the drive, one by one the boys had full bladders and the driver had to stop on the side of the highway so they could get a pee break. It was quite a sight!

I took the first Friday night very easy as I knew it would be a pretty loooooong Saturday and Sunday. The next day, we headed off to Velocity Films' legendary party (they hold one every year at the Loeries). It's strictly by invitation and you needed to have those silly Kanye West louvred sunshades in order to get in.

Velocity had hired promo chicks in teeny-tiny shiny swimsuits (and a couple of guys in scary gold lamé hotpants) who were running around the pool offering people shots from their supersoaker guns. The man of the moment was one of our art directors, Prabashan, who got so drunk he was running up to the random hot girls asking them to take pictures with him. In all the pictures, he only had one look: Zoolander's Blue Steel.

(the next day, Prabs was looking through his photos exclaiming "who the heck are all these people I'm taking pictures with?!")

That night, it was the print awards. We didn't do too badly, with Kelly picking up a bronze and 2 silvers for his work on VW and WWF. Winners here.
And Prabashan was still drunk as a skunk.

It's a much bigger affair than Singapore's Creative Circle Awards that's always at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. This event was held in a gigantic tent that was specially erected and is a complete spectacle of a performance... with drum majorettes, comedians, even one of SA's biggest bands, The Parlotones, performing in between awards. Apparently something like R24 million was spent here this year! (that's US$3.25 million!)

What was funny were the rows and rows of Nice toilets - the same trailer port-a-loos we have on shoots, but there were like 20 of them lined up together so it was quite a sight!

After the show, we headed for a quick bite at Panarotti's, where they used our client's beer bottles, but not for beer. I thought it was a myth that housewives saved Grolsch bottles to use as salad cream holders, but it looks like Panarotti's does it too. (it's not very effective for salad cream as everything dribbles down the side of the bottle and it's a mess.)

Next stop: THE OGILVY PARTY! Both Joburg and Cape Town offices held a party upstairs of the local bar, Johnny Rockets. Clients, directors, production houses, post houses, creatives et al boogied the night away.

(the blonde chick in denim jacket is my boss!)

The next day on Sunday, with throbbing feet, I hauled myself off to a lunch by a production house, Bouffant, about a half-hour drive outside of Margate. It was a much more civilized, adult affair at an Italian restaurant by the river. Far away from the maddening crowd.

And then it was back to round 2 of the madness for the second night of awards - this time the TV awards. One of my spots was a finalist in 3 categories (Halls UFO. Shoot pictures here), but unfortunately it didn't pick up any metal. We still had a great time though - with people blowing up Ogilvy balloons and beach balls and throwing them into the crowd. Some childish folk from the Jupiter Drawing Room ended up bursting our balloons (it's a long-standing rivalry between both agencies. They seem to hate us more than we hate them... some people liken Ogilvy to the rich nerdy kid at school that everyone loves to hate. Coz we have it all, I guess... the clients, the awards...) :p

The second night was a bigger affair - with an orchestra playing live, and about 50 choir singers on stage at one point. Right before they announced the Grand Prix, a red rope dangled down from above and a nimble guy starts twirling down, doing splits and arabesques a la Cirque du Soleil style. Very impressive. Makes Singapore's CCA's look like a school play in comparison.

Kelly & I were finished by this time, so spent a quiet night hanging out with Prabs (aka the Bengal Tiger) & Sanjiv. It was a bad idea for anyone who went out late this night as our bus left for the airport at 09h30 the next day. Good thing no one puked on the bus. We ended up at Durban airport having burgers and ribs for breakfast, with everyone trading stories of people behaving badly (no, I can't tell you).

More pictures and videos in the online album here:

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