“Heartbeat of America,’ Chevrolet’s advertising anthem for 1986, showed no signs of cardiac arrest as it dominated at the 16th annual U.S. Television & Radio Commercials Mobius Awards Presentation held January 23 at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Over 200 guests, representing the international and domestic commercial industry, attended the black tie awards banquet that honored the world’s best awards banquet that honored the world’s best and most creative television and radio commercials. A screening of the international award winning television spots kicked off the festivities that included a speech by Lou Centlivre, executive vp and managing creative director at Foote, Cone & Belding/Chicago.
Advertising giant Campbell-Ewald, based in Warren, Mich., received “Best of Festival’ honored and nine Mobius awards for “Heartbeat of America.’ Amidst the cacophony of a strong heartbeat, the commercial epitomizes the ambience of middle-class America and its incessant love affair with the automobile.
“We hit a responsive chord in the American public and we have done it in a very responsible way,’ insists Sean Fitzpatrick, executive creative director at Campbell-Ewald. “”The Heartbeat of America’ captures the resurgence and renewal of Chevrolet and this makes people feel good. The commercials are a very special vision of the people of America.’
The series was directed by Bruce Dowad of Jennie & Company, New York, for Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors. Fitzpatrick and Dennis H. Plansker, broadcast creative director at Campbell-Ewald, worked with agency producers Ken Domanski and Chris Firestone on the project. Joey Levine of Crushing Music provided the musical score. Bill Riss of Image Express was editor; Fred Schuller, dp.
“”Heartbeat of America’ embodies all of the good aspects of commercials in the last year,’ explains J.W. Anderson, chairman of the awards festival. “The music is what has made it such a big hit as well as the excellent editing.’
By night’s end, Campbell-Ewald garnered the most accolades–a total of eleven first place Mobius statuettes have been carted back to Michigan. Two of the awards were for “Auto Teller,’ a humorous Sedelmeier spot for General Motors Acceptance Corp. The agency was also honored with a special plaque recognizing its outstanding creativity, innovative and execution of the award-winning commercials.
Winning “Best of Festival’ is not a unique experience for Campbell-Ewald. The agency has made the Mobius acceptance speech before when its 1984 Chevrolet Corvette series “Never Before’ capture top festival honors. And in 1985, “Lean On Me,’ a Chevrolet truck commercial created by the Michigan agency, won a Mobius award.
The Mobius award celebration honored 15 nominees for best of festival represented by products or services advertised for Chevrolet, McDonald’s, Kodak, NBC, Hawaiian Punch, Budweiser, Lee Jeans, Bounce, Citizen Watches and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. International nominees included Tourism Canada; Land Rover, England; Volvo, Sweden; Hamlet Cigars, England; and Radio Rentals also from England.
Among the other top winners were England’s Collett Dickenson Pearce & Partners Ltd. The London-based ad agency received nine first place awards, all for television commercials for various clients. J. Walter Thompson, who last year set a Mobius record with 18 first place awards, captured a total of eight statuettes for ads from its offices in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Toronto and London.
Chicago agency winners included J. Walter Thompson’s “Peas,’ the Gerber/Baby Food spot, winning for best candy, food and beverage in the children’s products category. The spot was produced by Ampersand Productions, New York. A Mobius was also given to JWT for its “Spike & Speck’ Quaker/Kibbles ‘N Bits spot–it was best of pet products: food.
California-based EUE Screen Gems produced. Leo Burnett Company picked up three Mobius awards for its McDonald’s campaign “Silent Persuasion,’ “Golden Time’ and “Recital.’ All won in the category of food: eating out industry. New York-based Steve Horn, Inc. produced “Silent Persuasion’ and “Recital.’ Pytka Productions, located in California, shot “Golden Time.’ Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago won with its entry “Demonstration With a Twist,’ for Skil Twist Cordless Screwdriver. The commercial received highest honors in the utility category. It was produced by Wilson-Griak, a Minneapolis-based production company.
A commercial award show just wouldn’t be the same if at least one mention of Joe Sedelmaier didn’t slip in. Although no special honors were bestowed upon the man this year–last year’s Mobius Award Presentation spotlighted the Chicago-based director and awarded him 10 first place accolades–Sdelmaier still managed to collected three prizes. “Auto Teller,’ a spot created by Campbell-Ewald/Michigan, placed first in two categories–services: banking and financial and production technique: humor. “Texi,’ “Washroom,’ and “Airplane,’ a Check-Up Gum series directed by Sedelmaier in conjunction with ad agency Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt/Minneapolis, also won for production technique: humor.
A total of 106 first place Mobius statuettes were presented to commercials submitted into various subject and production technique categories. Of this total, 84 went to television commercials and 22 to radio. Over 3,000 commercials competed in the competition from over 22 nations. Although the number of commercial entries was down from last year’s high of 3,400, a larger variety of countries participated in the 1986 competition. Anderson attributes the number shifts to marketing and industry changes.
“There is a lot of turmoil in the advertising industry right now,’ Anderson says. “At the same time, shifts in expenditures in advertising dollars are moving away from broadcast productions and this was reflected in the number of entries for this year.’
The quota of commercials may have shrunk for the 1986 competition but because of better marketing techniques, more nations got involved in the event than ever before, Anderson adds.
Over 75 percent of the commercials entered in the festival were from the United States, a fact reflected by the amount of awards taken home by Americans. A total of 61 Mobius statuettes went to U.S. agencies, producers and sponsors. The United Kingdom acquired 27, Canada eight, Sweden three, New Zealand and Australia both garnered two and Holland, Singapore and South Africa each received one award.
The honored commercials uniquely displayed a flair for the creative and innovative approach to advertising but, however different they were, the similarities between the entries were just as apparent.
“I saw a lot of quick scene changes and condensed information,’ observes Anderson. “I think this is a result of the move towards the use of 15-second commercials. The idea is to convey as much information in as rapid time as possible. I am finding that there is a shifting away from the “Americana’ theme commercial of last year. There are still some commercials that use that theme but I am seeing less and less.’
Cost concerns and budget restraints have not affected this year’s batch of winners, according to Anderson. In fact, the opposite seems to be occurring. “Many of the commercials are using very strong computer-generated effects to create a futuristic look,’ Anderson says.