2021 Axis Awards Gala Dinner & Winners

Posted 19 March 2021.

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To celebrate the incredible creative advertising work from over the last twelve months, 760 advertising and production company professionals came together at Shed 10 in Auckland last night. Emceed by the energetic and talented Chris Parker, the venue was packed to the brim with an industry appreciating being able to come together and swap chicken and beef and win bronzes, silvers and golds together IRL.

Tara Mckenty (Executive Creative Director of Google, Sydney), and Leo Premutico (Executive Creative Director and Co-Founder of Johannes Leonardo, New York), joined five local Jury Presidents on the Executive Judging Panel this year. Their role was to award the metal which included a total of 45 Gold Axis Awards, including 4 Grand Prix, and 6 golds for the Recognition and OTY Awards including Emerging Talent sponsored by The Radio Bureau, the Google Axis Student Challenge, the Brand Axis sponsored by TVNZ, and the Grand Axis sponsored by Facebook.

This year’s prestigious Grand Axis sponsored by Facebook, (who were out in force at the IRL last night), was scooped up by the visitors from Wellington, Clemenger BBDO and the NZ Government for the biggest campaign that has become part of our everyday life; “Unite Against COVID-19”, an integrated campaign designed to help bring together the nation during the pandemic outbreak in 2020. “Unite Against COVID-19” scored Clemenger BBDO three golds in the categories of Design 360, Integrated and as the ultimate Direct campaign, before going on to win a well-deserved Integrated Grand Prix. Clems also went onto win a further gold for their work with Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency called ‘Doors” in TV, Cinema and Online, above 30”.

Colenso BBDO and Clemenger BBDO jointly took out 2 golds in Brand Experience & Activation and then in Creative use of Media for the piece first viewed by the festival go’ers at Rhythm and Vines in the New year; “Unstoppable Summer: A COVID-19 public service announcement.” This piece was loved by the judges and went onto win a Grand Prix in the major category of Brand experience & Activation.

Colenso took home two more Golds for their work with Skinny “Friend-vertising” as a Direct Campaign and as a campaign in TV, Cinema and Online, below 30”.

​There were many other great creative contributions and well-deserving agencies at Axis 2021.

Special Group picked up two Gold Axis Awards for the Client Every Kiwi Counts and the very funny campaign called “Meddle in the New Zealand Election.” The golds were won in Direct Digital and for best Social media campaign. This campaign went onto win a much-deserved Grand Prix in the major category of Direct.

FCB New Zealand had a great win with our favourite PaknSave character “Stickman” and the campaign called “Instickman” for Foodstuffs was awarded a worthy Gold in the Influencer category.

To everyone’s delight, Saatchi & Saatchi has a sterling night and won three golds with the much-loved ad for Toyota Hilux called “Unbreakable Bond”. This work won in Copywriting for TV Film and Video, in Film and Video for a TV spot over 30” and also in Integrated. The spot was very popular amongst judges and was awarded heavily in Craft, that lead to the 2021 Client of the Year Award sponsored by oOh!Media, being taken away by Toyota New Zealand. The team then went on to win the 2021 Brand Axis kindly sponsored by TVNZ. This is an important industry award, as it shines a light on major brand-building work that is the result of a successful creative collaboration between a Marketing Client and their Agency. The award recognised the 21 year bond between Saatchi & Saatchi and Toyota Hilux. A big night for that team.

Craft had a great showing this year with a host of strong golds. Good Oil won four golds in Cinematography, Direction, Editing with their partners The Editors and in Sound Design for the great piece of film called “Doors” for Waka Kotahi NZTA.

Sweetshop won three golds in Cinematography, Direction and Editing for the great piece of work “Unbreakable Bond” for Toyota NZ. And a fourth gold for Direction for Chorus and the work called “Fibre. Its How we Internet Now.” The Director for Unbreakable bond went onto win a Grand Prix for Direction which was loudly applauded by the room.

Flux Animation picked up a well-deserved gold for the Disney piece called “From Our Family to Yours” and Assembly were awarded a worthy gold for the excellent piece of work called “The Voice of Racism” for the New Zealand Human Rights Commission in the Digital Craft category of User Experience. Blockhead also won a gold in Visual Effects for “You Can See It, You Can Stop It” for Worksafe.

Motion Sickness completed the Craft golds with their super popular work for the Department of Internal Affairs called The Eggplant – an offshoot of the Keeping it Real Online campaign, winning in the category of Long-Form Campaign.

The 2021 Emerging Talent Award went to Stan and Aiken from DDB Group Aotearoa and the winners of the Google Student Challenge were Robyn Ramsay and Luke Roxburgh from Media Design School, for “Kapiti – Only in your Country”.

But in the end, it was DDB’s night. DDB Group Aotearoa felt like they owned the screen on the night as they were awarded a massive swag of silvers across 5 Clients and 7 campaigns and then they took home 6 Golds for strong work across two major campaigns for Lotto and McDonalds. A beautiful example of art direction at its best, “Reflections” won gold as an Out of Home Campaign for McDonalds, and the single execution “Fries” won three further golds in Craft for Art Direction and Image and then as a piece of great Standard Outdoor. The campaign called “Commas” for Lotto NZ won a gold in the out of Home campaign category and the single execution called “Cars” was awarded a gold as a single piece of outdoor Advertising. DDB went onto take the hard-fought for Agency of the year for 2021 and the room erupted.

“Axis remains an important moment, and one that we all respect in the New Zealand creative calendar because it celebrates our best creative work; the work our industry is justifiably proud of because it has looked at the world through a new lens, challenged the existing paradigms, permeated popular culture and influenced behavioural change; well done to all the winners this year” said Paul Head, CEO of The Comms Council.

The Comms Council Axis Awards are made possible through the generous support of our Commercial Partners oOh!Media and TVNZ, and our important sponsors NZME, The Radio Bureau, Google and Facebook. A massive thanks to them.