"New Friend" Tops IBA TV Competition - International Broadcasting Awards - Brief Article
NEW ORLEANS--The snap. com spot "New Friend," directed by Ray Dillman of bicoastal Gartner, returned to the winners' circle earlier this week (1/24), garnering the '99 Television Sweepstakes best of show honor from the 40th annual International Broadcasting Awards (IBA). Conceived by NBC On-Air Promotions, Burbank, Calif., the ad became widely known last summer when it won the primetime Emmy award for best television commercial of the year (SHOOT, 9/3/99, p. 1).
"New Friend" is a departure from the assorted Internet spots that are steeped in off-the-wall comedy. It tugs at the heartstrings to show the human value of snap.com, the Internet portal owned in part by NBC. The :60 tells the story of a young boy named Tommy who notices a deaf boy on the school bus. Later that evening at home, Tommy searches for a sign language tutorial on the Internet, and teaches himself to sign with the help of a Web site powered by snap.com. The next time Tommy meets up with the deaf boy on the bus, the two are able to communicate and strike up a friendship.
"New Friend" also earned Dillman an IBA trophy for best direction during a precedent setting awards ceremony at the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Convention in New Orleans. This is the first year that the IBA competition--sponsored by the Hollywood Radio & Television Society (HRTS)--hooked up with NATPE. HRTS executive director Gene Herd explained that the connection was made to increase the IBA's prominence internationally. He estimated that the NATPE link helped to increase TV and radio spot entries to 1,500 this year, as compared to 1,100 in '99, and projects further growth in 2001, primarily from entries outside the U.S.
"More than ever before, our domestic television business has become linked, to a larger, global marketplace," said David Tenzer, an agent with Creative Artists Agency, Beverly Hills, and IBA co-chair with Tom Nunan, president of entertainment at UPN, Hollywood. "Honoring the world's best commercials at NATPE acknowledges that connection, and strengthens it."
The field of IBA television winners included another NBC On-Air Promotion entry: "Third Rock Health Films,"' an ad for the NBC series Third Rock From The Sun. The spot, which topped the broadcast/cable entertainment promotion category, was directed by Mark Bennett, who is repped for commercials by Santa Monica-headquartered 1/33 Productions. Bennett was also the copywriter on "New Friend."
Director Gerard de Thame of bicoastal HSI Productions and London-based Gerard de Thame Films figured prominently in the IBA TV derby, based on work for Lincoln Mercury out of Young & Rubicam, San Francisco. Lincoln Mercury's "Water Droplet," "Surprising Journey 1" and "Surprising Journey 2" earned distinction as best series of three commercials. "Surprising Journey 1" additionally took the combination live-action/effects category.
Young & Rubicam, San Francisco, also won for Clorox's "Vet," which was named best English language :30 produced in the U.S. The spot was directed by David Ramser of bicoastal/international The Artists Company.
Dentsu Inc., Tokyo, was another multiple honoree. Its "Changing Schools" for Mitsui Real Estate was named best live action, non-English :60. The director was Jun Ichikawa of Tohokushinsha Film Corp., Tokyo. Dentsu's "Press Conference" for the Japan Trucking Association--directed by Daihachi Yoshida of TYO Productions, Tokyo--took the short spot, 20 seconds or less category. And Japan Tobacco Inc.'s "Compartment," also via Dentsu, was designated as the best spot promoting environmental awareness. It was helmed by Keith Rose of Velocity Afrika, Johannesburg. Rose is repped stateside by bicoastal M-80.
Additionally, AMP Radio Networks' "Butterfly," out of Dentsu Young & Rubicam-Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, topped the local television, one market category. "Butterfly" was directed by Pierre Nayagam of Frames Production, Selangor, Malaysia.
Hiromu Tanaka of the aforementioned Tohokushinsha Film Corp. directed Toa Gosei's "Music Box" for Yomiko Advertising, Tokyo. It was honored as best live action, non-English language :30.
A pair of J. Walter Thompson offices also scored in the TV competition. The agency's Chicago office copped the animation category for Oscar Mayer Foods' "Breakfast Machine," directed by Pascal Blais of Pascal Blais Productions, Montreal. And J. Walter Thompson, Atlanta, turned out the best live action, English language :60 produced in the U.S.: Slazenger Golf Balls' "As Good As It Gets," directed by Steve Colby of Means Street Productions, Atlanta.
Belair Direct's "Toot Uncommon," out of BBDO Toronto, was named best live action English language :60 produced outside of the U.S. It was directed by Tim Abshire via The Partners' Film Company, Toronto. Abshire is repped in the U.S. by bicoastal Shelter Films.
Sears Roebuck & Co's. "Peacock" was selected the best live action English language :30 produced outside of the U.S. "Peacock" was directed by Steve Gordon of Radke Films, Toronto, for Ammirati Puris Lintas, Toronto.
The top humor spot produced in the U.S. was "Kids Talk" for the Quaker Oats Company, directed by Bob Ebel of Ebel Productions, Chicago, via Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago. The best humor commercial produced outside of the U.S. was Kellogg Canada's "Pass The Lotion," directed by David Wellington of Blink Pictures, Toronto, for Leo Burnett Co., Toronto.
Taking the public service TV category was "Pass It Down," for the Coalition on Donation. It was helmed by Rob Michael Cohn of Big Chair Productions, New York, for Della Femina/Jeary & Partners, New York.
IBA category winners received Ollie trophies, named after the late HRTS executive director Oliver Crawford. The awards ceremony was emceed by Eric McCormack and Debra Messing, stars of NBC's Will and Grace.