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Awards Entries 2016

Looking at award winners can get more interesting over time – the work can increase in social and cultural significance within an historical context, it can tell us about changing media and changing times. So, ICAD prints an awards book and keeps an online archive of winning work and we dutifully dip into those from time to time, sometimes marvelling at the timelessness of a piece and sometimes grinning at how much it was of its time.

The entries themselves, and the categories in which they fall, are given far less airtime and yet they too can offer a glimpse of the status quo, both within the industry and larger society. ICAD first came into existence three years before there were regular television broadcasts coming from Donnybrook and the awards have witnessed all sorts of changes in that time – remember when ‘new media’ became old? In the last decade alone, the ICAD awards have seen ‘direct response’, ‘black and white consumer’ and the aforementioned ‘new media’ go from stalwart categories to defunct, and all the while the way in which the industry works and the media in which it operates have changed almost beyond recognition.

Where the weight of entries lie too, is interesting. Unsurprisingly, as work moved through the line, advertising print entries dropped significantly, TV and radio levels have fluctuated and the number of online, experiential and integrated campaigns has steadily increased. In fact, in the recent past we were able to refer to all entries under the banner of Print, TV, Radio, Design, Digital and Craft and now there are twelve categories that won’t fit under any of those headings.

This year, overall entry levels to the ICAD awards are strong. With over 700 entries, numbers are back at pre-recession levels. The categories are very different though. New categories introduced in 2016 in response to a changed media landscape have been very well received and yet, none of them get into our top ten most subscribed categories. They are:

  1. TV Commercial (up to 30 seconds) – 26 entries
  2. Website Design Single – 25 entries
  3. Logo Single – 24 entries
  4. Radio Commercial (up to 30 seconds) – 24 entries
  5. Radio Commercial (over 30 seconds) – 22 entries
  6. Web film (over 60 seconds) – 20 entries
  7. Press Consumer – 20 entries
  8. TV Commercial (over 30 seconds) – 20 entries
  9. Direction Single – 19 entries
  10. Rebranding Schemes – 17 entries

The surprises here are the design categories. Design numbers have more than doubled since 2014 so it makes sense that three of the top ten categories are design ones but to have twenty five websites entered is pretty remarkable, it has traditionally been an undersubscribed category in ICAD – I don’t remember there ever being ten websites entered in any given year and my ICAD memory goes back thirteen years at this point. If we take the increase in websites in the context of the other big categories though, it attests to something we’ve all been slowly realising might just be true – this recession might really be over. There is no doubt that businesses are investing in themselves again – they’re putting money back into TV, they’re taking care of their websites and they’re branding. Across the ‘logo’, ‘rebranding’ and ‘new branding’ categories, there are 57 entries. Bearing in mind that between 2009 and 2014, the entire number of design entries rested somewhere between an average of 70-80, that is a lot of branding. The 2016 ICAD entries represent a lot of businesses taking control again.

So, now we’re looking forward to the exciting bit – the judging, when the work itself gets assessed for its concept, execution and context. How will the traditional categories fare in comparison to newly introduced sections like ‘Creative for Change’ and ‘Innovation’? How will the standard hold up? It’s going to make for an exciting awards night on June 2nd and I, for one, can’t wait to see the work that will go on record as the best Irish advertising and design in 2016. (Elaine McDevitt)