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No doubting the quality

THE power and potential of online advertising was recognised at the recent Perth Advertising and Design Club awards at Subiaco Oval.

The top gong for the night went to 303 for its viral marketing campaign for innovative client adultshop.com

The campaign was a movie clip commercial shot specifically for the Internet.

While online marketing still struggles to find a comfortable niche and reliable revenue model, the success of adultshop.com’s campaign confirms that strong creative will drive advertising in an online environment.

Marketforce topped the award tally for the night, however the awards were spread across a number of agencies.

The awards were more than recognition of the creative work produced in the local industry. In a tough business climate, the work was judged to be on a level with agencies on the east coast of Australia.

Apart from the Brand Agency, which can’t seem to put a foot out of place, all the top agencies in Perth have grappled with the steady stream of accounts heading east.

But it’s more than a local effect. In Sydney and Melbourne there’s a similar loss of talent, this time headed for the bright lights of Europe and the US.

PADC judge and independent creative Marrcus Jaacson said Australia, not just Perth, had suffered from a terrible brain drain over the past seven years.

“Australia used to be in the top three (creative advertising industries in the world) and now it’s down in the top 20,” he said.

“I wouldn’t put Perth below the standard of (the rest of) Australia. When you look at the population of Perth, it’s pretty much on par.

“I would put design in WA right up there, and the standard of photography as well.

“I’d be happy to put this work in any award judging anywhere in the world.”

Mr Jaacson said a lack of training and professional development was holding the industry back across Australia, rather than the absence of creative opportunities.

And AWARD school, once a rich training ground for young creatives, has turned into a “money making business”, he said.

Agencies are employing young people with very little training to fulfil demanding roles, where costly errors have the potential to do major damage to a client’s brand.

“Agencies aren’t putting enough time into the development of a good idea,” Mr Jaacson said. “You don’t crack it over a napkin at lunch. A really great piece of communication is a huge amount of work and it only comes from doing an enormous number of ideas.

“We have to be disciplined … the industry is just a bit apathetic.”

PADC judge, Adelaide screenwriter Steve Callen, has recently moved into his new profession after working in the local advertising industry in South Australia.

“I think, per capita, Perth does very well,” Mr Callen said. “It’s a similar size to

Adelaide but it’s a higher standard.

“And there’s a very different feeling in the industry … there’s great camaraderie.

“Even talking to clients there seems to be a lot more respect, and the advertising industry seems to be very well supported by clients.

“This year the work seems to be much more spread across the agencies.”

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