Champagne, red carpet and rubbing shoulders with the ad industry’s best

Surrounded by the biggest names in the Australian advertising industry, Ashleigh Hogan tells of her experience at the AdNews, Agency of the Year Awards.

It has come down to this, the AdNews Agency of the Year Awards 2014 (held in 2015 but acknowledging the 2014 campaigns…I know-confusing). The AdNews awards are seen as one of the biggest awards that an agency can achieve as the nominees are recognised by the amount of minor awards achieved throughout the year. Luckily, some of Macleay’s11034258_489595944512344_1795563846160227612_n students were invited to dine with these high recognised agencies as we witnessed their successes.

Being one of the students that was fortunate to go, I thought it was one of the best experiences of my life so far. I got to dance and meet some of the people who I would some day be. The moment I arrived at the Dockside Pavilion, I felt like I was already apart of the industry; treated equally to all the people in the room and speaking to some of the most genuine yet successful people, the thought of being a student went right out the door and the thought of being in their shoes one day became a possibility.1484526_10205818345808636_3796115332436180595_n

Where we were seated in the room surrounded us with winners which was quite exciting. Tabled to our right was Saatchi & Saatchi and they won three AdNews awards in total for The Game Changer Awards, The Ad of the Year and the Digital Campaign of the Year whilst to our left was SOAP Creative who scored an AdNews Award for the Digital Agency of the Year. I even got a photo with the award!

The room was buzzing but when it came to The Hall of Fame Award, everyone went silent. If I had to say what was one of my highlights of the night was, it would have to be The Hall of Fame Award. The 2014 AdNews Hall of Fame awards went to Scott Whybin. What moved me about this award was that Scott Whybin achieved so much in his career, is respected by so many that he received a standing ovation as he walked up the to that stage. He could have easily boasted about himself in his moment under the stage lights but instead, he spoke about the passionate youth. He spoke about being the 20 year old Newcastle boy, passionate about the advertising industry and was given a shot to be someone. Saying that, he also said he 10690_10205818386449652_6554945664722670255_nhopes the industry we have now is still the same one that he was introduced to and the young people full of passion like he was, were given the same chance he was given. I then realised he was talking about us; one day being like him and maybe 30 years from now, being on the Hall of Fame.

I’m not going to lie, but I didn’t know who Scott Whybin was but Googling him after the awards night astonished me. He founded WHYBIN/TBWA in 1994 which is a growing agency that has three offices in three cities and is worth over $500 million (imagine selling that out in 5c coins- MIND BLOWING)10471134_10205421059422409_2522958393585930947_n

As we got towards the end of the night, the most important award was left till last. This was the Agency of the Year Award. The nominees for this award was not given at the start of the night, but they were chosen according to their 10441382_10205818560814011_7525827703931020521_nachievements during the presentation. It was said to be a tight competition between Cumins & Partners, Mnet, SOAP Creative, and Leo Burnett but in the end there could only be one winner. As a drum roll filled the room, the AdNews Agency of the Year Wward for 2014 was given to Leo Burnett.

As the awards were all given out and the formalities were over, the real party began and people swarm to the dance floor. There was a D.J hitting tunes all night (in a VW Kombi! How sick is that?!), a bar that kept the booze flowing and an Instagram booth to capture the fun. Overall, it was the best night that I have had so far. It was such a great introduction to the party life that comes with being apart of this industry. If I had to take away a lesson from this, it would have to be “work hard to party hard.” By the end of the night, my legs were KILLING but it was all very worth it.

A huge word of appreciation goes to Jeremy Taylor-Riley who arranged to co-sponsor the participation of the advertising students.

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