“Judge, not executioner.”

I’ve been away. Sorry. I was too busy passing
judgment on work better than my own (among other

The first leg of the Ad Congress
Araw Awards judging – covering Direct, Interactive and Design, TV Craftsmanship
and Radio – wrapped up Wednesday at the Dusit hotel. I was a member of the radio
jury, and we finished last. I wasn’t surprised. We had miscued radio commercials
on the first day; most of us spent the first ten seconds of every spot locating
its title on the score sheet rather than actually listening to it. After several
rounds of that, the judges decided to call a break and have the spots redubbed
in the proper order. We also had mediocre speakers, the ultimate disservice to
the entrants who had spent hours tweaking the screechy sound effect just so.
Tanke volunteered TBWA’s sticks and ears all around the room were

For the first time in Ad
Congress history, the numbers didn’t dictate the winners. Previously, if 70% of
the judges voted for a material, it was a bronze; 80%, a silver; and so on. This
time, the competition committee adopted the Cannes and Adfest route. The initial
voting would only lead to a list of finalists. Then, the judges themselves would
decide, through (not always calm and composed) discussion, which finalists
deserved bronze, silver, gold or nothing.

It was a treat, a joy, truly, to have
been a part of those discussions, no matter how inane I thought I sounded at
times. (I can’t tell you how many times I said, “This is really difficult to
explain…”) Normally, during judging, everyone’s poker-faced, in the service of
fairness – a smirk at the wrong time could influence the other judges, and all
that. This was different. People robustly defended work they thought deserved to
win, laughed at punchlines and inappropriate jingles, and generally reacted
like, well, people.

My co-jurors were
passionate, meticulous and fair to the point of fatigue. Out of more than 200
entries in the single-entry category, 49 made it as finalists. I know who won,
and I am being a good girl and not telling, because Lilit said so, and he’s going to pour beer over
my head if I emit even a squeak.