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An Interview with Marek Hlavica - Prague International Advertising Festival




An Interview with Marek Hlavica - Prague International Advertising Festival

Great to hear that there is going to be an ad festival in Prague. It gives a lot of us an excuse to come and meet the local talent. But this is an international show right? Are entries open to anyone globally?

PIAF is not limited in terms of any specific territory. A great, creative idea can originate anywhere in the world. The endless possibility to share ideas over the Internet contributes to sharing know-how. However, it is not enough to see the finished product. Just like you will never become a world-class conductor if you only watch all the great concerts around the world on television. It's the same with advertising - to become a first-class marketer or creative, you must permanently interact with people in the industry, with people who need the opportunity to meet, discuss, oppose and listen, with people from all around the world.

There are a lot of award shows to enter across the year, tell us why you thought it would be a good idea to create another? And why you think people should enter?

We have tried to create a concept which, in our opinion, corresponds with today's needs. It is by no means some kind of gigantic event, which will keep people away from work for an unacceptable amount of time and ruin their company budgets. Under one roof, on an island lapped by a river, for a period of three days we will create a sort of republic of advertising. It will be a place where people can meet other participants without having to spend ages looking for them, and with no need to study a thick brochure with the festival's programme. We want to offer the very best from the advertising industry and we take the same approach in putting together the festival jury. We have also decided to stimulate people's interest by offering very interesting prizes for participation and we have negotiated exceptionally favourable prices with hotels in Prague. We are convinced that those who will visit Prague in the spring will be happy to come back again. However, our job now is to convince them to come and see PIAF for themselves.

What media are you going to cover? How will you cope with the integrated/Titanium/new stuff?

There are ten different categories in the PIAF Awards competition, covering the widest range of contemporary media and fields of creative work. Most of the categories are pretty straightforward - these are Video, Audio, Print, OOH, Online, and Design. However, PIAF has several categories in which special rules apply. The Innovation Award will serve for the most original use of media or for best new creative idea, irrelevant of the type of media. In the Campaign category, the best crossmedia/integrated campaigns will be awarded. The Pro-bono PIAF Award is a category on its own for non-profit creative works. No entry from this category can become the overall winner. And then - the Best Beer Ad Award. We have created this special category to honour one of the strongest points of Czech cultural heritage - beer, recognized by many as being the best in the world. I hope this category, complemented by the screening of selected legendary beer ads, will bring a lot of fun to visitors and jurors alike. The last Award may not be announced at all. The Grand Prix PIAF Award shall be a very precious, scarce commodity, awarded only if the Jury is absolutely sure about the outstanding qualities of the winning entry. As there could be no Grand Prix awarded, there may, theoretically, be two or more. But at this moment, none of us expects this to happen.

Is this an award show or a festival? I.e. will there be a programme of great stuff for us to see? If so, please give us an idea of what we can expect to see/hear and what we will benefit from travelling to Prague as well as entering.

PIAF is a "full-scale" advertising festival. It comprises a competition and 24 modules, in which a wide range of lectures, seminars, workshops and panels will be presented by some of the leading figures in the industry. In its first year, PIAF will welcome creative directors from companies that rank among the largest advertisers on the global scale, the most prominent personalities in the field of market and consumer, experts on new media, seasoned members of EU legislative and regulatory bodies, legends of creative advertising and outstanding people from many other segments of marketing communication. Our prime aim is to make the programme inspirational but also entertaining. We prefer interactive seminars and commented screenings to classic-style lectures. We want PIAF to deliver quality and new ideas but also fun. Every visitor should have a good time here. Bored guests will mean that we have failed, regardless of how many entries we receive or how big stars perform at PIAF. Obviously, Prague with all of its attractions - and I am not talking about beer at this moment - is a huge asset and it helps us a lot. The basic framework of the programme will be announced by the end of February. What we have already said is that one of the topics - but not the principal one - will be controversial, disputable advertising. Campaigns that balance on the edge, whether it be the edge of the law, ethics or good taste.

What does the jury look like? Is it an international spread or will it be a local jury?
The Jury consists of 17 members. Seven of them, including the Chairman, will be permanent, judging all of the categories; the other ten will be specialists for one category only. Fifteen jury members are from abroad and there are two Czech members. But they are no strangers to the world's creative elite. We do have the Chairman already but we will announce the name later on to keep our media busy.

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