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10and5 interview with Mark Tomlinson

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The Loerie Awards are only a few days away! We interviewed Mark Tomlinson, a founder and executive creative director of award-winning digital agency, HelloComputer. Mark is one of the judges for the digital Loeries and explains a little of what goes into the judging for these categories.

Between 10and5: What do you think the reason is for the decline in digital entries this year when online ad spend has increased?

Mark Tomlinson: I think many of the Digital Agencies are looking to improve their bottom line, much focus has been on new and larger client acquisition. I believe most independents are trying to build value in their entities, and whilst creativity is certainly a core skill, they are turning work out faster to meet these financial targets. This means the standard of work might not be what we are used to in previous years where the focus was on producing the best creative product.

10and5: In the past, campaigns consisting of both traditional advertising and online elements have caused controversy by being submitted under the advertising agency’s name over the digital agency’s name. How should these campaigns be entered?

MT: We are supporters of collaboration, so obviously we like to see both agency names in lights. The days of outsourcing and hoping no one will find out are gone, and really the smaller shops who are doing great work deserve the credit. A dual entry is the only real way forward.

10and5: In your opinion, should a digital Loerie entry be judged as stand alone or should it’s effectiveness be judged by how it fits in with a campaign as a whole?

MT: We have strict criteria when judging, but all work is judged within its category, with relevance. There are categories for specific digital skills, such as craft, where an entry can showcase a more specific skill, and there are opportunities to enter in categories which embrace all aspects of a campaign, including digital. I think this has proven an effective method in awarding work.

10and5: What are South African digital agencies doing right?

MT: We are dynamic, hungry and I believe quite cost effective.

10and5: And what do they still need to work on?

MT: ATL integration, big ideas, and Craft..Craft…Craft. How often do you hear of SA agencies winning an FWA?

10and5: For a digital agency, is there a different feeling winning a Loerie award as opposed to winning a digital award such as a Bookmark, a FWA or a Webby?

MT: Yes, all are excellent accolades, however I believe WEBBY, and FWA to be on a different level. I personally took years to attain an FWA, as there you are competing with the world’s best in digital, many who have little of the limitations we have around bandwidth and budget, although that’s not an excuse for not producing excellent work. Winning a WEBBY honoree was fantastic, the judges include people like: Matt Groening, Richard Branson, David Bowie and my personal favourite Alex Bogusky of CP+B whom HelloComputer worked with on the BCYCLE project. It’s safe to say WEBBY and FWA gave us a whole different feeling of goodness 😉

Thanks for your time and insight, Mark. And best of luck to all the digital Loerie finalists!



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