ThirtyThree claims February Ri Fiver

There are currently 36 Ri Fivers in circulation.  Four more will be presented at our next celebration at the IET's headquarters at Savoy Place, on 1st June.  ThirtyThree is the winning agency this month.  But which client did judges Jon Dobinson and Dan Gregory decide should join the Ri Fiver elite?  Here's their verdict:

"Who would not want to win an award? It's good for your career, it's good for your agency, it's good for your clients and it's good for your mantlepiece. In these tough times, jobs, accounts and client spend are at greater risk than we have known in this industry for years. Clients and agencies are looking closely at who's delivering good value and what they can cut. Award wins can help show why you're worth keeping.

So agencies and their creative teams should be fighting to produce work that really stands out and making sure they get recognition by entering every award they can. Good briefs may be less common at the moment, but you can take opportunities that might get missed in busier markets and there ought to be more time to craft work that is excellent in every way.

There ought also to be time to get your entries in. Yet we weren't exactly flooded this month. And too many entries were let down by details that turned a potential award-winner into an also ran, which is a shame. Successful agencies in these tough times will be those that set out to win.

So who did this month? We had a shortlist of four. Let's start with the beanstalk for Three. This was never going to be our winner, because we had both seen the concept too many times before. However, the execution displayed the craft skills we missed in some of the other entries. The copy is witty and thoughtfully constructed, and the art direction shows that someone cared about this leaflet. Put the same care and attention into a great concept and you've work that could win.


Next up is Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. A cute picture of a dog may be what you'd expect to find on this ad, but it's also what it must have, as it's a single-minded appeal to people who own and love dogs. Surely there is a more intriguing way of doing this though. The underlying idea- that you get to meet lots of interesting people when you volunteer - gives an unusual and convincing reason to get involved. But it's not a winner because it lacks stand-out, feeling flat and lacking excitement. The amount of copy seriously undermines the impact.

Life in Stoke must be tough. They were rated as the poorest performing council in the UK and the previous Chief Exec could only survive for nine months. Not the easiest place to start from when you're asked to recruit a successor. This ad responds with honesty and wit. It's a brave approach and the accompanying note says that it was also successful, as it pulled in many quality applicants, though Jon can't help feeling that the salary of almost £200K must have had something to do with it. Or are lots of local government bureaucrats being paid to enjoy the Goodwin lifestyle these days? Interesting idea lacking visual crafting.

However, the winner this month is Virgin. The global careers website is a demanding brief - the Virgin brand stretches across trains, cable TV, airlines, financial services and more. Though these companies share a common brand in theory, in practice there are huge differences in the tone of voice, as well as what they do. This site brings together all this by focusing on what the job seeker is looking for, rather than what the company wants to say. Initial caps on each line of copy is a bit distracting and the site can feel slightly disjointed at times. The photo story approach whilst seen many times before, seems to work here and little details throughout show that real care has been lavished on the project at every stage. It's full of interesting insights, quirky videos and stories that bring the brand to life. Predictable though it may be to choose Virgin, it had to win.


Over and out."


Thanks to judges Jon Dobinson, of Other Creative, and Dan Gregory, head of art at Tribal Resourcing for their wise words.  And congratulations to ThirtyThree and Virgin for winning the Ri Fiver for February, 2009.  Thanks and commiserations to Penna (Stoke chief exec.).  And a special mention for the freelance team of Ed Collingwood and Helen Jones who came close with their ad for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

The Ri Fivers are sponsored by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), one of the world's leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community. The IET publishes two key offline recruitment titles - Engineering & Technology and IET Student & Young Professional Magazine - and the website Engineering & Technology Jobs (

Closing date for entries for the March Ri Fiver will be midnight on Tuesday 31st March 2009.  Our judges for the third competition of the year will be freelance writer Mark Owen (, and Martin Flavin, creative director at LawtonWare in Southampton (  Please note that the judges' meeting is already scheduled and there can be no flexibility on deadlines this month.


Saturday, 28 February 2009

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