Miami Beach Magic: ADC Festival 2015

Third time's the charm as ADC hosts its best Festival ever

Last week, three hundred souls from around the world descended upon the sand-swept shores of Miami Beach for the third incarnation of the ADC Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design. Some came to recharge their creative batteries and reinvigorate their professional spirits. Others came to reconnect with old friends and to meet new ones. Still others came for the glory, to be honored with an ADC Cube or Tomorrow Awards trophy. No matter the reason for the trek to South Beach, however, the end result was the same: three phenomenal days of inspiration, and three exhilarating nights of celebration.

“There are so many superlatives I could supply. Too many, really. But to sum it up quickly, I’ll say I’ve never been to a conference where there’s been such a small and intimate group of fun strangers who were hugging it out after just three days.”
— Festival attendee

The ADC Festival is a smaller event by design; by keeping every aspect of the three days intimate, casual and personal, everybody in attendance gets to experience everything and meet everyone — not in a wine-glass-in-one-hand-business-card-in-the-other sort of way, but genuine, friendly engagement. That said, this means that most of you who are reading this were not with us in Miami Beach last week.

Never fear, friends! In this brief missive, we will try to encapsulate just how incredible those three days and night were, in what we think was the best year of this short and sweet beachside tradition.

“The ADC Festival was the best networking event I’ve ever been to! The atmosphere, the people, the ADC team, the hotel crew, the vibe, the location, the palms, the beach, the sun, the award shows, the workshops, the pool parties and so on and on. It’s hard to pack it in one sentence – it was amazing.”
— Festival attendee


“I loved the hands-on experience and all of the energy of all the other creatives around me, everyone putting their own twist on what we were creating.”
— Festival Attendee

The ADC Festival sets itself apart from other conferences and festivals by the strength of its workshops, and this year didn’t disappoint. The Great Room of the Royal Palm Hotel was base camp for eight of the most engaging, irreverent hands-on workshops imaginable, each one designed to shake up your creative spirit, collaborate with newfound friends — and maybe get a little messy in the process.


“No Brains Allowed” © Lynn Parks Photography

Getting messy was definitely the order of the day for the first two workshops of Festival. After welcome speeches by ADC Executive Director Ignacio Oreamuno and ADC Board President Philippe Meunier, and a kickoff mojito toast (quickly becoming an ADC Festival tradition) we dove headfirst into Rich Tu’s “No Brains Allowed.” Balloons, bodysuits and breakdancers were among the many canvases in play, in a frenetic icebreaker where the paint flew just as much as the ideas. This workshop was followed by a lesson in graffiti by French husband and wife duo 123Klan, where everybody walked away with a tag in their very own “le wild style.”

“Jim Riswold and James Victore made me confront things I didn’t want to confront. They made me take a step forward.”
— Festival Attendee

Day Two of the Festival began with the dark humor of legendary advertising creative Jim Riswold. Jim might be famous for pairing Michael Jordan with Bugs Bunny and for telling the world what “Bo Knows”, but after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2001, he decided that advertising wasn’t what he wanted to be remembered by. Taking a lead from Jim’s subsequent art career, Festival attendees gave disease double-barreled middle fingers with “Stalin Says Fuck Cancer” in full Soviet-themed fashion that would do the brutal dictator proud.

When it came to experimentation and lowering inhibitions, it was hard to top the workshop of celebrity chef Dean Sheremet. His “Culinary Insanity” was truly infectious, and when people weren’t busy trying unusual food pairings, they were getting artistic with carving knives and pineapples, creating some masterpieces that would be perfect to contain your favorite tropical drink. And any workshop that ends in a 300-person conga line through the Royal Palm’s Breezeway is definitely one to remember.


“Culinary Insanity” © Lynn Parks Photography

After a screening of InspirADCion: Ivan Chermayeff, the crowd made a beeline for the beach, where master sandcastle builder Victor Leong made everyone honorary “Sentinels of Sand.” Tasked with building structures of their very own, guests learned a lot about teamwork, and walked away with sand in their toes and new friends with which to spend quality pool time.

“Building sandcastles was a preposterously fun way, not only to get to know new people, but figure out how to work as a team on a very short time line.”
— Festival Attendee

When guests entered the Great Room for the third and final day of the Festival, they were greeted by a room full of technology they might not have ever experienced before. This was Sprout by HP, a new immersive computer with a crazy number of way to interface with it, both physically and digitally. Fortunately digital design icon Joshua Davis was leading this workshop, and where there was hesitance, Josh replaced it with enthusiasm.


Pixels and pom-poms: Sprout by HP © Lynn Parks Photography

Acclaimed designer James Victore is never one to mince words, so when he called his workshop “The Hardest Workshop In The World”, you knew you were in for an experience. This was perhaps the most cerebral workshop of the Festival, with crazy activities replaced by introspective thinking. James had everyone defining themselves and abstract concepts. With just pen and paper, guests were encouraged to “know thyself”, and in doing so, build a career out of being thyself.

Finally, design superstars (and ADC Young Guns) Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman closed out Day Three of workshops with “Make It Personal”, bringing their famous “Quotes on Shit” project to the masses. In a short span of time, everyone at the Festival was turning discarded thrift store junk into Festival keepsakes. As people milled about with their creations, taking photos and chatting with Jessica and Tim, it was the perfect way to wind things down.

But lest you think that days at the Festival were nothing but workshops, there were also networking lunches at the Florida Cookery, where guests were made to sit with people they hadn’t been introduced to yet (the poker chips that kept track of things were a big hit!) Festival Sponsors Offset took wonderful and wacky snapshots throughout the duration of the Festival for our upcoming yearbook, and of course Creative Niche was back with Poolside Cocktails at the Corner Office, an afternoon open bar where guests could relax and unwind before the night festivities began.

Creative Niche's Pooltime at the Corner Office. © Lynn Parks Photography

Creative Niche’s Poolside at the Corner Office. © Lynn Parks Photography


“The ambience of all three nights was distinct and exciting! Each night presented its own unique experience.”
— Festival Attendee

When the sun began setting, the ADC Festival switched gears and transformed into celebratory mode. The ADC 94th Annual Awards and ADC Tomorrow Awards were presented over three separate evenings and three beautiful venues.

On the first evening, guests were whisked to the shores of Biscayne Bay and the breathtaking Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The sprawling near century old estate, whose Renaissance Revival settings have played host to presidents, popes and queens, served as an appropriately extravagant backdrop for the Design, Illustration and Photography Cube winners.

Backstage at Vizcaya © Lynn Parks Photography

Backstage at Vizcaya © Lynn Parks Photography

Despite earlier warnings of rain, we crossed our fingers and stayed the course to hosting an outdoor awards ceremony. We were rewarded with perfect weather and a wonderful presentation, including both a Black Cube and and a Designism Cube being awarded. We ended the magical evening with a sumptuous tasting menu and dancing on Vizcaya’s waterside terrace.




“Vizcaya was absolutely stunning!”
— Festival Attendee

For the second evening of the Festival, we turned the calendar back all the way ADC’s earliest years, decking out the incredible New World Center in a Prohibition-era theme. Flappers and feathers, seersucker and Sidecars, all combined to make the presentation of the Advertising, Digital and Motion Cube winners.


Prohibition era cocktails at New World Center © Lynn Parks Photography

Beginning with a sultry jazz ensemble and a rousing speech by Ignacio Oreamuno, attendees paid homage to an incredible class of winners, including another Black Cube and Designism Cube. Afterwards, we headed to the rooftop gardens at the New World Center and partied under the South Florida stars.



For the final evening of the Festival, we’d like you to imagine a parking garage. Now imagine a parking garage designed by internationally renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, one that doubles as luxury open-air venue with 35-foot ceilings and a full 360° view of South Beach. That “parking garage” is 1111 Lincoln Road, and the site of the ADC Tomorrow Awards 2015.


Edge of darkness at 1111 Lincoln Road © Lynn Parks Photography

Presented with a “tribal” theme by a Montreal collective of Sid Lee, APOLLO, SHED and BLVD. guests applauded the efforts of the five Tomorrow Awards winners while experiencing an especially golden sunset. But even as the clock approached midnight, the evening was far from over. Closing out the Festival with a proverbial bang, everyone descended from 1111 and moved onto posh nightspot Haven, where Festival Sponsor and ADC Global Partner Shutterstock hosted a blowout after party. We wouldn’t be surprised if we found out that some Festival goers are still there this very moment, dancing to the beats that remained in their heads after the 4 AM finale.


“Absolutely stunning! I wish we could’ve stayed at 1111 even longer because it was an amazing way to end the festival.”
— Festival attendee

Well there you have it, the entire ADC Festival condensed into a single article. To those of you who missed out on attending this year, we hope this gave you a little taste of what went down. To those of you who were in Miami Beach with us last week, first, we thank you. Secondly, we apologize profusely, as this story doesn’t even begin to convey what an awesome time we all had together. Words and photos on a screen simply can’t do it justice, and so we must rely on you to share your experiences with your friends and colleagues, so that they may join us in the sunshine next year.

ADC would like to thank the following Festival sponsors, whose contributions made everything possible: ADC Global Partner Shutterstock; Sprout by HP; Creative Niche; SapientNitro; The Community; and the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority.