The View From the Jury: Nkanyezi Masango

"Rare observations" from Y&R CD at ADC 95th Annual Awards Judging

Last week, the ADC team left the friendly confines of its New York gallery and headed westward with the Advertising and Digital juries of the ADC 95th Annual Awards. While most award shows prefer to conduct their judging in tropical climes, this year we went against the grain, taking our esteemed and diverse group of judges more than 8,000 feet above sea level, to the frosty peaks of Beaver Creek, Colorado. Snow and skies replaced sea and sand, as ADC went all in on “après-ski”. The result was still the same: incredible minds got together to debate and decide the most Cube-worthy advertising and design work of the past year.

We asked a few of our Jury Members to share their experiences of the past week, as soon as they came down from their Rocky Mountain highs.


Creative Director
Y&R Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa
Advertising Jury



The only thing more rare than an ADC Cube, is the opportunity to award it.

So when I got invited to be part of this prestigious panel, I was excited to drop sunny Cape Town for snowy Beaver Creek. The chance to select culture-shaping advertising, combined with seeing snow, is too rare to pass up. On top of that, at ADC you get to judge work across multiple categories. The experience gave me a wide perspective of our industry. So after a week snuggled in a cozy room with brilliant minds, sifting through the world’s best work, I made a list of 5 observations. It’s a list I like to call, Rare Observations. Here goes:

Rare observation #1:
Just because it’s mixed-media, doesn’t mean it’s integrated.

Mark Tutssel, our chairman, said it best: “a truly integrated idea weaves itself into the fabric of culture”. It’s not about shoe-horning a campaign into different mediums. A powerful integrated idea transcends media channels. #LikeAGirl is a classic example. The idea that won for integrated ADC is also proof of this.

Rare observation #2:
“Fear will slow you down”

The first day of judging was quick. At 12:30, the ADC crew whisked us up to Vail, for some snowmobiling where we were split into two teams: fast and slow. Being a first-timer, I decided to go slow. It was an epic, exhilarating ride. But the fast team got to go all the way to the top. I should’ve gone with the fast team.

Rare observation #3:
“Idea first, Craft second.”

This is actually an Obvious Observation that we’re all aware of, but it needs to be constantly reiterated – the purpose of craft is to enhance an idea, not to make up for it. No matter how beautifully crafted a piece is, if the core idea is weak, the whole thing is meaningless.

Rare observation #4:
“Students must step away from case films.”

There were student entries that showed case films with weak ideas and fabricated results.

Rare observation #5:
“Diversity is powerful.”

At the end of the week, we had narrowed the work down to just a handful of inspiring pieces. This was achieved through intelligent debates from a variety of perspectives. I doubt we would have reached that point without such a diverse group of jurors, each contributing a unique insight. Or cultural context. I learnt a helluva lot from everyone.

It’s definitely an experience I’ll never forget.


The ADC 95th Annual Awards Celebration takes place Thursday, June 9, 2016 in New York City.