Britain remained dominant at the 1995 Epica Awards, winning 13, closely followed by Sweden and France, but the coveted Epica d’Or was won by regional Scottish agency Faulds Advertising, proving that you don’t have to be a big fish to succeed – just have big ideas. By Stuart Smith

What is a “foggy bummer”? Well, briefly, it’s one of a series of ads that, against all odds, won the supreme prize for creativity at this year’s Epica advertising awards.

The Epica awards are judged by international trade journalists, from over 20 countries. Many are gifted linguists, English being the lingua franca. All the same, a campaign for a local radio station, BBC Radio Scotland, featuring an obscure Scottish dialect called “the Doric” in one of the ads, was not the most obvious candidate for the Epica d’Or 1995.

Don’t imagine competition for the top prize wasn’t tough. As usual, West End advertising featured prominently among the category winners, and since the Epica d’Or is selected from this elite constituency, BBC Radio Scotland was in some very distinguished company. Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s “Clayman” – it’s first animated campaign for Levi jeans – was runner-up. Abbott Mead Vickers.- BBDO’s “Twister”, the Volvo 850 ad featuring a tornado, also made good headway. As did “Carl in New York, Young & Rubicam’s latest ad for Pirelli; and “Mind Game”, the grainy black-and-white TV ad for Tag Heuer by BDDP Paris.

Ultimately, the BBC Radio Scotland campaign won because it was more imaginative. Note in passing the creative leverage of what, compared with many category winners, was a minute budget. More significant, however, was the ingenious approach to the brief adopted by Edinburgh-based Faulds Advertising. Copywriter Adrian Jeffery and art director Lindsey Redding skilfully overcame the near insuperable problem of representing radio sounds in a visual medium (TV), by use of innovative graphics. The diversity of the station’s programming and audience was reflected in a series of executions which involved the creative team sitting through hundreds of hours of broadcast output. Each execution, however, was convincingly branded with the same visual hallmarks sub- sumed in the theme: “Rediscover the power of the spoken word.”

While small may be beautiful for the Epica d’Or, increasing size and internationalisation mattered elsewhere. Notably, Y&R picked up five winners in five countries and BBDO five winners in four. DDB Needham, McCann-Erickson and TBWA also did well.

The most successful agency was, for the first time, French – BDDP Paris, which took four winners. Overall, however, Britain remains the dominant ad culture, with a total of 57 finalists, of which 13 took prizes. This despite the fact that senior British creatives are still imposing an informal embargo on the Awards.

Sweden, which weighed in second, provides the measure. It fielded 42 finalists, of which 11 were winners. Third, in category winners and finalists, was France with ten and 20 respectively. Overall, Epica entries increased 17 per cent, while the number of participating countries went up for the ninth consecutive year.

By the way, a “foggy bummer” is a bumble bee.

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