An increasing amount of work was submitted from non-Asian regions such as Europe, Africa and the Middle East, according to the competition's organising committee. In all, 164 major awards and 78 special ones went to a total of 1,666 finalists.
The Grand Prix of the Year was spilt between three entries: 'The Chase 360' for Volvo Trucks by Forsman & Bodenfors from Sweden; 'Sound of Honda / Ayrton Senna 1989' for Honda Motors by Dentsu of Japan; and 'Human Traffic Sign' for Shanghai General Motors by Lowe China. Each co-winner received a plaque and a cash prize of US$10,000.
Notably, 'The Chase 360°' and 'Sound of Honda / Ayrton Senna 1989' marked a departure from the conventional approach of focusing on comfort in car advertisements, but an "ingenious, creative" approach to connect product excellence with technological prowess, garnering high marks from the judges. The Honda campaign (see below) also did well at Ad Fest and Cannes this year.
The 'Human Traffic Sign' campaign underscored the importance of safe driving by featuring those who have been disabled in traffic accidents. It won high regard as a creative idea to resolve a social issue.
In addition, TBWA was awarded the Network Award of the Year, Cheil Worldwide the Agency of the Year Award, and Samsung Electronics the Advertiser of the Year.
Ad Stars touts itself as the "world’s first convergent advertising event consisting of online preliminary rounds and offline finals", according to the organisers. According to the organising committee, the large number of entries that were also submitted for globally prominent advertising festivals makes a case that Ad Stars should be considered in the same league, though judges begged to differ.
Entrants do not have a lot of resources left for "peripheral" advertising festivals like Ad Stars, even though it has a lot of potential, after entering "pedigreed" festivals like Cannes, One Show and D&AD, said Aaron Lau, CEO of Cheil Greater China. Ad Stars needs to think about how to make itself meaningful to agencies who are chasing after top-tier festival awards.
The festival could focus on something specific that nobody else offers, suggested Charlie Park, ECD of TBWA Korea, in the same way the Effie Awards differentiates itself with the concept of effectiveness.
The slogan for Ad Stars this year "Share creative solutions. Change the world" can be extended to fields such as architecture that go beyond advertising, so it can play a more complementary role to other festivals, said Park.