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Vegas Baby! It’s Chris Smith

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The Richards Group Brand Creative Group Head and LIA Radio President

Vegas Baby! It’s Chris Smith

‘Toptional’ swimming pools, sneaking into raves and playing fast and loose on the roulette table… Las Vegas is full of hedonistic distractions. And that’s great if you’re on holiday – but less easy when you’re faced with the prospect of having to concentrate and listen carefully to over 600 radio ads. Still, Chris Smith and his jury of stalwart compadres have been doing their best to tune out the insanity and tune into the most creative global work coming out of this ever-versatile medium. Addison Capper caught up with Chris to get his top tips for surviving Sin City.

LBB> What words of advice did you give to your jury for this year's London International Awards?

CS> Everybody on this jury is a pro who’s done this judging thing before, so I wouldn't presume to give any advice on the judging itself. But I did hope to keep the atmosphere light, fun, and open. But, having judged radio for the LIA before, I could only suggest to the jury members that they prepare themselves for a surprisingly demanding week. It’s amazing how mentally and physically draining it can be to listen to over 600 radio spots that intently, with your critical ears on. 

One other titbit: When the ATM suggests you SEE THE CASINO CASHIER because you’ve hit your daily withdrawal limit, don’t. Learned that one the hard way.

LBB> What were you hoping to see from the entries?

CS> I always look forward to the curveballs; the creative solutions that aren’t the low-hanging fruit. I like when someone reaches and it works. Not just in the execution, but in the crazy new uses of the radio medium itself. I give big points for surprise. I particularly like the foreign entries. Other countries have different rules for what you can do with radio, and the resulting work is all over the place (in the best way). I’m preparing myself for the unique mix of professional inspiration and soul-searching envy that always comes with judging great work.

LBB> What do you think about the LIA bringing over a selection of young creatives for the 'Creative Conversations'?

CS> They should bring old creatives, too! Digital media is changing things so quickly, we’re all still students, really. It's literally changing everyday. I’m happy for the young creatives. They’re in for a treat. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like in my early 20s for someone to bring me to Las Vegas for a chance to chat with top-level pros from all over the world. Actually, I can imagine it. Maybe it's best that they didn't.

LBB> What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! Aside from judging, what are you looking forward to?

CS> I’m really looking forward to reuniting with some fun folks I met last time, as well as meeting lots of new ones and making new stories. The thing I like most about Vegas is how you can stumble (literally) onto stuff you never could’ve planned and you end up having a great time with people you just met (so these two forty-something creative directors sneak into a rave…). And the people-watching is like a Fellini film on acid. Also, the judging is on a patio overlooking a “toptional” pool, which is as wonderful and terrible as you imagine it would be.

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Genres: Dialogue

London International Awards - LIA, Thu, 10 Oct 2013 14:22:41 GMT