Ignacio Oreamuno, ADC Awards: I do not want to be a passenger in my industry!

Creativity, Festivals & Awards, People

Ignacio Oreamuno, Executive Director ADC Awards, is the one in charge of the “best festival in Americas”, an event with an extensive history and known as one that sets up standards in advertising world. In an interview for AdHugger, Ignacio Oreamuno gave us info on how it is to organize an event of such tenure, how jurors are selected, but also how and what to do to change for better the global advertising industry. 

When it comes of advertising industry, Oreamuno is the promoter of change for better and supports mutual help, building communities and become craftsmen once again, and the reason is Becoming extremely good at what we do, doing work that mirrors art is the only way we are going to find money, budgets and time to do them once again.

AdHugger: How is it to manage an event of such tenure? Which are the main challenges?

Ignacio Oreamuno: Very hard! The ADC Awards were held in NYC for 91 years, but when I came in in 2012, we moved it to Miami Beach and created an entire 3-day festival. We set out to create not just a festival, but the best festival in the Americas. We chose the best hotel, the best venues and the best workshop presenters we could find.

It’s designed to avoid all of the things I hate about typical conferences and events. Instead of speakers, we have workshops so we can DO things and not just talk about them. We also don’t only invite people from agencies; instead we find truly inspiring people from art, technology, architecture and beyond that can teach us new things. Lastly, I focus very hard on doing a lot of networking lunches and dinners so people can meet each other. Real-time networking is the most important part of any festival.

Ignacio Oreamuno, Executive Director of the Art Directors Club in New York. Photo by Monte Isom
Ignacio Oreamuno, Executive Director of the Art Directors Club in New York. Photo by Monte Isom

AdH: How does the selection of the jury go? What are the main criteria considered? 

I.O.: Last year, we launched the 50/50 Initiative which is a pan-industry movement to get every award show to elect their juries with equal parts women and men. Then, there are the usual factors that go into deciding juries for any awards show, like network conflicts, big vs. small agencies, independent vs. network agencies, and then balancing out the geography.

However, one of the most important criteria for me is actual personalities. I like to invite people I know, people that don’t have huge egos, people that are open to learning because judging with ADC changes you. I invite people that believe wholeheartedly in what we’re doing to change the industry. We have such a good time judging that it’s important to me that everyone gets along – that makes the quality of judging better. I’m very proud of the people we ultimately chose.

AdH: A festival like ADC Festival and Awards is a prestigious event. When it comes to sponsors, who has the best chances of being considered for associating their image with the event? What is prefferable: the sponsors within or outside the industry? Why?

I.O.:  We don’t like to call them sponsors, I like “partners” instead. The companies that get involved with ADC get involved on a long-term basis. We look for people that want to change the industry with us, that don’t want to simply slap on logos, but ones that want to get involved from the ground up and do the dirty work and, most importantly, people that like to network and meet other people.

AdH: What are the costs to organize an event like ADC Awards? (financial, human resources, availability and so on)

I.O.: The ADC Awards costs several hundred thousand dollars. We work on it for approximately six months with the core part of our staff working on it full time. It’s insane how much a simple event takes up, but we really enjoy it. I have the best staff! We have full freedom to design the best festival experience in the world and we really take it to heart to produce an incredible event.

AdH: What is the secret for maintaining ADC Festival and Awards as the event to look at when it comes of inspiration and setting standards within the Art and Craft in Advertising?

I.O.: You need to follow your gut. Everyone in this industry calls themselves creatives, but so many of us still do what others are doing. A lot of conferences and events end up turning into clones of one another. You must do what is right in your heart and, for an organization like ADC, what is going to change the industry for the better not in two years, but now.

The change that the industry is enduring is happening right now and it’s important that we go to great strides to find ourselves. Many times leaving the office and going to the beach, hanging out with inspiring people is just what you need to get a second perspective on what you are doing.

AdH: You’ve been managing ADC Awards for around 2 years and you always worked to change the industry. Therefore, please share with us some of your thoughts on the trends most likely to influence this year’s international advertising industry

I.O.: There is a massive talent crisis that is about to destroy the agencies. There is no talent because we have created an industry that has no training, no respect for craft and has over inflated itself with an egotistical point of view. I think the idea that creatives are the “kings of the industry” is ridiculous. There’s enormous amounts of talent in UX designers, technologists, projection mapping experts, sound professionals, digital and social experts, artists and architectural experts that aren’t taking creative credit, but are doing work just as or more interesting than the traditional ones coming out of agencies. It’s time to embrace training, to do things once again without hands, to embrace craft and art, to admit that we can’t run a whole career without updating our skills.

I believe it’s time to upgrade the level of intelligence of visual communications. The current general level of advertising is designed for people with inferior intelligence that I don’t think exist.

AdH: Changes within the industry:  when and how they produce? Who has the duty to make them happen? Are you promoting the change through ADC?

I.O.: I came in to change ADC, but I’m really using this opportunity to change the global industry. I don’t really care for working in an industry that wants to cling to the past. I can so clearly see the future of what we could be doing and I want other people to follow me there.

People make the mistake of assuming that industry change doesn’t correspond to them, that they are just a cog in their respective agency machine. That could not be more untrue.  I do not want to be a passenger in my industry.

AdH: What would you like to find more within the industry? What would you want to see less?

I.O.: Let’s rid ourselves of the egos. Let’s not see learning as something bad. Let’s ditch the idea that coming up with funny ideas that other people have to execute is our job. Let’s help each other, build a community and become craftsmen once again. Becoming extremely good at what we do, doing work that mirrors art is the only way we are going to find money, budgets and time to do them once again.

The future is great, let’s just go there!

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