Lurking about at the Loeries
Loeries 2009: Apocalypse Now? For a Loeries virgin, the annual weekend of awards and debauchery was something of an eye-opener. The work was inspiring. The dress code was suitably kooky. And the awards ceremonies were big. Certainly bigger than expected. With uber-graphics, pounding audio and a massive, people-dwarfing stage.
The response from the attendees was less so.
I was expecting a kind of competitive chaos of cheers and jeers as the evenings wore on. But it was more like general rumble. Something to do with drinking all day, I’m sure. The only Agencies who made any serious noise were Jupiter and Ogilvy. Perhaps because, for the first time in its 31 year history, the Loeries was held in Cape Town, home to a sizable portion of these agencies’ headcount.
The Cape Town location had its pros and cons, according to Loeries veterans. Younger ad hipsters lamented the lack of intimacy that the mini-mecca of Margate afforded. While older dudes gushed about the widened range of activities: smaller, invite-only parties and a lead up of fringe events hosted by local agencies. Much nicer than mingling with the hoi-palloi in a tent, darling.
For those new to Cape Town, the mercurial weather was also a dampener, no pun intended. Unseasonably, – but still predictably – wind and rain lashed Camps Bay and Long street, the centres for Saturday’s smchoozing and cruising, resulting in cancelled events and streaky makeup (although, I’m not sure the latter wasn’t deliberate…creatives!)
It didn’t stop the party. Marquee clad Long Street was at the heart of the late night action. But I heard more than one “VIE” (Very Important Ego) ticket holder wonder what they were really getting for their money. Organisers gleefully extolled the virtues of free transport and entrance to the ‘free food and booze’ areas of the events, but one has to wonder if one can really eat a grand’s worth of fish samoosas. And while I don’t doubt that hiring Goldfish as the entertainment wasn’t cheap, you didn’t need to be inside the Marquee to enjoy their groovy sounds.
Speaking of the free booze, I can understand keeping your mouth shut about what’s being poured for you gratis, but I did get a little annoyed forking out over R15 for a Heineken, the only beer allowed at the Long Street and Battle of the Bands events. And I wasn’t the only one raising an eyebrow at inflated prices. One hotel guest told me that he could only get room service if the order was over R120. A bit steep when you just want a toasted sandwich. This doesn’t bode well for 2010.
This is no low key event – the lavish spending was obvious. Good for Cape Town, as the Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato and Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape both happily pointed out. But it rang a little hollow as agency folk stood around the champagne, oysters and top of the range sound equipment, talking about tightened budgets, the effects of the recession and the challenge of finding great diversity talent. And I couldn’t help wondering if the ad industry is so keen to lose its ‘ponytailed, coke sniffing’ image, why it’s most high profile event of the year is mostly about the hangovers.
– Kate Wolters lives a hybrid life. She’s the group communications manager for a brand consultancy and served as the MarkLives & MandyLives social editor at the 2009 Loerie awards. Kate is riveted by how digital and social networking is changing the way we communicate, but wonders how she’s going to remember all her log in details. Follow her occasional tweets on twitter www.twitter.com/katewolters