News & Views

Craft on the Beach: the 2014 ADC Festival

by Nick Parish


What do Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lionel Richie’s clay head, hand-crafted guitars and a predator-catching android all have in common? They were all part of the second annual ADC Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design, held in South Beach earlier this week.

I’m a bit biased, as I’m on the non-profit ADC’s board, but over three days of the festival the programming managed to pack a ton of making and doing in for attendees, beginning with a workshop from Hungry Castle, they of the laser-powered art-eating cat, wherein participants were instructed in how to create a bust of 80’s pop star Lionel Richie, a la his classic Hello video. 

All the workshops during the days emphasized concrete skills as the awards each evening emphasized craft, with tutorials on making videos in Vine, performance art, drawing with devices, agency architecture, writing code, making guitars and more dominating the days. 

In the evening, awards shows lauded the work deemed to advance craft in design, advertising and other communications disciplines, starting with the Tomorrow Awards, where winners are to act as a beacon for the future of the industry. As the first big stateside show of the year, the ADC serves as a good bellwether for what'll do well this year.

One notable winner, from agency LEMZ in Amsterdam for child protection organization Terre des Hommes, is Sweetie, an android puppet meant to catch would-be paedophiles soliciting sex from minors online. Watch the impactful case study below:



According to LEMZ, Sweetie was able to identify over 1,000 predators from 71 countries in the two months the operation was live, with the agency and Terre des Hommes eventually turning Sweetie’s chat partners’ identities over to respective governments and Interpol. According to the agency, its work has resulted in convictions and legislative changes in several countries. 

Subsequent nights saw Design, Illustration, Advertising, Interactive and Motion work receiving the ADC’s signature cube trophy. The biggest haul went to Forsman and Bodenfors, which won a Best in Show Black Cube as well as 14 other cubes for its Volvo Trucks work featuring Jean Claude Van Damme’s epic split. The agency also took Advertising Agency and Interactive Agency of the year, and client Volvo Trucks Client of the Year. Leo Burnett won Network of the Year and Dentsu took Design Team of the year. You can see all the winners at the ADC’s site

Check out the ADC’s daily recaps: