More than 800 guests flocked to the Viaduct Events Centre on Thursday for the annual Axis advertising awards.

There were four grand prix and 21 gold Axis awards up for grabs and comedian Urzila Carlson emceed the evening, managing to keep the usually rowdy advertising crowd in check for most of the night. In true Axis fashion, the event included several surprises including a troupe of 'Olympic Athletes' in costume helping to wrangle the winners and present awards, and an appearance from a Donald Trump look-a-like who entertained the crowd halfway through the ceremony.

The overall winner on the night of the Grand Axis was Saatchi & Saatchi for its 'Clever Kash' campaign for ASB, which also picked up five golds. Y&R's Burger King 'McWhopper' campaign was a big hit, winning the agency four golds and a final Gold Grand Prix for bringing McDonald's and Burger King together for "World Peace Day".

In the lead up to presenting the Grand Axis to Saatchi & Saatchi, Paul Head, chief executive of CAANZ which runs the awards, spoke of the change in the industry highlighting several of the more interactive campaigns. One of the biggest signs of this, Head said, was the shorter than 30-second television commercial category, which this year had just five entries.


"The work that stood out this year, including Clever Kash, McWhopper and Brewtroleum all signal and reflect a significant change in our industry as our clients demand ever more innovative ways to connect with consumers," Head said. "It's been a great year for creativity in New Zealand."

For accumulating the biggest tally of awards and finalist slots this year, Colenso BBDO was awarded Creative Agency of the Year.

For the fifth year in a row, the Production Company of the Year was the Sweet Shop, which picked up a gold, this time for Air New Zealand's 'Men in Black Safety Defenders' video, seven silvers and four bronzes.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Peter Cullinane, ex Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide chief operating officer, Assignment Group founder and Lewis Road Creamery chief executive among other titles. Cullinane was given a standing ovation from the crowd for his work in the industry.

The Axis Student Challenge Award, sponsored by NZME, went to Deborah Chae and Kieran Buchan from AUT for their campaign for Lightbox.

Rugby, racing and champagne

Outsider El Soldado wins the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup, paying a whopping $125. Photo / Trish Dunell
Outsider El Soldado wins the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup, paying a whopping $125. Photo / Trish Dunell

Racing and rugby mixed this weekend at Ellerslie for Auckland Cup Day as racegoers enjoyed the festivities and fashion. Blues Super Rugby players ferried guests around the course in golf carts while some of the region's best chefs, including MasterChef judge George Calombaris, delivered an array of tasty meals to guests.

The glitz and glamour was evident at the Mumm Racing Village and the Swisse Glasshouse, with racegoers enjoying a Nebuchadnezzar 15 litre bottle of Mumm Cordon Rouge, entertainment by Hollie Smith and Sweet Mix Kids and food from Ben Bayly and Nic Watt.

Capping off a stunning day, El Soldado, ridden by Darryl Bradley, won the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup, paying a whopping $125. The nine-year veteran has placed in the marque 3200m race previously and beat out much younger favourites.

Auckland Racing Club chief executive Cameron George said he was thrilled with how the new Auckland Cup Week had gone. "We wanted to return the Auckland Cup to the people of Auckland by holding it on a Saturday and I am confident we have," George said. "Today's turnout was above expectation -- it has topped an amazing week of racing, fashion and fun."

Taking the plunge

Samsung celebrated the launch of its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones last week at an event hosted in conjunction with Remix magazine at a rooftop event in central Auckland. 'Own the night' was the theme of the evening in reference to the phone's lowlight. Guests were treated to music from Jupiter Project and a sneak peek of the smartphone before they hit stores on Friday.

Showing off the phone's water resistant capabilities, Samsung put on an underwater fashion shoot.

Jaguar tie-up

At an exclusive event in Auckland last week, guests were invited to celebrate the launch of the new Jaguar XF, and the Crane Brothers autumn/winter 2016 collection.

Jaguar started the year on a high with a record sales month in New Zealand and has partnered with Crane Brothers and its latest ambassador Murray Crane. Jaguar and Crane Brothers have also released a tie collection and a chauffeur, test drive service. The chauffeur service would offer door-to-door drives to view the collection at Crane Brothers' High St store.

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