Martin Peters Ginsborg on sad piano music, baking for creativity and the ADCC Awards

This partner content brought to you by… The Advertising & Design Club of Canada 

Since its founding in 1948, the Advertising & Design Club of Canada (ADCC) has been a non-profit, non-political group committed to encouraging excellence in Canadian advertising and design.

Every year, the most important demonstration of that ADCC commitment is brought to life at the ADCC Awards show, Directions—long recognized by the advertising community as the premiere creative show in the country.

“As anyone who’s been to our show readily knows, there’s something extra special about winning at the ADCC’s,” said Andrew Simon, ADCC president and chief creative officer at Edelman. “It’s one of the rare industry events that celebrates advertising and design work equally.”

One of the unique elements of the ADCC is that the jury is entirely international, made up of leading creatives from around the world. Ahead of the Nov. 14 awards show in Toronto, The Message spoke with some of the judges about their experience judging the show, their thoughts on the industry today, and their own creative inspirations.

First up is Martin Peters Ginsborg. Most recently the creative director of Uncle Grey in Denmark, Ginsborg was also a partner at Anomaly Amsterdam and spent more than a decade in New York, taking increasingly senior roles that culminated in his appointment as VP and creative director at Grey.

What excites you about advertising today?

“What excites me is that everybody’s kind of questioning the industry. And I think it’s needed more than ever. It puts enormous pressure on us to be the best we have ever been, because if we are not we will lose talent to Google and Facebook.”

What did you think of judging the ADCC?

“This idea of bringing in judges from abroad, I think it’s very special… It gives you guys a more valuable show, awards that are much more unbiased. And I’m not even sure that Canadians realize how special it is. I think every award show in the world could actually learn a little bit from that.”

How does that affect the judging?

“We didn’t know the work. We know the context behind it, obviously, but we don’t know the people behind it… And so it becomes a discussion about ideas, which is what we do for a living. And I think that is what it should be about. And even the best shows in the world, that’s not always what it’s about.”

What do you do for creative inspiration?

“I’m an obsessive baker. When I moved to the States, many years ago, my mom smuggled a sourdough into the country in a face cream jar, and I kept that sourdough alive for 20 years.

“I think there’s a lot of parallels between baking and making creative ideas. You have to have the right ingredients. Without the right starting point—without a great sourdough starter or a great idea—you can’t make anything. The rest doesn’t matter… I think all creatives like craftsmanship of some kind. And sometimes it doesn’t matter what it is we make, and sometimes it’s quite nice to make it with your hands and just see the final result.”

Are there trends in advertising that you think are overdone?

“Yeah, stop with the sad piano music. I do mean that…We can’t stand it. [When] we sit in the room [and] hear it for the 14th time you kind of go, ‘You can be more creative than that.’”


The ADCC Awards are Nov. 14 in Toronto. Click here for more information and tickets. 

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