ADMA AC&E Awards, The Affinity Way

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ADMA’s prestigious annual event is fast on its way to becoming Australia’s most esteemed advertising and media awards show. And this year, the Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising stepped things up to new heights.

It was 6pm back at Affinity headquarters on Stanley Street, East Sydney, and we were all applying the finishing touches for the black tie gala event. Nominated as finalist in three categories, our leadership team of Angela Smith, Luke Brown, Cheyne Oxford, and myself, were all hogging the office mirror in preparation for the night’s proceedings. A late scratching from Adam Shar to attend meant our newly appointed account manager Jaclyn Campbell received a last minute celeb guest invite.

The girls looked amazing. Ange was dolled up in a Max&Co dress and glamorous mid-century styled hair – suitably reminiscent of Mad Men’s Betty Draper. Jaclyn also held her own in a flowing red playsuit, which had the all gents turning their heads. As for the Affinity men, Cheyne and I preferred to take the new school approach sporting a thin black tie while Luke Brown rolled out the red carpet as 007, looking sharp in his full black tuxedo and bowtie. Luke was also well equipped with a full range of photo expressions such as Blue Steel and Magnum.

This year’s venue for the ADMA AC&E's was top level at The Star Sydney. A packed ballroom, initially filled with laughs and tipsy advertising banter, quickly kicked into gear as we were promptly seated for the show. All of a sudden, our attention turned to the stage filled with bright lights, loud music and a flutter of indoor fireworks. In the midst of all the excitement I thought Bon Jovi was about to hit the stage – and then Matt Okine happened.

Matt was the host of the evening, and I’m just going to come out and say it, he was probably one of the best hosts I’ve ever seen – borderline man crush territory. I don’t know what it was, but his jokes really hit the mark for me. I’m going to call it genius, immature wit. To be honest, there were occasions when I was belly laughing at the table by myself – and people were consequently laughing at me.

It wasn’t just the jokes that made Matt a great MC either, there were a stack of categories to get through on the night, and the light-hearted approach really made time fly. As mentioned, we were up for three nominations ourselves so, to be honest, the jovial mood acted as a painkiller when we didn’t win the first two. We did, however, take out the Highly Commended award for our final nomination Best Media Campaign. And that’s when the high-fiving began. It was another proud achievement for Affinity to add to the 2015 award cabinet.

In the end, we got our piece of metal to prance around with on the dance floor while making it rain with business cards. We met a bunch of new people on the night and caught up with plenty of old friends. Unfortunately though, I didn’t get to meet Matt Okine. But I guess that’s the wonderful thing about being a member of a data driven media and advertising agency, blessed with information that others could only dream of.

I will track you down Matt Okine, and when I do, you will make me laugh once again.

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