The Epica Awards Grand Prix Winners Spotlight Creativity, Innovation, and Humor

An international cabal of journalists came together to choose the big winners for the events’ 30th anniversary.

The Epica Awards Grand Prix Winners Spotlight Creativity, Innovation, and Humor

After spending three solid days poring over some of the best advertising and design efforts from around the world—including everything from a radical redesign for the packaging of an 80 year-old Russian cheese brand to a series of legitimately laugh-out-loud TV spots for the Norwegian postal service—the journalists who comprised the jury for the 30th Epica Awards had the task of narrowing the impressive field to five Grand Prix winners in design, digital, print, outdoor, and film.


The finalists were comprised of the gold medal winners selected earlier in the week (we highlighted the first batch here; you can see a full list of gold honorees on the official Epica Awards site), and the jury whittled down the final winners with the help of jury president and Time Inc. vice chairman Norman Pearlstine and Epica editorial director Mark Tungate.

Epica—which set up camp in Berlin last year—chose Amsterdam as their host city this year in the hopes of promoting the Netherlands’ cultural capital as a broader, global creative center. The Grand Prix awards were handed out at a ceremony hosted by the Panama Club along the eastern docklands of Amsterdam.

And the winners are . . .


“Simplified Stories”
DDB Brussels

Since reading has been shown to slow the onset of dementia, this remarkable editorial and design achievement was crafted with the sole intention of making books easier to grasp and digest for people struggling with Alzheimer’s. Simplified sentences, color coding, chapter summations, photography—they all work in unison to keep readers engaged and, more importantly, prevent them from becoming discouraged when their failing memory makes following a story untenable.


“Brad Is Single”


Sometimes, it’s all about timing. Norwegian tourism agency TRY advertised discounted airfares to Los Angeles with the simple tagline “Brad Is Single.” The ads landed in periodicals the day Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie announced they were separating. It’s the “Oreos Super Bowl Tweet” of tourism advertising. Witty, but also extremely well timed.


“Doors of Thrones”
Publicis London/Tourism Ireland

Given all the criteria under consideration when judging each entry—creativity, social impact, longevity, etc.—only one managed to tick off so many boxes in such an elegant and exciting way. The story goes like this: Earlier this year, Storm Gertrude tore through the Dark Hedges area of County Antrim, Ireland, ripping 200-year-old trees up from their roots. It just so happens that Dark Hedges and its canopy of trees serves as the “King’s Road” in HBO’s Game of Thrones. So in a unique combination of environmental recycling, television advertising, and tourism boon, the fallen trees were given to 10 artists who crafted intricate wooden doors based on stories and images from the show. These doors were then given to 10 pubs across Ireland, forming a tourist initiative similar to the “red line” in Boston—fans were encouraged to visit all 10 unique doors while simultaneously bringing attention to how much of Ireland provides the real-world backdrop for Westeros. Creative, resourceful, and exciting. This had it all.


“The Next Rembrandt”
J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam/ING

Using state-of-the-art data analysis and printers, ING was able to “teach” a computer the Dutch master’s style (right down to brush stroke strength, paint thickness, and other quirks) so thoroughly that they were able to create a “new” Rembrandt painting so exact it could fool even an expert’s eye. Not only did the effort spotlight a new frontier for data collection and even art education, it did so in a uniquely eye-catching and creative way. Maybe “Rembrandt” will have a new creative life a la hologram Tupac?


“Kenzo World”
Kenzo Parfums


This was by far the toughest category, pitting the likes of OK GO’s mind-bending zero gravity “Upside Down & Inside Out” music video for S7 Airlines, the epic “Tale of Thomas Burberry” faux movie trailer, and H&M’s defiantly empowering “She’s a Lady” campaign against one another, but in the end the Grand Prix was awarded to a company enjoying a huge 2016. Director Spike Jonze re-imagined the iconic “Weapon of Choice” video he created for Fatboy Slim in 2001 (the “dancing Christopher Walken” one) for Kenzo, gave The Nice Guys’ star Margaret Qualley the chance to dance like no one’s watching . . . and dance like you only have marginal control over your body . . . and dance like you have superpowers. It’s infectious, fun, and endlessly re-watchable. In a strong field, it left the strongest impression—and it continues the momentum of Kenzo’s breakthrough year.


About the author

Eric is Fast Company's Entertainment Editor. He's been a writer and editor with NBC, Premiere, Mental Floss, Maxim, the G4 Network's Attack of the Show and others.