By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK With all pomp and funfair, the prestigious 10th Annual Gecko Awards got off to a spectacular start this year, drawing close to 300 spectators and prominent members of the country’s advertising industry. For the third time around, it was advertising guru Andrew Weir whose outstanding creative work in “Maid for Africa” who scooped the overall Grand Prix Award. A man of few words, Weir told the excited crowd that winning this title for the third time is a great honour. “I’m back again,” he said after winning the same award during the first and fifth Annual Gecko Awards before. Weir’s simple, but brilliant print advert of an ordinary washing peg entitled “Maid in Africa” wowed the audience at the end of the evening function on Friday. By the look of things this time, the 10th Gecko Awards was even bigger and better. It was a strictly black-tie event endowed with thousands of green and white balloons decorating the doorway of the National Theatre of Namibia in the capital. Much to the delight of the crowd, the abrupt sound of these balloons bursting as people stepped on them broke the formal atmosphere into a fun-filled one. The mood was even more relaxed with the jokes from the Master of Ceremonies Mark Banks, well known for his jovial character. During the four-hour ceremony, awards and in some exceptional cases a Stone marked with an X for excellence were awarded to different advertising agents in the country. The categories ranged from outdoor advertising, print, radio, design, television and corporate video, crafts, campaigns, promotional marketing and integrated or mixed media categories. Judging was once again this year done by a panel of world-class international judges, namely Jono Schubitz and Garth Walker from South Africa as well as Joe de Souza, a Senior Copywriter from Holland, Amsterdam. The Namibian Gecko Awards was created in 1996 by Democratic Media Holdings to celebrate and stimulate creative excellence in local advertising. Now in its tenth year, the task of managing the awards has been handed back to the industry. Reptiles Incorporated, the newly formed Section 21 Company, which now manages Gecko Awards, has a board of directors comprised of prominent members of the Namibian advertising industry.
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