Second annual Ad Black Sea festival took place in Batumi on 22-25 September. 36 jury members world top opinion-makers from 15 countries evaluated 727 creative entries. During 4 intense days more than 350 participants of the festival had an opportunity to share their experience at seminars, attend networking events, use free time to swim, sightsee and socialize and, of course, have fun at the parties. On the last day of the festival the winners were awarded at the Awards Ceremony. After the festival jury member left their feedbacks.


Orhan Irmak, Chairman of Design Jury, Design Director at Orhan Irmak Tasarım, Turkey

Ad Black Sea festival in Batumi was a very rich event for me. Meeting other jury members and working together was an enjoyable experience. Evaluation was kind of difficult because the level of creativity in some of the design projects were at a very high level. As a packaging design professional, I was particularly impressed with the projects in packaging design category. Getting to know a new culture and a new country are two critical points that made this festival an unforgettable experience for me.


Koenraad Lefever, Chairman of Media Jury, Creative Director at Duval Guillaume, Belgium

Ad Black Sea, first of all I would like to thank the organization of Ad Black Sea for inviting me to this young but promising advertising festival in this charming coastal city of Batumi, Georgia. It’s been a wonderful experience to get together with the most talented people of our industry. Sharing thoughts and showing appreciation about what unites us regardless some cultural differences between the participants at the Ad Black Sea Festival: the passion to create and produce outstanding creative ideas. I am convinced that the work that will be celebrated during this year event will inspire young people to come back next year with ideas that I like to call “dancing stars”. The countdown for the next Ad Black Sea Festival starts tomorrow.


Magnus Lužkov, Member of Advertising Campaigns Jury, Founder & CEO at Optimist, Estonia

I like the freshness and excitement level of the event, as the creative industry of Georgia is gathering only for the second time. I think this Ad Black Sea festival will get big because it has good potential in every aspect – lots of good local work and inspiring international speakers, spiced up with crazy Batumi exoticness.


Dan Mikkin, Member of Creative Jury, Partner & Service Designer at Brand Manual, Estonia

First, the things I love about the festival. It’s ambitious – in a good way. Really trying to push the envelope right from the start, to get beyond the borders of this lovely country. Which is obviously another thing I love here – the warmth and hospitability of our Georgian hosts.

This international scale was well reflected in our Creative jury – all jury members from different countries, top professionals with a lot on their record from Switzerland to Russia, from Romania to Estonia. Which resulted in quite big differences of opinion – another thing I love about the fest. There was real substance to discussions, we argued and came to mutual conclusions – every time. A cool bunch of great minds.

What we agreed upon right from the start was the overall judging criteria – every shortlisted work had to have an idea and this idea had to solve a set task. Creativity for the sake of creativity didn’t qualify. Further on, these ideas had to be executed well – a good idea badly realized was just a wasted opportunity. Executional brilliance without substance went unrewarded.

The fact that the festival is very young showed in the selection of entries – one of the things to work on. The Creative category was a bit too vague and ended up as a huge pile of very different work, often incomparable. A little bit more structure and selection criteria would have helped, some of the stuff was simply irrelevant in our context.

Overall, the Creative was leaning strongly towards advertising, whereas I would’ve loved to see more creativity in business, in products, in services – not just entertaining stories. There were some bright exceptions though.

By media, video (TV, cinema, internet) was much more saturated than printed subcategories. We were much more generous with work involving moving images – and every work was truly worth the award. We’re happy to highlight several Georgian entries – some world-class stuff is produced here. But I would love to see more creative work in the more static categories – getting your message through with just one image is a great challenge.


Mihnea Gheorghiu, Member of Digital Jury, Group Creative Director at Publicis Bucharest, Romania

It's really crazy. Although the weather didn't allow to go out of the hotel but the company and the food were amazing. Anyway, it was lovely to be there. I had a blast! Thank you so much for everything. 


Eka Kipiani, Member of Advertising Campaigns Jury, Creative Director at JWT Metro, Georgia

  • Ad Black Sea for me is a fantastic opportunity for my country to increase its role in the region. It’s the little, very cozy, fun festival were people meet, talk, discuss, compete and have fun.
  • The vibe is the main component. But also the guests, the speakers and jury – so to say people are the most important. People sharing same passion and sometimes with similar challenges come together and then magic happens.
  • Being a jury was a great experience, very exciting and at the same time holding some anxiety. But the wonderful co-jury members made everything super smooth and easy. Every entry was considered down to smallest details before making any decision. It will be better if for the next years agencies focus more on results and better storytelling of the case study. Some of the main points were missed in some of the nice projects, that could have done better. What judges do not want to see are the projects that have no ideas, projects that are obviously made just for awards and results that are over-exaggerated.
  • YES! It is energetic, loud, fun, with little bits of anarchy – and that makes it special. It is not fancy festival and I am happy that it does not pretend to be. The real, authentic spirit makes it very special and I would love to see it develop in this direction in the future.
  • Well there is no question that award do reflect agency achievements. What especially counts are the levels of solution that agencies confront the problems, not just ideas. That was really nice about the judging process. The judges did really dig into results for the problems that were solved. Awards are the vital part not only for advertising but also for marketing industry as a whole. Ad Black Sea is very young, but highly growing. So I absolutely believe Ad Black Sea will be in par with other prestigious festivals in following years. So let’s keep it up. 


Besides all, I would like to thank you for your amazing job, for making this all happen. Ad Black Sea has a huge opportunity for the region and I believe your power of not giving up will bring the festival to the awesome success.

Keep in touch! And see you on Ad Black Sea 2017!


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