Read our short and very insightful talk with the Art Director at Ogilvy, Alayna Kunitake. As a judge for the Advertising category at our Spotlight Awards, she tells us what she is expecting to see in the entries this year and talks about her personal thoughts on the advertising industry.

Production Paradise: You have been an Art Director at Ogilvy for longer than two years now. Could you give us some insight into your background and how you got to your position as an Art Director?

Alayna Kunitake: My parents are British and Japanese, so I lived in both countries during my childhood. This experience definitely shaped (or skewed, you could say) my perspective on the world and I’ve craved the unconventional ever since.

Good advertising questions the status quo and breaks through the mundane of the everyday. Which is why I enrolled in a Creative Advertising degree (in Australia, just to add to the spontaneity) and began dreaming up the idea of turning this desire into a career—luckily, it has all seemed to work out.

Production Paradise: Could you tell us one of your favorite projects and/or campaigns you have worked on and why?

Alayna Kunitake: Last year we managed to get a six-year-old girl to rap (epically, may I add) for our lolly ad. Seeing the spot bring joy to many, particularly during the rough year that was 2020, reminded me of the power of storytelling. All of us in industry are very lucky to have such a platform.

Production Paradise:  Working in an agency, what’s your opinion on how the advertising world has adapted to the pandemic situation? Is this reflected on how the campaigns are developed?

Oh totally. We had TVCs made in Sydney and Queensland during 2020 (I’m based in Melbourne), both of which I attended via a Zoom call. A totally surreal experience to say the least.

As for agency life, Ogilvy has been accommodating of our individual needs. Half of us are back in the office full-time, the rest of us WFH permanently. It’s wild to think humanity has progressed so far, yet until 2020 this flexibility wasn’t really an option. I’m excited to see the positive effect this will have.

Production Paradise: Could you share with us some of the trends that you see in Advertising imagery?

Alayna Kunitake: I’ve really enjoyed seeing the shift from hyper-retouched, unrealistic imagery to a celebration of the real. We’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s refreshing to see the industry begin to reflect the world in all its diversity.

The Japanese in me also loves the bold and vibrant palettes which seem to be sticking around as of late – we could all do with a splash of color after the year we just had.

Production Paradise: It is your first time judging in the Spotlight Awards, as an Advertising Photography judge, what are you expecting to see in this competition?

Alayna Kunitake: I’m really excited to see how 2020 challenged the industry. There’s always beauty in adversity and creatives are often the ones to harness it. I’m expecting some really raw, beautiful work.

Production Paradise: What benefits do you think Production Paradise and their awards bring to photographers looking to increase their international exposure?

Alayna Kunitake: It goes without saying—Production Paradise is an amazing global network of the industry’s best. As an Art Director I am constantly searching for new work and the artists behind it, so Production Paradise is an incredibly important platform to help both the photographers and the rest of the industry at large.

We thank Alayna for sparing some time to speak to us. Now that you know what kind of images have better chance to catch the judge’s attention – pick your best shots and enter our Spotlight Awards!