Damian Bazadona











The Grand Jury is NYF’s front line in selecting the World’s Best Advertising®. These award-winning creatives evaluate NYF’s entries from over 100 countries worldwide and determine which creative campaign will move on to the medal round. Not an easy task. It takes experience, brilliant creative chops, and dedication to their craft.

NYF’s 2018 Grand Jury of 300+ creatives are one of the most diverse juries on the planet, with advertising creatives from over 50 countries around the globe, this jury is a powerhouse of innovation and creativity.

Grand Jury Member, Damian Bazadona is President and Founder of Situation. From the Super Bowl to Broadway’s biggest brands, Damian has worked on NYC’s most epic events. In 2001, he created an experiential workplace that has since won five best places to work awards, and Cynopsis honored him with the Social Good Leader of the Year and HR Visionary of the Year awards. His digital-first marketing agency, Situation, is best known for connecting people with amazing brand experiences. Some of those experiences have been for clients such as Stoli, HBO, MLS, National Geographic, the Ad Council, The Metropolitan Opera, and Wicked.

Outside of Situation, Damian acts as a speaker at a variety of universities including NYU, Columbia, Yale, and SUNY Albany. He’s also a thought leader – contributing to Ad AgeAdWeek, and The Huffington Post throughout his career. Damian’s proudest recent accomplishment was participating in the White House’s inaugural SouthxSouthLawn in 2016. 

On Judging:

New York Festivals: What cultural/social changes do you think will influence this year’s work? 

Damian Bazadona: I love that advertisers/brands are seeing a continued increase in accountability from consumers. They know what’s happening in society, and they’re starting to expect brands to take a stand, a position, and be a part of the conversation. Obviously, this has vastly different applications for different brands. But it’s exciting to see the idea of social good, cause, and advocacy takes center stage in a real way with brands – and not just as an add-on.

New York Festivals: What are your personal criteria for choosing award-winning work?  

Damian Bazadona: A big thing for me personally is – was it memorable? Does it inspire an emotional connection with the audience it’s targeting? “Award-winning” is a phrase we all want to tack onto our work; and in being a judge, it’s our responsibility to decide whether we think a piece of work truly affected the consumer in a deeper, more meaningful way.

On Advertising: 

New York Festivals: Has the relationship between agency and client changed at all and if so how?

Damian Bazadona: Technology has changed, expectations have changed, media has changed, and our audiences have shifted along with all of it. I can only speak from the perspective of a digital agency. And what’s been most exciting about how the relationship has shifted with our clients is that we continue to have a larger and larger canvas to play in. While there’s a learning curve, this evolution is set to make the relationship between agency and client stronger and better than ever – leading to an even better relationship with consumers in the process. 

New York Festivals: What philosophy drives your career? 

Damian Bazadona: Do the right thing. I try to surround myself with people who are both talented and, as important to me, have a strong moral core. Creating an environment that gives birth to great ideas is inherently a collaborative process and one that typically takes a long time to nurture. You need people you can trust for the long-term and those that fundamentally believe in the pursuit of doing the right thing along the way.

New York Festivals: What’s the single best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? 

Damian Bazadona: Just do something. I tell it to my friends, my colleagues, and my network. You can talk in circles, or you can just start walking – whether you end up in a straight line or going zigzag – you’re guaranteed to learn something along the way and turn great ideas into even greater actions.

On Life:

New York Festivals: How do you tap into creativity?  What do you personally do to fan the creative flames? 

Damian Bazadona: I talk to and mentor kids in New York. Their broad and thoughtful imagination is always inspiring to me. A handful of years ago, I started Situation Project – a 501(c)(3) corporation; and we are on a mission to stimulate and expand the imaginations of students in our local communities. It’s through them that I tap into creativity and am revived to make this industry and my community better each and every day. 

New York Festivals: What is your mantra for life?  

Damian Bazadona: Give without expecting anything in return; and if you do get something in return, don’t take that for granted.

New York Festivals: If you’re binge watching…what are you watching?

Damian Bazadona: I’m the Co-Founder of TEDxBroadway, and I’ve been binge-watching the past six years of our remarkably inspiring talks ahead of our next event on February 27th.