Dave Bowman is the Founding Creative Partner of Special Group Australia. Previously, he worked at Droga5 New York, The Glue Society, Saatchi&Saatchi Australia, where he created the most awarded campaign in Toyota’s history, and TBWA where he oversaw the region’s creative output and helped his local shop become the 9th most awarded creative agency in the world. As for D&AD, he has a number of Yellow Pencils and has created work that has featured in the annual over 15 times.
In 2016 Dave will sit on the D&AD Professional Awards Integrated and Innovative Media Jury. Ahead of this he describes why the D&AD Awards champion culture-shifting, imitation-inducing and bar-raising integrated campaigns.
D&AD inspires more jealousy than any other show.
It’s not every kid wins a prize.
There are enough of those shows already.
This is the pinnacle. D&AD. When something rises to the top at D&AD, it’s instantly special.
And when it does it in a category - such as ‘Integrated’ - that’s not just awarding creativity, but coherency, relevancy, impact and breadth both across markets and the media it’s executed in, the prize becomes even bigger.
Couple that with what seems to be the current attitude of industry doom and gloom and you could be excused for getting a bit down in the mouth about the whole situation.
The average person’s attention span is waning at the same time. But that’s the exciting part. There’s never been a better time for thinking that disrupts.
Old techniques, old ways of thinking and tried and tested are losing their edge. What a great time for us to change things up.
So what do the ideas that thrive in these challenging times and at the most challenging show of all, have in common?
Regardless of the form they take, they’ll almost certainly be ideas that command attention and then actually maintain it.
For a while there, fresh ideas and a flawless execution were almost enough on their own. But more and more the timing of these ideas, their curation, the reaction and the chain of events that follow are becoming just as important. The implications and machinations of social and PR.
Ultimately, it seems to be not simply those inclusions, but the harmony within and between them.
No longer can you simply pull out the cookie-cutter.
These ideas don’t always demand a reaction or interaction, they inevitably end up getting one because the idea is so engaging, immediate, pervasive that its effect becomes seismic.
They’re also impossible to ignore. And not just on jury, but by real people in the real world.
They don’t just reflect culture, they often shift it.
And once they’re out in the world, inevitably, they’ll be copied. And whilst that might be flattering, in terms of their potency it’s usually only their first outing that will forever be remembered.
D&AD more than any other show, is impossible to predict. It doesn’t have a house style. It doesn’t have official sponsors to please, or holding companies to answer to. It simply sees the best work of our year rise to the surface and in the process, resets the bar for what the industry is capable of in the world of commercial creativity.
Every year it gets harder and harder to win. But every year work continues to shine, and more than that, to redefine the way forward.
And when it comes to judging the show, if you don’t leave humble (and frankly a bit intimidated) you probably weren’t paying enough attention.
But, then again, what a great outcome.