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New Blood Talk: Go inside the creative process with the ECD behind the Black Pencil-winning The Lost Class

Leo Burnett’s Sam Shepherd tells D&AD what it really takes to create career-defining work

In this talk for D&AD’s New Blood Festival, Executive Creative Director of Leo Burnett Chicago, Sam Shepherd, talks about his team’s Black Pencil-winning work The Lost Class — a campaign that tricked the NRA (National Rifle Association) into giving a commencement speech to 3,044 empty seats representing students who lost their lives to gun violence. Shepherd said the key to getting the bold idea off the ground was having a team willing to take a risk.

“The idea was always in the back of our heads... it was crazy and by all means, that idea should have never made it off the page, but we had enough people who were crazy enough (to see it through), and I think that’s the missing piece. We had a lot of people who were willing no matter what to make this happen, despite our jobs and everything to get this out into the world because that’s what mattered. I don’t know if every agency is up for that challenge, I feel really lucky to work at an agency that was willing to take that risk,” says Shepherd.

This talk was broadcast as part of our New Blood Festival series of expert discussions. You can also watch a panel of experts discuss the influencer economy and how to work with creators in authentic ways here and industry experts answer questions you asked here

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