Tonight was a great night for foreign colleges at the D&AD Student Awards. An amazing standard of work as usual judged by the industry’s best. Few would disagree that this is probably one of the worse years you could graduate with few if any jobs, but the mood was positive and upbeat.
One the big winners was Sweden’s Berghs School of Communication, based in Stockholm. The college has a two year ad course with just over 50 students on it, yet they were winning awards all over the categories. Recently the school was named World’s Best Ad School at Cannes and collected a One Show Grand Slam, 4 golds, 2 silvers and 3 bronzes and a Gold Medal at the global Clio’s. Seems Stockholm is the new creative generator, whatever they are doing there they are doing it right. Must be all that Omega 3 in the fish.
The Miami Ad Schools did very well too with US, Germany (Hamburg) winning awards but Spain (Madrid) doing exceptionally well. I for one have always rated the Spanish, they are brilliant designers, perfectionists, very visual and that Latin sensitivity means their work always has a passion about it. Their weakness is being self publicists.
Another American based school, Creative Circus, found an inventive way to pay for their trip to London and one that’s generated a lot or chat about them. They set up a website called The London Project and invited agencies to help ‘pack our bags for London’ to sponsor their trip. In exchange they’d take any object (the odder the better) over to the UK send them back a photo of it in any London location they wanted. The six young creatives managed to get agencies on board, despite the recession, and all made it to the ceremony to pick up their award.
There were the usual British colleges winning, St Martins (28 finalists), Buckinghamshire New university (10), Kingston (10), Northumbria (10), Chelsea (9) and Middlesex (8) but the foreign colleges stole the show. Miami Ad Schools got 30 shortlisted, Berghs got 11 and there were many other over sea colleges getting nominations too. Ironically we can’t dominate theirs as few allow us to enter their country’s ad awards.
My favourite UK entry was from Chester University, an amusing film of a kid lost in his mobile for Blyk. As he walks along his journey he is oblivious to things happening around him, all those things being references to ads – drumming gorilla, kid with Hovis, coloured balls, 118 118 runners, Tango Man, iPod. It makes a simple point, kids these days don’t notice traditional ads so you need to reach them via mobiles. Very funny. Check out the link below.
Judging the student awards is very different from the normal D&AD awards. As one of the speakers said, “normal D&AD is like going into a diamond dealer, you expect to see beautiful diamonds. But with the student awards you see the unexpected.”
I think this year there was a notable lack of traditional advertising style work but a notable number of brilliant ideas. I think it marks a turning point for our industry. There is a new order and the younger generation think in a very different way. Like music, styles change and we are seeing a transformation from the traditional approach of 40 years to a more technology influenced approach. I also think that foreign students are less influenced by the English style and are exploring pushing the boundaries more.
Students are also producing more business savvy ideas too. The ebay brief produced a very clever idea, ‘Find it’ created by students at Berghs. The concept is simple, you see something you want, you take a picture of it and post it on Find It on ebay and they try and find it for you. The ideas received a special award.
Between the awards they ran a few short films about collaborative projects like City Brand, Shellsuitzombie and Onedotzero. The common factor was bringing together kids from different disciplines. Not something many agencies have risked doing but personally I’ve found it highly effective as I believe Mother and W&K have too. One of my favourite ideas was an urban design project for street furniture (City Brand) where the item looks like it’s been peeled from the pavement, hard to describe but an awesome idea.
Even though job hunting will be tough (we’ve had over 500 people from 11 countries apply to us at Creative Orchestra since we launched in March) there is a lot of great talent out there. Recession or not, I’d urge every agency to take on at least one team as an investment in future talent, because without it we’ll just become a manufacturing industry rather than a creative one.
And finally, congratulations and high praise to all those at D&AD who worked so hard to make this event possible. It’s an important event, more so than the main D&AD Awards I believe because it’s cultivating the industry’s future supply of creative talent.
And well done to all those that got nominated, you are this industry’s future.