So here we are. 2019. The year of no theme. For 25 years these awards have celebrated and recognised the very best in creative strategy. Strategy that has defined, redefined brands and their trajectory. And yet every year we have created a theme to pre-define and to pre-empt, the commonality of the most exceptional thinking. This has never quite sat right with me. Surely it should work the other way round. We should leave the rules unwritten and allow the themes to emerge from the array of brilliant creative strategies we witness.
Because as we all know there is no right answer. Merely a series of possibilities. There is no one approach when every problem is different. Critically of course because every mind is different, every person is different, every planner is different. And if there is one theme that more clearly emerged than any other this year for me it was that. As Ben Malbon from Google said at the end of judging “What a bloody lovely bunch of misfits”
We spend so long thinking about the art and science of strategy and creativity. About what will work and not. About the approaches, the principles, the insights and models. But really there is one simple thing. Focus on the people. Because if people are expected to fit in. how can their thinking ever stand out. Make room for the misfits.
The people who’s minds can’t be boxed, passion can’t be contained, ideas can’t be restrained. Those who won’t. stop. Pushing. Those who quietly consume literature. Those who revel in the noise and mess of culture. Those who question everything. Those that find answers to the unsolved. The architects and the destroyers. To those that learn and those that leap, To those that nudge and those that rage. The diplomats and the showrunners. To the invisibles and or the unmissables. The uniqueness of our community is the differences we contain. The vibrancy of creativity is born from this breadth of expression.
There can be no convention when our role is to continually question it. To tackle the last taboos of period blood and vaginas with refreshing fury. To flip the flow of culture from real to virtual to virtual to real world, To build cutting edge brands on four thousand years of wisdom, to play with genetic predisposition to breathe new life into a twenty year old proposition, to flip haters into hypers, to realise that when every child is born so to is a mother, to build brands in a post truth world.
To continually push beyond the immediate and pursue a long term aim. With the stamina and smarts to build, steward, continually refresh iconic brands with jaw dropping creativity. And it was these thinkers and this thinking that we particularly wanted to shine a light on with the inaugural Long Term Award Category
If there is a crisis of creativity then we haven’t seen it through this years awards. Quite the opposite. We have seen creative strategy of breadth and variety born from thinkers who refuse to fit in as they pursue the creativity that will stand apart. Here’s to the misfits. Enjoy.