Most people who’ve come to know me and my work know about me being a man on a mission to bring overdue transformation in the marketing and advertising industries. When I say transformation, I mean the real deal. Not “lipstick on a pig” games. My interest is in seeing actual changes that no longer undermine people or planet. In my book, The Hero Trap, I speak about how it’s easy for brands and creatives to lose focus on people and get caught up in meaningless battles of egos. The battles may seem impressive or even give the illusion of progress because they’re meticulously scripted, well-financed and broadcast on every channel you can think of in 3D, 4D, HD and virtually any other D you can think of. But at some point, we all have to ask ourselves, ‘for all our apparent “genius” what have we actually achieved?’. Where is this all going? And… why?


Which brings me to the D&AD Awards. And, specifically, the D&AD Impact Awards; which I recently had the honour of judging. I say honour because there is something exceptional about seeing creativity at work. Especially creativity harnessed for good. Creativity is a vast, life-giving and life-restoring force. It’s also a force that our industry is more capable of cultivating to benefit the whole planet. In this year’s case, the D&AD Awards saw pools of applications come in from 46 countries. However, there were only 3 winners in the “Impact” category. The top applications in the “Impact” category are called White Pencils. White Pencils are not easily won. As judges we look for solutions that really work, can be scaled, and possess measurable impact. Which says a lot about the three applications that have been awarded. They are: “Lessons in Her Story” by Goodby Silverstein & Partners (US), “Act for Food” by Marcel/Publicis Conseil (France) and “The Tampon Book: A Book Against Tax Discrimination” by Scholtz & Friends Berlin (Germany).


Though I’d hoped to see more entrants for categories related to climate change, I am impressed by the winning entries. Moreso, to see what unfolds as they are incubated by the Council to expand their impact. Stay tuned as their follow-ups with me ensue.





© 2020 Thomas Kolster. All Rights Reserved.

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