The pandemic has in no way dampened the vibrancy of this year’s D&AD New Blood Festival, which kicked off with a webinar by Nils Leonard, creative founder of Uncommon Creative Studio, an agency showing the world what great ad creative can be. Tonight, this year’s crop of students finds out which of them will start their careers with a D&AD Pencil.
Kenneth Meek & Marianne Johansen won a Black Pencil last year with their project, Narration. They spoke to The Stable about their winning project and what New Blood has meant to them.
The Stable: You won a New Blood Black Pencil. What were the most valuable things at New Blood that contributed to it?
Meek & Johansen: The Black Pencil-winning project was one that’s personal to us. It focused on disability, which is something we’re both living with. Because of that, we had an insight that was based on our own experiences, and that not just anyone could have come up with. Interesting ideas often come from a personal place, and we were lucky that the brief catered to that. So, if there’s a brief where you think you can use your own experiences to come up with a unique insight or solve a problem in a new and interesting way, give it a go.
Another thing we’d add is that we won our pencil for a UX brief, without any experience in that field whatsoever. We both went to ad school and work as a creative team in an ad agency, so entering something outside of a typical ad campaign was strange. With that said, we learned so much from it, and would encourage anyone to try the same thing – you have nothing to lose.
TS: What does D&AD’s relentless pursuit of excellence mean to you and why do you think it is important for the creative industries?
M & J: D&AD isn’t just about great work or awards, but also the nurturing of young and diverse talent. We believe D&AD has been and still is in a position to move the industry forward. Young creatives aspire to make it into the annual. Experienced creatives use their archive of great work as a reference for their own. It’s a one-stop shop for creatives and design professionals. Everyone owes D&AD something, but rarely does D&AD ask for anything back.
TS: How do you win at New Blood?
M & J: Creating a winning entry isn’t an exact science, but we believe that if you’re passionate about your idea, others will be too. Be smart with how you answer your chosen brief. Make it simple. Make it understandable and make it bulletproof. Make sure it’s still on brief. Don’t use VR if it’s not essential to the idea ;). Show your idea to people without explaining it. Then, keep simplifying and crafting. If your idea is done a few days/weeks/months before the deadline, start another brief. And with a dash of luck, you might just win.
View their Black Pencil winning project, Narration, here.
Kenneth Meek & Marianne Johansen and the Black Pencil
Marc Morales & Gal-la Basora were Pencil winners last year with their project, Her to Win Change for adidas. They attended the Academy, and were shortlisted for Next Creative this year.
The Stable: How did you come together – at New Blood or before? What did you hope to get from New Blood?
Morales & Basora: We met each other during an internship at McCann Spain. We quickly realised that we both shared the same passion for advertising, creativity and ideas. That’s why we decided to work together on the adidas D&AD New Blood 2019 brief. When we received the email congratulating us for winning a D&AD Pencil, we couldn’t imagine that winning was just the beginning. A few weeks later we received another message, this time notifying us that we were selected to join the New Blood Academy, a one-month program to train the next generation of creatives. It was a dream come true.
TS: What were the most valuable things that you gained/took from the Academy?
M & B: Without any doubt, what we value the most are the people we were able to meet, from the D&AD staff to each speaker and mentor and, of course, our incredible 25 fellow colleagues.
Being selected to join the best emerging creatives from all over the world was an overwhelming and rewarding experience. Getting to know people from different countries and fields opened our minds and showed us how creativity can be pushed when seen from different perspectives.
Also, as a copywriter and an art director, we enjoyed meeting professionals from different fields apart from our speciality. For example, we had the chance to visit Facebook London offices and learn how they create powerful communities within their platform, also we met a documentary director, VR/AR designers and Oscar-winning production teams, among others. Each one of these experiences became game-changers in the way we see advertising, now we always try to nourish from other creative areas to push our ideas further.
TS: What does it mean to you to have been shortlisted for Next Creative?
M & B: It’s incredible to think that one year ago we were joining the Academy and now we’re shortlisted for the Next Creative, our first pro award. We see creativity as a long race full of obstacles but also amazing rewards, and without any doubt, this has been one of the best rewards we had this year. We’re so thankful for everything that we’ve lived in our short but intense career and we can’t wait to continue doing what we love the most: create ideas that can really stick into people’s minds and, hopefully, make someone smile, even if it’s ourselves.
View their winning adidas project here.
Marc Morales & Gal-la Basora