Tom Paine's D&AD Diary # One

image1 (1).jpgTom Paine (second from right), creative director, Y&R Auckland is at D&AD in London judging the Press Advertising category. Here is his report, exclusive to Campaign Brief.

A chair was placed just a couple of metres from our jury table, occupied throughout the day by a succession of security guards. An older gent, a stout chap, a young lady. They were clearly instructed not to look at their phones and there were few, if any, riots to suppress or terror attacks to thwart. So they sat there politely, not so subtly eavesdropping on our conversation. How peculiar an impassioned discussion about the inappropriate use of a gothic font must sound.
On occasion, their presence made me question the relevance of what we were doing; at the very least they unwittingly reminded me to keep things in perspective. I'll rewind the clock a little. My dad passed away 5 weeks ago. Subsequently I withdrew from two juries and considered doing likewise with D&AD - a week in London is a long time absent from family. However, a long-haul flight from Auckland to the old country offers ample time to consider something other than the chicken or the beef. Yep, perspective. The industry takes a lot from us. Time, energy, sanity. Whilst flying I capitalised on 24 hours of being uncontactable to weigh up the pros and cons of being contactable 24/7. The late nights, the working weekends. All so we can produce work that, more often than not, dies a thousand deaths.
Then I arrived at D&AD. Clich├ęd as it may sound, walking the halls and chatting with fellow jurors is inspiring. The work is impressive. Nothing short of painstaking effort made it that way. Evidence that creatives around the world have coursed their lifeblood into something they believe in. Evidence that we take pride in creativity; that we value our chosen career paths and the possibility of ensuing rewards and accolades. 
Sure, nobody lies on their deathbed ruing the bronze that got away; their fondest memories will consist of family and reminiscing on a life enjoyed. However, assuming we spend roughly a third of our waking lives working, is it so crazy to also assume our day jobs should be rewarding and foster enjoyment? The abstract thrill of idea conception and production aside, award shows themselves are, put simply, shitloads of fun. Back home, our agency had a fairly successful 2016, resulting in a healthy top-up of air miles. Jaunts to New York, Cannes, London, Singapore, and Sydney. A lot of steam let off, and even more memories made and lost. Few sane creatives would argue with that proposition, which is why it's so incredibly perplexing to see 'anonymous' constantly bagging award-winning work. Perhaps try it, you might like it.
This is a rubbish diary - I'm ranting all over the place with little relevance to the judging process, but to be fair my brain says it's 2pm, my body 2am. Plus you've read all that before. I guess the point I'm attempting to convey is that despite sometimes questioning what it is we actually we do, one thing remains constant: creatives need a platform to vent creativity and D&AD not only provides it, but elevates it. Never forget, you got into this industry because it's creative. Much like the security guards, your parents might not understand your day job, but nobody does. So when we get the opportunity to win a shiny medal or a first-place ribbon, it not only makes the daily struggles more palatable, but it gives our mums and dads something to take pride in, despite them giving zero shits about a gothic font.


Agree said:

Quality rant

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