Two new categories for D&AD 2016

D&AD’s 54th annual Professional Awards are now open for entries with two fresh categories set to enliven the proceedings. Once again D&AD are reminding all those eager for glory to get those entries flowing early: 'If you’ve created a piece of work, a campaign, a product, or a movement that has had people exclaiming “I wish I’d done that!” then this might be your year.'

Those two new categories are PR and Media which have been set up in response to 'the evolving creative landscape'.

Tim Lindsay, D&AD CEO (who we interviewed at D&AD Judging Week 2015) commented:

“Where once the function of a PR or Media department was to support and elevate a creative campaign designed by a separate agency, today the lines of creativity are blurred. Successful campaigns are no longer just crafted in the confines of creative agencies; creativity can no longer be pigeonholed in this way.”

This is a roundabout way of saying that PR agencies are offering more services to their clients these days; not just using their relationships with journalists to push stories into the public eye, but crafting original content themselves. This is true enough, and does reflect a fundamental change in the marketing world.

Over the past year we have seen time and again, PR agencies suddenly looking for graduate creative teams to bring in-house. This represents fantastic value to those who can suddenly start upselling creative solution to their clients, while keeping a rotating roster of virgin graduate teams working hard on minimum wage. It's a good 'in' to the industry for those who don't have an uncle in BBH or a girlfriend who's already a Senior Account Manager at the age of 23.

Linsay continues:

“Celebrating and awarding creativity is at the heart of what D&AD does and so it makes sense to move with the times. Increasingly whole creative campaigns are being designed and created inhouse by talented teams who are just as adept at harnessing the power of social media or data as they are creating their own content.”

What is less clear is what we can expect from the Media category. In fact, it seems rather undefined and sketchy as it currently stands. Are we talking about Media Buying? Media Placement? Multi-media?

I reached out to D&AD who told Adland:

In terms of what we mean by media this is definitely raising a few questions!

This category should be considered "creative use of media" - because it's not just looking at how media agencies and departments sell the traditional media space that they own.

On the one hand it's looking at how very often they are creating their own content and campaigns on behalf of brands to fill this space in new and interesting ways. Also, it's looking at how they have used the space that they own, be it social, tv, or print etc in order to amplify a creative campaign in a creative way.

But - if we're being honest - who decides how that media is used in the end if not the advertising agencies themselves - the ones purchasing the space? Media agencies aren't known for their creativity - and when they start creating their 'own content and campaigns', don't they become... an advertising agency? Not sure if this category is convincing me; or if I merely need to see more examples to understand it better. This will be one to keep a close eye on in 2016.

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