Media: A moment with Marquis

By Simon Marquis, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 29 September 2006 12:00AM

Good luck Tony Davidson, the new president of D&AD. In our world, yours is a role of considerable influence. You are the champion of the notion that creativity matters, that excellence in it is worth striving for, that truly creative ideas are effective ideas.

The organisation you head - very wisely, an increasingly global one - owns the most coveted bauble on the crowded shelf of industry awards: a stubby black Pencil. Most creatives would happily give up a month-long shoot in the Maldives and a 50 per cent pay rise for one of those, such is the elite status it confers.

Your organisation - yes, alright, it has its tensions and its politics - is unique in bringing together the skills of advertising with those of design. Under which other single banner can the creators of the Honda ads and the architect of the Millau viaduct be applauded and recognised? But how important that is.

You remark that it is curious that our government has never heard of D&AD. If that is true, take comfort: you are not alone. Our government will not have heard of countless organisations, individuals and ideas that better the world. Indeed, you could argue that its ignorance is a blessing: no interference. More important, perhaps, is that business leaders know about D&AD and its unwavering commitment to the very best in the arts and techniques of effective communication.

Your mission is to represent the gold standard in creativity. A few years ago, the D&AD organisation itself was slipping into a complacency and occasional sloppiness that could have scuppered this aim once and for all. But now you have the business skills and the focus of the chief executive, Michael Hockney, and his re-energised team to make this real. You also have a group of trustees, your Executive Committee, who care passionately about D&AD and every tiny detail of its activities, its presentation and its branding. How could it be otherwise, peopled as it is by your peer group in design and advertising?

For three years, I had the privilege of being a member of that group - the only representative of the media side of the business. If I had one request to you, it would be to reach out to that world too. Media people talk about creativity as well and much of what they do is undeniably creative. But, by almost universal agreement, the interface between what you do and what they do has fractured. In what will be your crowded agenda as president, find a place to engage and inspire media people. That can only strengthen the gold standard.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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