Feature

The APG Creative Strategy Awards Shortlist 2009: APG Young Talent Award

Open to anyone aged 16-22, the APG Young Talent Award was launched this year to encourage young people to consider a career in planning and to celebrate the power of their creative and entrepreneurial thinking.

Students at schools and universities across the country were briefed to create a new brand from scratch that would appeal to their peers. We wanted them to give our industry a shot in the arm. To show us how it's done. To breathe some fresh thinking into an industry that is often obsessed with youth, yet rarely, if ever, recruits anybody under the age of 22. We had high expectations. And yet the entries on the shortlist more than live up to them: they are highly creative, entrepreneurial, persuasive and passionate. Anyone concerned about the future of our industry need not fear: it is going to be in safe hands.

- Gareth Goodall, chair of the APG Young Talent Award judges and the head of planning at Fallon.

- 'Nocauda' by James Hickman (21)

Hickman's paper bravely tackles one of the most high-profile issues facing young people today: knife crime. Most people who carry a knife, Hickman argues, do so for protection because they believe that other people are doing the same, creating a vicious "knife cycle". In reality, many people would not carry a knife if they felt they would not be in peer isolation by doing so: in actual fact, it's probable that many of their peers are strongly against knives. And yet there is no tangible or visible way for young people to demonstrate their standpoint on this issue.

Nocauda ("no coward") is a high-fashion clothing brand that cleverly hijacks the iconography of knife crime (the hoody, the baseball cap) and subverts it to allow young people to make a clear statement to their peers: "I am brave enough not to carry a knife." The judges were particularly impressed by Hickman's insights into the audience and his use of complex behaviour change models to demonstrate how his brand would be effective.

- 'Hyde' by Gabrielle Falzone (22)

At its simplest, Falzone has created a fashion brand based around a very simple concept: every item of clothing would have hidden compartments and pockets in which young people can stash valuable or illicit objects. And, indeed, the paper makes a very convincing argument that this useful function would be highly appreciated by a target audience for whom carrying a bag is cumbersome and carrying expensive items, such as iPods, can be dangerous. However, what really impressed the judges was the richness of the iconography built around the brand and the way that a "there is more to me than meets the eye" sense of playful mystery was infused in every element of the brand's activities, from launch parties in alternative cities to hidden underground retail environments.

- 'Revolve Gaming Network' by Mina ghabrial (21)

Mina's paper opens with an excellent assessment of the computer and video games industry, bringing to life in very simple terms the size of the gaming universe and its global worth. He then goes on to identify a genuinely un-met need within this market: players are often members of multiple disconnected communities, yet no single platform exists to bring these communities together, to make it simple for people to stay updated on news, to centralise their gaming statistics or find others who may be interested in co-operative play. Revolve Gaming Network, Mina convincingly argues, is the answer to this gap in the market.

However, what the judges found most exciting was the inventive way Mina had sought to monetise his brand. Members of RGN would be able to compete against one another for money, with RGN taking a cut of the wager. In addition, RGN would be a gamer marketplace for the sale of virtual gaming goods, a revenue stream that the paper successfully argues is currently largely untapped.

- 'Bean' by Helen Trimm (17)

"Where have you Bean?" our youngest shortlisted author asks in a beautifully visualised paper. Recognising that wanting to travel the world is a natural desire among young people, Bean is a reward scheme that actively encourages and celebrates environmentally friendly travel.

While Trimm's highly visual approach to her entry was impressive, the judges were most excited about the evocative language she created around the brand: Bean is fresh, verdant and natural and yet beans can also be earned, grown and counted at www.beancounter.com, the place where rewards are generated to be spent at high street stores or on other environmentally friendly travel. The paper also successfully argues that Bean is a unique and distinctive product, with few competitors genuinely rewarding people for green behaviour, and highlights the potential for expansion beyond the core target audience of 16- to 22-year-olds.

JUDGES

- Alex Dunsdon, Business director, M&C Saatchi

- Toby Horry, Head of planning, Dare

- Gareth Goodall, Head of planning, Fallon (chair)

- Georgia Challis, Senior planner, DDB

- Sara Tate, Strategy director, Mother

- Anton Reyniers, Planner, Bartle Bogle Hegarty

- Richard Dunn, Senior planner, Partners Andrews Aldridge.

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