EDITORIAL: Advertising needs D&AD to keep pace

There's no doubt that Michael Hockney's return to advertising is an interesting move. As the new chief executive of D&AD, Hockney takes on a well-oiled machine that has a vital role to play in the industry. But he also inherits a number of issues that D&AD must tackle to position itself for the future.

When David Kester joined D&AD nine years ago he took over a viper's nest of politics and mismanagement. In the intervening years, Kester overturned that image to shape D&AD into an assured business. D&AD's transformation from a shambolic and corrupt organisation facing financial collapse to a super-efficient charity is largely owing to Kester's organised management style. But along the way, Kester attracted some criticism for actually cleaning up D&AD's act so much that it lost some of its character, becoming a smooth engine that didn't always do justice to the personality of the business.

Either way, the contribution the organisation now makes to the industry is undeniable. A keen focus on education and training and a business model that allows a £1.5 million-a-year budget for nurturing the best young creative talent makes D&AD invaluable. But Hockney must now take the D&AD manifesto forward to ensure it keeps pace with the shifting demands on the industry.

The championing of creativity without acknowledging its role in building businesses is increasingly one-dimensional; and a much greater focus on underlining the importance of creativity among the client community is now required. So, too, is an acknowledgement that, for all their fashionability, terms such as "media-neutral solutions" have a real relevance to the advertising process; by concentrating narrowly on one side of the business without recognising the context of integrated communications, D&AD is in danger of sidelining itself among the wider advertising community.

With barriers between design and advertising slowly breaking down, D&AD is well placed to drive greater synergies between the two sides. But Hockney now must ensure the body has a profile and meaning outside these creative communities.


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