A view from Joe Alexander

We need an award for the people who pave the way to Cannes

What a statement it would be if we recognised the unsung heroes of our industry, says The Martin Agency's chief creative officer.

Here’s to the cobblestones. 

The unsung heroes.

The ones who pave the way to great work and never get listed in the credits.

The teammates we sometimes step all over and take for granted. 

The noisy ones who warn us when a truck is about to run us over.

The rocks of the agency.

About 10 years ago, the late Mike Hughes had an idea, probably as he was walking to lunch over the cobblestones that pave the streets around The Martin Agency headquarters in Richmond.

What if we created an award for the people who pave the way to award-winning work?

Not just the fighter pilots, but the crew on the ground.

The Cobblestone Award was born. 

They’ve gone to the project manager who kept an FWA-worthy site and tablet version from going off the rails. 

The art buyer who discovered an illustrator that brought an idea to another level.

The UX planner whose insight turned the light bulb on, resulting in a Grand Prix.

The developer who figured out a way to make the nav even more magical than before.

The producer who got an extra half-day of shooting for nothing.

The technologist who built a 3D printed prototype that convinced the CMO to green light a project.

The account person who took the nervous call from the client and somehow talked them off the ledge.

The controller who kept our revenue number looking good all year long.

The operations guy who built a prop for a new biz pitch the client still raves about. 

The IT dude who took the panicked call from the CD in London and helped him download a huge file from the server just in time for a presentation.

Since 2006, we’ve given out just a few cobblestones every year and it’s become a coveted badge of honour to the winners and a symbol of our agency motto: Good and Tough. Good to each other, tough on the work. 

Yes, a few creatives have won them, too. 

But the Cobblestones are truly for the people who aren’t eligible for Pencils, Lions and Cubes. (We have enough of those award shows, don't we?)

Maybe it’s time we had an award show for the people who pave the road to Cannes. What a statement to the whole industry that would be. 

Mike, I think you’re onto something – as usual, way ahead of all of us. 

Joe Alexander is CCO of The Martin Agency in Richmond, London and New York and the President of the 2016 Cannes Film Jury.