By Marc Lewis
Why you should leave the D&AD New Blood briefs alone. For now.
D&AD released the briefs for the much coveted New Blood awards on Thursday 5th November. Thousands of students will be whooshing and screaming. They will be off like a rocket this fireworks day.
More fool them.
Deadline day for entries into New Blood is Wednesday 16th March 2016.
That’s 136 days after the briefs went live. Nearly nineteen weeks.
Approximately the gestation period of a chicken. Or a rat. Or a pigeon.
I won’t be letting our students look at the D&AD New Blood briefs until February 2016. Students at School of Communication Arts are banned from downloading them until then.
We do the same every year.
And we win loads of Pencils every year.
We won 15 last year. Twice as many as any ad school in the world.
Winning a Pencil is lovely, but it’s not the most important thing in the world.
It doesn’t even guarantee that you will get a job.
And you don’t want to be remembered for winning a student award.
You want to be remembered for something bigger than that, don’t you?
How about winning a Nobel Peace Prize? That’s way cooler than a student award.
What I hate about D&AD New Blood briefs (hate is a big word, but I mean it) is that students get nineteen weeks to work on a brief.
Universities can sit back and let their students work on the same brief for two semesters.
In fact, Universities can go to sleep and let their students work on the same brief for two semesters.
They snooze, their students lose.
You see, their students are being cheated twice over.
They could use that time more efficiently by practicing on loads of briefs before turning to the D&AD briefs.
And they would get into the habit of being able to respond to a brief in a commercially realistic timeframe.
Nobody ever gets nineteen weeks to respond to a brief in ad land. Nineteen days is more realistic.
When I send my students into an agency on placement, or for employment, I want to know that they are going to smash it.
I want to know that they are going to be so good that teams need to be fired in order for my students to be hired.
They need to think smart, work smart and be smart.
They need to over-deliver.
I fear for the students of university courses who encourage their cohort to take nineteen weeks on a brief.
I fear that it is a poor, lazy, rancid use of the student’s time. I fear that it is symptomatic of the disease and decay that is common in most universities.
I fear that D&AD are unknowingly contributing to the antithesis of what vocational learning should be focused on.
Our job is to prepare our students for jobs. Our job is to prepare our students to excel in their jobs. Our job is to help the next generation to become better than those that came before.
When we give students nineteen weeks to work on a brief, we are doing the opposite of preparing them for the real world.
I love D&AD. It is employed by brilliant, wonderful people who care passionately about our industry.
I love that D&AD does so many fantastic things to support learning, development and curiosity.
I love that D&AD is a showcase for the best of the best.
But I hate the fact that the D&AD New Blood Briefs are released so early.
I urge you not to look at them until February.
Spend the time practicing your skills.
And then win a Pencil.
Ask your university to give you new briefs every week, show new ideas every week, and ask for feedback every week.
If they can’t give you new briefs every week and insightful feedback every week, ask where your money is going!
Are you a student who wants to make it as a professional?
If you are, then enter New Blood with the mindset of a professional.
Treat it like a professional brief.
Nineteen weeks? Don’t be such a chicken!!