YOUNG GUNS: SINS OF THE FATHERS?
By David Nobay, executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney -
Chairman of the YoungGuns Print & Outdoor Jury
How old is old? And how young is young?
It’s a question that bounced around both sides of the jury over the three days of judging this year. The simple fact is there’s a fair few 29 year old ‘heavyweights’ in the industry these days; complete with heavyweight salaries, titles and an enviable clutch of precious metal. Which, perhaps, explains just how ‘young’ so much of the winning YoungGuns work is.
Frankly, if we’d been told we were judging a major international ‘grown up’ award, I don’t think any of us would have been thrown. In a way, that’s a compliment to the high levels of craft and the general sense of sophistication in the conceptual thinking. But it’s also kind of sad, and a bit odd. Like a teenager walking around in his dad’s business suit.
Personally, I was expecting more ‘spectacular failure’ - wild, radical and dangerous new thinking that totally ignored industry law and broke some new ground, albeit with a crude naivety.
Admittedly, there were some glaring exceptions that felt fresh from the asylum - ‘Counterfeit Mini’ (Crispin Porter+Bogusky, Miami) is a corker, across all media. The Gold Bullet winning PlayStation bubble-wrap outdoor (McCann- Erickson Malaysia) is a genius alchemy of brand and consumer. The safe sex cards (Leo Burnett Canada) deserved their gong in copywriting and who could forget ‘Gay Nazi Rally’ (Saatchi’s, Norway) in the Bottom Drawer section? (By the way, a pure gift of a category criminally thin on outrageous creativity - given the criteria is ‘work the client didn’t have the balls to run’. Come on guys!).
Overall, the winning work is genuinely world class and the creators deserve to be proud. That said, this show is as much about sticking a cattle-prod up us industry old farts as celebrating youth, and I’d like to question what’s driving young creatives based on the bulk of the work.
After all, it’s all very well repeating the sins of your fathers, but the real fun is thinking up some fresh sin all of your own!