Nothing is New Forever

Comments from judging the NEW category at the London International Awards


The NEW category at the London International Awards is, in my increasingly humbled post judging opinion, the hardest category to win [and to judge].

When I helped the LIAs to create the category the hope was always to highlight new pathways — new kinds of creative ideas that solve problems for clients and consumers. As soon as they’ve been lit, those paths must fall away from the top of the NEW.

That which was new before soon becomes old, especially in an industry rife with neophilia and internal inspiration.

The category is designed to encourage and celebrate fruitful experimentation and the bravery required to get new kinds of work done.

The winners show a spread from high to low tech but there is connective tissue if one cares to look.

An API mashup enables SKY Television subscribers to set their DVRs to record a show by re-tweeting a tweet listing sent out by SKY — both a new kind of TV Guide slipped into the stream, a beautifully simple utility, and an ongoing earned media concept.

Vodafone in Egypt turned tiny denominations of phone credit into small change — a currency used to literally give small change in independent convenience stores — leveraging a cultural insight [that small items are often given as change to save on handling costs] and creating a massive distribution network by helping retailers solve a problem of their own.

An energy saving experiment run in thousands of homes in Sweden, managed by smartphone apps, from E.ON.

Nike turns the Kinect into a personal trainer.

Get children into the daily habit of washing their hands with soap by putting a small toy inside each bar.

Macy creates a free musical — and tools and tips for performing it — for school children to put on a Christmas.

What holds them all together?

Just shift your focus away from the outputs and towards the outcomes — each idea is a behavioral system, creating value when the user interacts with the brand.

The NEW remains home for ideas that can’t be defined solely by their expression, only their impact.

Previously published in the London International Awards Annual .
The jury in 2013 was chaired by Tony Granger, global CCO of Y&R and featured Matt Walsh EVP / Executive Experience Director, Crispin Porter + Bogusky; John Merrifield,Chief Creative Officer, Asia-Pacific, Google; Kazoo Sato, Executive Creative Director TBWA\Hakuhodo and Faris Yakob, Genius Steals the nomad creative consultancy.

Faris Yakob is the co-founder of Genius Steals, a strategy, innovation and ideas practice and the author of PAID ATTENTION. He served as the chairman of the Integrated Jury at the Clio Awards and created the NEW category for the London International Awards.

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