D&AD New Gen is all about empowering young people to come up with creative ideas to tackle socially relevant challenges set by a global brand and industry leaders—think D&AD New Blood, but for younger people aged 11-18.
Its main purpose is to get kids to realise the power of their own creativity and develop valuable skills at a much earlier life stage than ever before.
Pretty cool, right?
How it all got started
The D&AD team partnered with our pals at Daydream Believers to lay the groundwork for this year’s very first challenge in collaboration with WPP and Adidas, who set the brief.
The judges, all from the likes of Dentsu, Jack Renwick, Adam and Eve and more, awarded, from over 100 entries across the UK, five winning teams—all from Scotland, by the way. No big deal (hair toss, checks nails).
Each winning team was paired up with creative folk from Scotland-based agencies Emperor, Leith, StudioLr, Bond & Coyne, and, much to our excitement, yours truly. Each of us were tasked with helping the winners develop their ideas into a full-on brand and concept launch campaign.
Four in five teenagers don’t exercise enough, meaning they’re missing out on the enjoyment and benefits of regular physical activity. The challenge then, was for students to design a game that would inspire their peers to swap their TikTok-scrolling-machines for something traditionally sporty like a ball, or a racket, or, you know—a spoon (that’s foreshadowing).
It also had to be accessible enough to effortlessly sidestep common obstacles to physical activity for kids their age. Things like self-consciousness, poverty, or physical disabilities.
Got a spoon? Of course you do
For our part, Junior Art Director, Ben Neilson and Senior Designer, Emma Stewart had the pleasure of working with the amazingly talented winners of the 11-14 category, students Gemma, Jane and Melissa, and their teacher, Mrs Fraser.
Hailing all the way from the Art & Design Department at Castlehead High School in distant Paisley (it’s at least 8 miles from us), Gemma, Jane, and Melissa paid us a visit with a brilliant, one-of-a-kind idea in their back pocket. It was one of those ideas that sparks so many other ideas, you almost start to lose track. In the biz, we call this an idea with legs (more foreshadowing).
And the idea?
A game called ‘Sprun’. Think spoon. Think run. Now smash them together. You get it.
Sprun is a relay with a twist where teams run checkpoint-to-checkpoint with a spoon, then run it back.
Now pair this idea with a clever tagline that effortlessly spells out the name of the game—“Got a spoon? Run!”—and you’ve got the makings of an idea any creative would be over the moon to get stuck into. And we were no exception.
Sprun answered the brief with flying colours by offering kids a new and unique way to exercise that was also easily accessible because everyone has a spoon.
Please put your hands together…
Taking place at Edinburgh Napier University just earlier this week, the D&AD New Gen Awards kicked off with a few words from ENU Head of Design Photography and Advertising, Matt Sinclair, D&AD Senior Foundation Manager, Marie Dryden, and the Director of Daydream Believers, Helena Good, who also hosted the event.
Next, each agency presented the new branding and campaign concepts to the winning student teams who then came up to accept their awards. We were so impressed at the high level of creativity on display. If you ask us, it’s clear the future of the creative industries (or any industry these students choose) will be in good hands.
One last big WELL DONE to Gemma, Jane, and Melissa, their teacher, Mrs Fraser, and all of the other winners!
Also thanks so much to D&AD and Helena Good from Daydream Believers for the opportunity. We can’t wait for next year!