Tim Lindsay, chief executive officer at D&AD (Design and Art Direction), the British educational charity that promotes excellence in advertising and design, is responsible for helping advertising and design agencies participate in one of most coveted design awards in the industry. At the 52nd D&AD awards ceremony held in London on Thursday evening, Lindsay spoke with Mint on the Indian entries at the awards (India partnered with D&AD last year, after the British joined hands with the local creative arm of Transasia Fine Papers Pvt. Ltd, Kyoorius and the International Advertising Association-India chapter, on the other big winners of the night that re-emphasized the relevance of strong social messages advertisers are participating in and how new media is changing consumer engagement. Excerpts.
D&AD participated in the Indian advertising industry just last year and India has already gained some viability on the global platform. How far are Indian campaigns from grabbing the D&AD awards?
I think it’s a combination of things. The quality has always been there. When I was with Lowe Lintas (Europe), there was some fantastic work coming out of India, both in terms of advertising and design
So I think what has happened this year, in a large part is because of marketing including our partnership with Kyoorius. We’ve gone to India more often. We’ve been more active. We’ve held events and even introduced the advertising and digital events.
While three Indian works were in contention for the Yellow Pencil awards, we didn’t see any winners. How soon till India can get there?
I think there are 25 pieces of work that got the In-Book awards this year from India apart from the nominations (for the big awards).
So I think that’s a big achievement. These awards and nominations are pretty hard to get to. So I think for India to be on the nominations list is also a big thing. I think India is a powerhouse (in terms of advertising) so they will get there eventually.
Since you’ve been heading the D&AD how have brands changed the way they communicate with consumers thanks to new media?
I think there have been certain markets that have leapfrogged and moved to mobile, for instance. I think in 50 years time, we will look back at the span of time—between 1960 and 2000—just as a complete aberration or a weird time when people interrupted life at your home and heckled your life with competitive messages.
I think now, the kind of engagement marketing communications need to do to get the attention (of consumers) is completely different.
We saw campaigns with a strong social message sweep a couple of awards tonight. Do you think agencies need to stick their neck out and creatively communicate on social issues?
I absolutely think so. They have to develop the kind of language, capabilities and processes to help their clients find a purpose for their brand that goes beyond profitability. Because increasingly it is becoming clear that the younger generation—they want to buy things from companies that are responsible as opposed to treating things they care about, badly. I think agencies have to help clients behave more sustainably and there is an opportunity for businesses to lead that conversation. However right now it’s still very niche.
The White Pencil Award innovation at D&AD is about that, i.e., awards given out to campaigns with a social purpose.