Today at Advertising Week Europe, London-based nonprofit D&AD announced a new set of ad industry awards that will honor socially responsible work. The D&AD Impact awards will be presented for the first time later this year, at Advertising Week New York XIII, in conjunction with Stillwell Partners, the parent company of the industry gathering.
The new awards span 12 disciplines in which nominees can effect change: communication and interaction, community, diversity and equality, education, environmental sustainability, financial empowerment, humanitarian aid, health and wellness, industry evolution, government engagement, responsible production and consumption, and urban living.
The awards will help raise awareness about "doing well by doing good and putting purpose beyond profit," said Tim Lindsay, CEO of D&AD. They will also encourage agencies to "begin the processes of developing the language, thinking, tools, processes and metrics that are needed if we are going to be able to lead the charge with our clients," he said.
"Corporate social responsibility and social good projects are an essential part of today’s advertising industry," said Matt Scheckner, executive director of Advertising Week. "Years ago, we saw ad agencies occasionally take on a pro-bono account from time to time, but agencies are doing more philanthropic work than ever before."
Impact is an extension of D&AD’s White Pencil awards, which recognize campaigns across five areas of expertise that advance the cause of social good. The organization introduced the White Pencil in 2012.
"Overall, the objective is the same: to demonstrate, stimulate and celebrate the power of creativity as a force for good in a world that needs all the help it can get," Lindsay said. But besides a wider range of categories (and more opportunities to win), Impact offers broader appeal in both jury selection and target market, "reaching beyond the advertising and design communities to a wider business audience," he said.
"In many ways, the business community is ahead of the advertising and design industries, and we need to move fast to catch up or our position will be filled by other service organizations," Lindsay added.
Submissions for Impact are open now at dandadimpact.com. Agencies, brands, publishers, non-profits and private companies are all eligible. Winners will be chosen by a jury comprising leaders in business, the arts, politics and media. Jury chairs will oversee each category, including Susan Smith Ellis, CMO of Getty Images; Tim Brown, CEO of Ideo; celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; and David Droga, creative chairman and founder of Droga5.
"We’ve wanted to launch an awards program for a while now, we just weren’t armed with the right partner," Scheckner said. "Fortunately we’ve come to work with D&AD on panels and speaking opportunities for Advertising Week New York, in addition to our newer annual conference in London. And what began as a casual conversation and pie in the sky idea, has turned into a legitimate awards program."
The decision to partner with Advertising Week is part of D&AD’s efforts to expand its American footprint, including a push to grow its New Blood program — a showcase of young industry talent — internationally. "The U.S. is D&AD's most important market," Lindsay said. "The opportunity to partner with Advertising Week occurred to us a couple of years ago and slowly took shape following multiple conversations with Matt Scheckner and his colleagues."
"Partnering with an established and respected festival seems like the right thing to do. Making it in the City on your own as an out-of-towner is tough."