A Cynical Judge For An Emotional Time

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Droga5’s chief creative officer and Creative Circle Gold judge David Kolbusz shares his thoughts on the work he believes to be of medal quality in 2019
A Cynical Judge For An Emotional Time
As Creative Circle reveals the 2019 Shortlist, this year’s Gold Judges have confessed they’re ‘kind of hard-arses’ when it comes to selecting work worthy of metal. One of the UK’s biggest exports is Creativity and with 2018 - 2019 proving to be a tumultuous year for Old Blighty, it seems the industry’s top creative minds are reviewing our country’s output with meticulous scrutiny.  

In this interview Film Gold Judge and Droga5 chief creative officer David Kolbusz discloses how the quality of British work has improved, why ads that pull on the heart strings aren’t necessarily the ads that get rewarded, and why younger creatives now have more say in their fate.


Q> What was the quality of this year’s work like?

David Kolbusz> Remarkable. If there was anything that stood out to me more this year than years passed - it was how much good work there was and how many really great things were in contention for the top prize. For the past few years there have been comments about the quality of UK work but this year saw a lot of strong stuff come out of the UK market. 


Q> Were there any industry issues that you felt were particularly prominent this year?

David> I wouldn’t say that there were any particularly new issues this year - definitely not more so than in previous years. But there was an extension of the ongoing conversation around emotionally-led ads and whether advertising that provides a social good has an unfair advantage over ads that don’t pull on heart-strings. 

Interestingly, my jury was quite pragmatic. We were not necessarily swayed by an ad’s emotional appeal. Whilst there was work that tried to appeal on those levels, they were immediately disregarded by the jury if they weren’t of an obvious level of quality. In my opinion, we were a good cynical jury. 


Q> What are your thoughts on the new ‘free to enter’ categories for younger applicants?

David> They can only be a good thing, right? Award show skins can be expensive. I remember being a younger creative and thinking that my work may have had a shot in the awards process - but it was the higher-ups who had the power of veto and they decided what was entered and what was not.

It’s good to know that now, with modifications like this, that you can enter yourself in - if you feel passionately enough about it. Of course, it doesn’t always convert to an award and the higher-ups do have a pretty good idea of what will make it - but it gives people a great sense of control over their fate.



Tickets for the Creative Circle Ball on Thursday 9th May at The Troxy are now available. Each year tickets sell out fast, to secure tickets to the awards night, head to the Creative Circle bookings website.
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