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“Creative People Are Incredibly Competitive…. and the Fight Against Any Hardship Is a Positive Attitude”

Associations, Award Shows and Festivals
London, United Kingdom
As more award ceremonies are put on hiatus, custodian of The Caples Awards Patrick Collister highlights why award shows are now more important than ever

Back in February, I was planning a summer trip to New Zealand in order to present The Caples Awards. At the time, there was something terrible called coronavirus happening over in China, but that was a distant concern. Little did we know that within a matter of weeks things would get far more serious and we would be joining the lockdown measures along with many other countries all over the globe...

The pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional, and while our health is no doubt the number one concern, we must also juggle this with business repercussions. 

When everything hit, we knew that awards budgets would logically be one of the first things to be withheld in order for agencies to survive - a huge shame for all the outstanding work produced over the past year. As an advocate for great creativity, I want to do everything I can to help support the industry at this difficult time but I knew that our strategy would have to change if we were to go ahead safely. 

The way that we have all responded to the coronavirus reminds me a little bit of the fight or flight reaction. Many of us, myself included, were in a bit of a paralysis at first. Frozen and not knowing which way to turn. The initial shock seems to be wearing off now and our vision is getting clearer. 

“The fight against any hardship is a positive attitude and celebration of things that are good in the world.”

Speaking with fellow custodian Duncan Gray, along with The Caples’ jurors, we came to the conclusion that part of the fight against any hardship is a positive attitude and celebration of things that are good in the world. After all, once we come through the other side of this, will we not still want to look back on our career highlights and moments of happiness? Without recorded recognition, great work that we use to inspire further innovation runs the risk of disappearing without trace among a sea of content and information.

With huge awards shows like Cannes Lions forced to cancel or postpone, there will be no recognition of the amazing work talented people produced both in the few months before and during this troubling time. 

The Caples has been lurching along for over 40 years. The incredible community it has cultivated has been loyal to it for just as long. I feel a sense of responsibility to keep our spirit going and this year, to do that would be to make it free to enter.

Awards are incredibly important for multiple reasons. Creativity, for me, is a synonym for competitiveness. Creative people are incredibly competitive; they compete for briefs, they compete against each other and it’s this drive to do better work that fuels all awards shows. Awards are extremely important in providing a degree of measure and as competitive people it allows us to keep the score.

Awards are recognition. For every 100 scripts you write, 99 will be turned down for one reason or another. The work you enter into an award show is the one that got away - the one where everything just fell into place and everybody did what they were supposed to do which happens so rarely. And that should be celebrated. 

“Award winning work is better work - it’s not just about the glory.”

Award winning work is better work - it’s not just about the glory. And agencies who win awards are the sorts of places where people are like-minded and where people will want to cluster together, enticing in new talent.

In a wider context it will be amazing to see what creative people will be doing in the down time. The Renaissance saw a flowering of culture. Perhaps we’ll also see new art forms and new types of advertising. I’m keeping my eyes open.

But we must be careful not to simply 'ride a wave'. It shouldn’t just be about filling time. The best work is that which answers a specific demand. And at a time like this there are plenty of opportunities for ideas that help support those in need and coming up with brilliant solutions to new problems.

Churchill once said that you should never let a good crisis go to waste. We need to be proud about celebrating creativity despite these difficult times and the world needs it now more than ever. 

It’s about being optimistic that this will pass and it is in all of our best interests to try to keep a sense of normality where possible, so we can look back at these strange times and see just how well we pulled through.

Work from The Caples Awards