Defining Award-Worthy: Q&A with CCO Vince McSweeney

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Vince McSweeney, CCO McCann Central on how awards accelerate learning and the slim margin between shortlisting and winning
Defining Award-Worthy: Q&A with CCO Vince McSweeney

Chief creative officer at McCann Central (Birmingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes, Leeds and McCann Demand London), Vince McSweeney started off as a Junior Copywriter at McCann Melbourne before being promoted to Creative Director just three years later. 

Picking up a McCann global award for Creative Leadership along the way, his work has been recognised at Cannes, Eurobest, Epica, Oneshow, NY Festival, LIA, Kinsale and numerous local UK award shows.

In this interview Vince talks questions he asks himself when judging a piece of work and subscribing to the Dan Wieden view: “Just move me, dude.”


Q> What does creativity mean to you in just three words?

Vince McSweeney> Originality with purpose.


Q> What is your advice for those wanting to break the mould, think differently, and create work that stands out? 

Vince> A tension = Attention. What’s the grit in the oyster?


Q> What makes a piece of work worthy of an award? What will you be looking for when judging? 

Vince> Have I ever seen it that way before? Executionally and conceptually. Obviously there are specific considerations by category, but largely I subscribe to the Dan Wieden view – 'Just move me, dude.' Does it move me emotionally? Does it move me to act in the way it’s intended? And then, from a ‘creativity is originality’ point of view, have I ever seen it that way before? Is the approach original? Does it give me a new way of looking at something I thought I already knew and is it executed in an original way? Does it have a great degree of craft?


Q> How have awards that you have won in the past influenced or changed your career? 

Vince> It’s given me greater access to people who are far smarter and far more creative than me. It’s really accelerated my learning.


Q> The Caples provide feedback on every entry. As a creative, do you find this helpful when creating future work? And would you wish there were more opportunities to hear from your peers as a younger creative? 

Vince> Definitely. My old mentor would say, “You don’t need to agree with what’s won, but you need to understand why it’s won.” Obviously that applies the other way too. The margin between shortlisting and winning can be so slim at times. It’s helpful to know where it didn’t quite hit the mark.


Q> What kind of work are you bored of and what are you hoping to see more of this year? 

Vince> Bored with one-off stunts. Far more interested in systemic change.


Q> What was your favourite piece of work (not your own) in 2019? 

Vince> The New York Times work by Droga5 would have to go close. It’s achingly beautiful and executed perfectly.

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The Caples Awards , 4 months ago