Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Defining Award-Worthy: Q&A with ECD Maria Devereux

Associations, Award Shows and Festivals
London, United Kingdom
ECD Colenso BBDO Auckland, Maria Devereux on the valuable lessons learned when you don’t win

Maria began her career at Colenso BBDO, Auckland where she won six Cannes lions in her first six years as an Art Director. Now executive creative director, her latest work for Pedigree SelfieSTIX has been awarded over 80 times at 23 shows.

She was recently named in Adweek’s Creative 100 and has collected over 100 international and local awards for her work at multiple shows including Caples, Cannes, D&AD, One Show, Clio and The Webby Awards.

In this interview with LBB, Maria talks solving problems, her favourite work of the past year, and what not winning an award can teach you about yourself.

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

Maria Devereux> I love you.

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

Maria> Great creative solutions start with great problems. Find a great problem to solve, interrogate it, question it and re-imagine it until you know it’s the most interesting problem there is. Then look for an inarguably obvious creative solution to that problem.

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

Maria> Creativity is a powerful force when it truly moves people and elicits a human response. Whether we realise it or not, creativity moves us all on a daily basis - when we watch a movie, read a book or even bake a cake. So that’s what I’ll be looking for when I’m judging work at Caples, I want to truly feel something.

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

Maria> Winning awards has helped other people believe in me but not winning them has helped me believe in myself. Not winning awards taught me how to let go of a deep need for external approval. When winning an award is closely linked to your self worth you have to assess whether you’re searching for happiness in the right place.

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?

Maria> I’ve been lucky. There are many, many people in my career who have taken the time to teach me and for that I’ll be forever grateful. I can’t thank all of them right here but I can promise them I’ll pass that knowledge on to those I have the honour of working with.

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

Maria> Negativity can get boring so let’s talk about the kind of work I love! Volvo’s E.V.A. Initiative is the kind of work I’d like to see more of. This work solved an incredible problem in a generous way. Women are more likely to get injured in a crash, partly due to male crash test dummies being the standard, so Volvo shared 40 years of crash data with the entire industry to help make cars safer for women.

Q> What was your favourite piece of work in 2019?

Maria> IKEA Thisables. I love this idea. What a fantastic initiative for a massive retailer. The concept of creating 3D printed add-ons to existing IKEA products is so smart and achievable and who knows, perhaps the success of this campaign will lead to the creation of product ranges designed specifically for disabled people.

Work from The Caples Awards