This year, London International Awards has announced several significant changes to The NEW. Conceived almost a decade ago as a collaboration between LIA and Faris Yakob, the competition aimed to recognise work that sat outside of traditional media types.
For 2017, Yakob once again teamed up with LIA, this time alongside Rosie Yakob, his fellow co-founder of Genius Steals, to update and re-define The NEW. LBB caught up with Faris & Rosie to talk about the updated categories…
Having chaired various content and integration juries in 2008 and 2009, Faris Yakob became frustrated at the mismatch between the definitions and entries. His experience, albeit great, was hindered by the time being spent defining the parameters for what made the entries content or integrated.
“It was clear that these categories were being used as an award home for innovative work that defied categorization, that wasn’t restricted to the traditional media categories but that a lot of it also didn’t fit inside the boxes of C&C or Integrated either,” he explains.
Somewhat awkwardly, he started noticing ideas that didn’t fit in elsewhere picking up awards. There was a lot of experimentation going on – something he’d been hired to push at a large network agency in NYC – and he wanted to see the industry evolve. “Agencies of all flavours have a role as champions of creativity and should be proud to push that, rather than trying act like accountants or Accenture,” Yakob says.
In 2009, Faris met Barbara Levy, founder of London International Awards, and as a result of his recent jury experiences, discussed with her the need for a way to award and champion ideas that don’t neatly fit into the categories that award shows have adopted.
“Since the show is independent it isn’t bound by bureaucracy and Barbara can innovate on the spot. That’s how it ended up being judged in Las Vegas, and it’s how The NEW came about,” explains Yakob. “We were talking about it, wondering how there could be a category that could house all the new kinds of ideas and Barbara simply said, ‘why don’t we just create one called ‘The NEW’.”
Essentially The NEW was conceived as a petri dish in which experiments could be given the support to grow and, ultimately, spawn new stand-alone categories. “It aimed to award ideas that leveraged the changing mediascape and emerging technology,” he says. “Ideas that hacked culture, that created new engagement spaces between people and brands. Ideas from agencies that consumers were willing to pay for.”
Over the last eight years, The NEW has been an ever-present category at LIA but the industry around it has changed. New forms have emerged and, to cater for them, LIA have once again teamed up with Yakob (who is this time joined by his wife Rosie, co-founder of their nomadic creative, strategy and innovation consultancy Genius Steals), to re-define The NEW.
“This year we’ve developed a batch of categories that sit under The NEW that reflect some seismic changes in the brand-agency-media landscape. It’s clear that lots of different kinds of companies are producing different kinds of ideas that don’t fit into existing categories - we’ve been tracking them as they grew in volume through The NEW,” he says. “Now, they are stable enough to form into categories within The NEW.”
Brand Actions is a brand-new category and a first for any global award show, covering activities that exists outside of media that inform advertising but are distinct from it (such as real world stunts like Red Bull Stratos, PR stunts like McWhopper, and one-offs such as REI OptOutside). Then there’s Creative Use of Data, which will reflect the growing importance and impact of data on work.
“We’re especially interested in ideas being product through a new supply chain,” adds Yakob, “whether Influencer Advertising, where the idea is created by individuals who have large online followings, or Media Creativity, which is especially for media agencies to enter their creative ideas. We want to highlight the full range of creativity.”
There’s also the addition of Native Advertising, which speaks to brand creativity coming from publications and their brand studios, and Self Promotion, which reflects the drive and possibility for agencies and individuals to produce and publish their own ideas.
Finally, The NEW is dropping 'Brand Content' as a sub-category as its being spun out as its own standalone medium – ‘Branded Entertainment’.
“The NEW will keep evolving, as it was always designed to,” explains Yakob. “Obviously we’re biased, but innovations like The NEW and the Creative LIAisons program reflect the LIA Awards commitment to evolution.”
“Our industry is constantly changing and evolving and Faris has been instrumental in helping LIA evolve with it. The NEW was not added to the Awards just for the sake of adding another competition, Faris truly convinced me that it was necessary if LIA was to stay relevant in this ever-changing industry,” stated Barbara Levy, President of LIA.
Faris & Rosie Yakob are co-founders of Genius Steals, the nomadic strategy and innovation consultancy. Faris is the author of Paid Attention: Innovative Advertising for a Digital World [Kogan Page 2015]. They write, speak and consult for agencies and brands, all over the world. Their newsletter Strands of (Stolen) Genius was named one of 7 emails every creatively minded person should subscribe to. It provides briefs bursts of inspiration in your inbox and will let you know when they will be in a city near you.