The registrations for the New Talent Award 2020 will close on May 4. This is a unique opportunity for students in advertising and young graduates looking for their first job on the agency side, to stand out and who knows, perhaps to land the job of their dreams?
Roxane Schneider (concept provider, Happiness) who won the New Talent and New Blood award in 2016 alongside Jannis Min Jou, and Liesl Dejonghe (community & project manager, Creative Belgium) summarize why this creative competition is so important. And they give a few tips to maximize your entry. Interview by Media Marketing, partner of the New Talent Award.


Liesl, how did the collaboration with D&AD come about?

The collaboration with D&AD started in early 2016. At the time, Greet & Isabel promised the community to invest the surplus revenues from the awards back into the creative industry with a focus on, among other things, projects to develop the next generation of creative talent. To support, inspire and encourage them. At an international level, D&AD is thé reference; with the foundation 'New Blood' they work out a complete program centered around 20 briefings of real brands. The briefings are always very high level and challenging. For each entry for the New Talent Award, Creative Belgium pays the registration of the same work for participation in the international New Blood competition.


What is the added value of the New Talent Award compared to its predecessor, the Michel Leën Award?

At the time, we were looking for ways to connect with young people. They no longer knew who Michel Leën was and what he stood for. In addition, there was only one single briefing for the Michel Leën Award, which was not in line with the ambition to broaden our horizon and to look beyond copy and AD talents. The New Talent Award is an immediate and international validation of our Belgian talent. We encourage our students to work at the highest level because we believe our small country has enough emerging talent to compete on this level. Winners of a D&AD New Blood Pencil are invited to apply for an exclusive and intensive two-week bootcamp in London sponsored by WPP. Since the start of our collaboration, a Belgian team has been awarded in London every year; so Belgium is represented on stage in London, alongside England, Australia, Japan, USA, etc.


Which feedback do you usually get from the participants?

Students find the level of the briefings very interesting. This year, brands such as Burger King, Google, BBC and Nike have launched a briefing, these are names that appeal. Furthermore, the mentorship program that Creative Belgium coordinates is also greatly appreciated by both students and teachers. We connect students with a professional from the Belgian advertising scene to challenge their work and to push them to get the most out of their idea. The experience of visiting a creative agency and getting professional feedback on their work is valuable. Both the quality of the briefings and the mentorship program are the main reasons why several schools have integrated this competition into their curriculum for several years.
Participants also find the potential return attractive: a free ticket for the Creative Belgium Awards ceremony in Knokke and a place on stage, publication in the yearbook of Creative Belgium (The Book), a place on stage at the international New Blood Ceremony in London and the chance to apply for the New Blood Academy. Winning not only means a nice addition to the portfolio of the students, it is also a great kick start of their career.


Roxane, why did this competition appeal to you?

The fact that you get the chance to work for all those great brands, going through their briefings prepared by experienced strategists. It is almost a luxury to be able to work on this as a creative. I remember the moment when Jannis and I had put all the briefings on the table and had the difficult task of choosing one out of all those briefings.


What is the main difficulty of this type of exercise?

For me, the hardest part was knowing when you had found the idea. You know that there are hundreds, thousands of other young talents working on the same briefing that you are working on. So you do feel a certain pressure to find an idea that no one else is thinking about. But that pressure also helps you to think further and to push yourself.


Do you have any tips for future participants?

The first advice I can give is: choose your brief wisely. Do not immediately go for the best and most popular brand, like lots of students do. Also look closely at the other briefings.
And then: Keep digging. Keep digging. Keep digging. Don't stop at the first ideas. Continue. Leave it for a day and then get back at it. Look for links that are unique and surprising. After a hard day of judging, you want the jury to remember and recall your idea.


What did this experience actually bring for you?

I have taken a lot from this experience. The level of the briefings that you can work on as a young creative. The pressure to find the idea and go for it 100%. I recommend it to every young creative. Even if it is just to make your mind explode when you read all those briefings for the first time.