View from the Jury: Nick Law

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For the next four days the future will flash before my eyes. I'm on the Titanium and Integrated Lions Jury, and as our sage leader Mark Tutssel has suggested, this lustrous little trophy is a glimpse into our industry's future. However, it's a fleeting and imprecise glimpse, not a long cold stare. Fixing your eyes on a future that keeps shifting, multiplying and blurring is a challenge even for those with 20/20 vision.

R/GA's Nick Law
R/GA's Nick Law
People are excited and anxious about the Titanium because it challenges 50 years of thinking inside predictable formats. Here's 30 seconds of film: Go and put an idea on it. Here's a paper page with four-color printing: Give it meaning. With the Titanium, the winners are not just judged on concept and craft but on context. That context is often a part of the idea, invented by the agency. So before we judge the message, the typography, or the interface we judge the context. Where and how do we interact with it? Is it relevant to us now? Will it be relevant to us tomorrow? The Titanium represents our industry trying to figure out what to keep from the past and what to invent for the future. This is where the excitement turns into anxiety. Everyone is hoping they have the right talent to contribute to this future.

That's why, to get me thinking futurish thoughts, I'm going to dress in a skintight silver jumpsuit and a handsome homemade tin foil hat. This is called "method" judging. It will include referring to our leader as Lord High T of the Leo B Constellation and other jury members by such names as "Ty Martian-Dude Montague" and "Interstellar Andrew Keller." I'll call Jureeporn Thaidumrong "JT", because in the future Jureeporn Thaidumrong will still be really difficult to say. I'll only eat vacuum-sealed alien offal and drink molten isotopes of titanium. In this way my judging decisions will be accurate predictions of the future.

Or not.

By the end of the week, despite the rigor of my method and the jury's collective wisdom, our informed decisions will be met with an equally informed disbelief. Controversy loves Titanium. Predictably the ensuing industry debate will lead to violent sectarianism. People that recognize their own work in the winners will hail the decisions with smugness and a ticket tape parade down Madison Avenue. Those that don't will damn our foolishness and upend buses and set fire to billboards in the great advertising capitals of the world.

And so, to future proof my own talent, I'll be sitting in the Palais des Festivals (fidgeting with the tin foil hat that Ty Montague has crumpled into a ball) sweating in silver, dressed for the future.

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