The Advertising Club of New York has named Australian-born designer Nelson Rayner its Google Young Innovator Award and $5000 prize recipient. The contest asked creatives under 30 to post their ideas using Google tools including Docs, YouTube, etc. to share with the Google+ community who, in turn, responded to their favorites. The projects with the most +1's were made finalists and a winner was selected by a panel of distinguished members of the marketing communications industry. Rayner, a freelancer and former Colenso BBDO junior digital creative, beat out the competition with his Donate Your Desktop application.
When users download the app onto their computers, they effectively rent out their desktop background to advertisers, and 75% of the revenue from ad placements will then go to charities of their choice, including Amnesty International, Oxfam New Zealand and NZ Breast Cancer Foundation. Mr. Rayner conceived the idea in 2006 at Colenso BBDO, as part of a pitch an agency client deemed too risky. He developed the plan as he considered ways to redirect advertising dollars towards worthy causes. The solution? To create "a media channel… in-turn creating passive donations, and a valuable platform for advertisers to reach a specific audience," he explained. In 2012 he officially launched Donate Your Desktop and the organization is looking to expand to Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom next. Rayner is on location in London and canvasing different markets in preparation for the launch. In fact, the cash prize he won is going into savings for just that reason, "The UK is an expensive place to live," he said.
The twenty-eight-year-old creative has come a long way since 2006 when was marched out of Ogilvy & Mather New Zealand by the group CEO. The man thought he was a vagrant in the building --not an outrageous mistake given that Rayner -- then a spatial designer at an architectural firm -- donned an old suit, sported smudges of engine oil and carried a sign that said "Will Work for Food." Only those who examined him carefully saw that his sign was actually a link to his design portfolio willworkforfood.co.nz. Despite the unceremonious exit, Ogilvy offered him an internship that morning. But he pulled the same stunt at Saatchi & Saatchi, Y&R and Colenso BBDO before finally settling on the latter. From there he became a junior digital creative.
Also, check out the runners up for the Google Young Innovator Award: