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Recycled anecdote No. 268: Neil French shows up in New York some years ago to pick up an award for O&M at the Art Directors Club show. I'm chatting with a young AD from Bozell who doesn't recognize him. Neil comes up to say hello (I know all these big shots), I introduce him and the AD immediately drops to his knees and starts bowing, doing the old "I am not worthy" routine. It was kind of funny, or kind of embarrassing, but Neil took it in stride.

How did this nice kid from New York come to prostrate himself before the legendary French? From the annuals, that's how. From the awards shows. Yeah, I know, people don't so much worship awards (or the creatives who win them) as they worship great ads, but the awards are the manifestations of the work, the symbols of that which is good and keen, and they occupy a strange bit of heaven in this industry. We thought that might make for an interesting bit of analysis at the peak of the awards season. (By the way, we put Clio at the center of our cover triptych not out of any favoritism but mostly because it looked the best, although a number of people we spoke to for this story felt the show was coming back.)

The annual One Show student exhibition gave us reason to reassess the current state of ad-ed, particularly in light of the rise of VCU's much admired ad program. We compare the academic programs found at big-campus schools with the Portfolio Center-style academies that continue to crop up, and one conclusion we reached bodes well for the future of the biz: there are more choices for kids than ever before.

Once again we've turned our sights on commercials directors, and we found some real gems to tell you about. First off is Enda McCallion, a foul-mouthed visual stylist from Ireland who we predict will be a big hit here. Then there's Ivan Zacharias, a remarkably young Czech with an even more remarkable body of work, especially given his age. We also have five up-and-comers profiled in one easy to clip-and-save feature, and finally a quick chat with the grand old man himself, Joe Pytka. And we continue to look at key production players, all part of our efforts to acknowledge creative thinkers and doers who play a role in getting good work produced.

And with this we take a summer break-our next issue is not out until July 28.