How a 33-year-old showcase can help shape the future
Ahead of tomorrow's New Creators' Showcase, Jess Ringshall, Chief Production Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi London, discuses both the legacy of the event as well as it's impact on the way forward for new talent, and why evolution - especially of the traditional bid process - needs to be on the agenda.
Tomorrow we’ll be unveiling the 33rd edition of the Saatchi & Saatchi’s New Creators’ Showcase (formerly the New Directors’ Showcase) at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
The Showcase debuted back in 1991 - before many of those working in this industry were even born. Those of us who are longer-in-the-tooth here at Saatchi & Saatchi - and I’d wager, across adland - grew up with the Showcase representing a flagship moment in the Cannes schedule.
[The NCS has] been an invaluable resource for the production world - kicking off the careers of the likes of Jonathan Glazer and the Daniels.
It’s also long been an invaluable resource for the production world - kicking off the careers of the likes of Jonathan Glazer and stars of this year's Oscars, the DANIELS - and it remains one of the go-to places to find new and exciting talent for briefs across the year.
Advertising is rich with opportunity for visual creators, and offers a far higher volume of briefs - and, crucially, commercial jobs - than film or TV. It’s undoubtedly the reason that so many directors are working concurrently in advertising and film or TV, and that cross-pollination of experience and creativity is a brilliant thing.
Above: The New Creator Showcase, formerly the New Directors' Showcase, feature directors such as Jonathan Glazer and The DANIELS [Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan] early in their careers.
As custodians of such an iconic piece of adland IP, one which continues to shape culture through the talent it unearths, we feel a weighty responsibility to ensure it moves with the times. It’s on us to focus the showcase’s lens to the places and platforms where the very best emerging talent are showing up, and to ensure that the showcase is as diverse and inclusive as the world we want to represent through our future creative work.
In production, the traditional bid process is increasingly competitive and expensive and, despite our best efforts, not serving new directors well.
In order to do this effectively, we’ve had to be honest about the issues still facing emerging creators’ across every discipline. And, crucially, the responsibility agencies like ours have to make this industry a better place for everyone. Sometimes that means confronting uncomfortable truths, identifying outdated practices that have become part of the furniture, and ensuring that we are doing all we can to invest in the next generation of creative talent by hiring them.
In production, the traditional bid process is increasingly competitive and expensive and, despite our best efforts, not serving new directors well. While there’s been improvements in diversifying our shortlists to include more new and varied creators, there’s still a lot of work to do to create a truly fair playing field. The solution isn’t straight forward so I’m not going to pretend we have the answer but, for me, one immediate focus needs to fall on evolving the traditional triple-bid format.
Above: The triple bid process had become "increasingly competitive and expensive" and isn't serving new directors well.
It’s the role of agency partners to help clients see the value in hiring talent beyond the safe and familiar names, new talent who can so often bring specific, nuanced and learned insights to a brief. This is something we’ll be doubling down on this year as we find new ways to support the creators we spotlight in our showcase in a longer term and commercial way.
It’s the role of agency partners to help clients see the value in hiring talent beyond the safe and familiar names.
Because there’s no arguing with the fact that the best way to support new creators is to help them get hired. That’s why we’re part of the Unsigned Union, why we support initiatives like the Shiny Awards and the UK Creative Festival, and why we evolved New Creators’ Showcase to launch NCS Music last year.
The same logic applies to our own talent; it’s imperative that we ensure a steady pipeline of creative talent comes into the industry in the future and, to do that, there’s a big job to tackle with entry level careers and creative education in schools. That’s why we founded Upriser last year, an open source, nationwide creative schools programme which partners schools with creative businesses such as ITV to inject real knowledge and understanding of the power of creativity straight into the next generation.