Countdown to Circus in Sydney next week: CB’s Q&A with Craig Davis, chairman of AWARD

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Craig_Davis-Crop.jpgIn the lead-up to The Communications Council’s Festival of Commercial Creativity ‘Circus’ next week (from February 23-25), CB had a Q&A session with AWARD chairman Craig Davis.

AWARD has been around for a long time, what’s different now?


AWARD has done good work for many years with the show and AWARD School in particular. Many of the people in the industry owe their start to AWARD, myself included. 


We’re still committed to those programs but we want to take AWARD’s creative conversation to a wider audience – clients, media partners, technologists.

Our mission is to champion commercial creativity and we’re very ambitious about it.  We want to build far greater value into being an AWARD member.


What’s changed with the AWARD show?


We’ve made a lot of changes this year.  We have our first international Chairman of Judges, Erik Vervroegen from Goodby’s.  We’ve introduced several new categories including Branded Content, Music Video, Apps and Creative Innovation.  We’re also serious about making design a significant part of the show and have assembled a fantastic jury from the design community. 


The judging is now scheduled in the two weeks that lead up to the show itself so that some of our international judges can contribute to “Circus” and be in town for the night of the show.  And we’ve introduced a Best of Show award for the first time. 


We’ve also been very careful with our jury selection and separated AWARD Committee members from automatically becoming a Chairman of a jury.


That’s plenty of changes for one year.  I’m sure we’ll make some further changes for next year. The industry is not standing still and neither should AWARD.


Tell us about ‘Circus’ and the role of AWARD.


The idea of staging a festival had been mooted by AWARD for a couple of years, but it’s a big undertaking.  One of the advantages of AWARD joining forces with the Australian Federation of Advertisers, the Australian Planning Group and others as the Communications Council is that there’s now the financial muscle and the people to make it actually happen.


“Circus” is shaping up as a great event full of provocation and inspiration. We have fantastic contributors from many and varied backgrounds. They’re going to be a hugely stimulating three days.


What will be some of the ‘Circus’ highlights?


It’s all going to be good and we’ve tried to make sure that every day is different. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Jeff Cole from The Center for the Digital Future, Erik Vervroegen from GSPSF, Josh Spear from Undercurrent, Jose Cabaco from Nike and Agnello Dias from Taproot on day one.  The Battle of Big Thinking has a brilliant line up and some of the ideas I’ve heard for the day are genuinely life and world changing.  And, of course, AWARD night will be brilliant. (CB: Book your tickets here


Who’s supporting ‘Circus’?


The two major sponsors are Google and Fairfax. We’ve got clients confirmed from retail, media, beverage, food & financial services, plus over 35 agencies, more than 35 production companies and 7 media companies so far.


If you don’t have tickets you should get them now. Book your tickets here.


I’ve heard that you’re dropping the price of AWARD membership to only $99 which includes significant discounts on all events and a copy of the annual. 


We’ve decided that AWARD will be far stronger if everyone can afford to be a member and we deliver great value for money.


Full membership is now $99 which entitles you to significant discounts on all events and a copy of the annual. We’re also encouraging clients to join. 


At $99 it means that you’ll pay for the price of membership more than three times over with the discount on a Circus ticket – it’s a no brainer. 


The aim is to make AWARD a loud and clear voice on the value of creativity in business and up the appetite for great creative work.  The more supporters we have, the faster it will happen.


The AWARD Awards presentation event will take place on Friday 25 February at CarriageWorks, in Sydney – the culmination of The Communications Council’s Festival of Commercial Creativity ‘Circus’ from February 23-25.

Tickets are available here now for both the AWARD presentation event and the full ‘Circus’ programme.

Ian is giving away 6 tickets to the AWARD awards to six people willing to accompany him as his special guests. He’s running a series of small challenges on his Facebook page to find those people.