‘Mad Things’ and ‘White Dad Adoption Drive’ named joint winners of Destroy This Brief comp

‘Mad Things’ and ‘White Dad Adoption Drive’ named joint winners of Destroy This Brief comp

The Only One In The Room collective has announced an episodic series and a provocative mentorship scheme as the top ideas in its industry diversity challenge.


Following an extensive judging process, the global jury of advertising luminaries have awarded joint winners of the inaugural Destroy this Brief competition, Anneliese Sullivan and Melle Brandson’s ‘Mad Things’ and BMF associate creative director Rees Steel’s ‘White Dad Adoption Drive’.

Mad Things is an episodic web series described by Sullivan and Branson as “Mad Men x the wit of Succession x the style and heart of The Devil Wears Prada” aims to shift perceptions of advertising in pop culture and ultimately, attract the right talent.

White Dad Adoption Drive, which judge Cindy Gallop described as “nepotism for good”, aims to match young diverse talent with senior ad people to give them the professional, practical, and financial help they would give their own kids.

Talking about the ideal ‘Ad Dad’, Steel says: “Like a real Dad, he’s got to open not only his heart, but his wallet, his home and his rolodex.”

The Only One In The Room collective will commence scoping out and facilitating the ideas immediately. Interested ‘White Dads’ and production partners should contact the team here: www.onlyoneintheroom.co/contact.

The global jury were impressed by the quality of the entries and inspired by the passion with which the industry has embraced the challenge. And while the joint winners have been announced, all shortlisted ideas will be shared in the coming weeks on the Only One In The Room website, with the entrants, industry peers and agencies encouraged to bring them to life.

Says Sunita Gloster, non-executive director and advisor at Gloster Advisory: “It’s trite to say that all the finalists were worthy winners. The reality is that one winner will not drive the change the industry wants to see on cultural diversity. Real change needs to see the leadership that backed all 6 industry finalists make each one a reality. That’d show this wasn’t just a pursuit of an award. Who’s up for that?”

Says Greg Hahn, CCO and co-founder of Mischief USA: “I was blown away by the depth of thinking and the inventiveness of the top entries. They all went beneath the surface of the brief and found impactful ways to attack “the problem beneath the problem”. The top two came at it from opposite ends. “Mad Things” approached from the bottom up. Inspiring diverse talent to join the industry through media. White Dads approached it from the top down, using mentorship in a way that was provocative and unignorable. I left this experience feeling pretty hopeful about the industry’s future.”

Says Jonathan Mildenhall, former Airbnb and Coke CMO, founder TwentyFirstCenturyBrand: “This challenge is as old as the industry itself and I’m delighted to see that the winning campaign ideas are as old as humankind itself. With ‘White Dads’ we lean into proactive and accountable mentorship. And with ‘Mad Things’ we lean into storytelling. With excellence in mentorship and storytelling we might, just might, change the industry for good. It’s about damn time.”

Says Cindy Gallop, founder & CEO MakeLoveNotPorn and diversity advocate: “I was blown away by the creativity exhibited by all of the finalists – a demonstration that our industry really can apply what we are brilliant at, to changing ourselves. I cannot wait to watch ‘Mad Things’, and I look forward to seeing the White Dads of the Australian ad industry stepping up to exercise nepotism for good, to turbocharge the rise of diverse talent through the ranks.”

Says Terry Savage, The Marketing Academy and London International Awards global chair: “I thought all of the ideas were good, and I say to the winners execute them and I say to those that did not win, execute them, because this is not about just winning, it is about changing perceptions and embracing diversity.”

Says Faycal Ben Abdellaziz, head of group brand, NAB: “Thrilled to have been part of the inaugural Destroy This Brief judging panel, and to be inspired by the diversity, quality and creativity of submissions to tackle the ‘diversity challenge’. It gives me hope that real change can be made by continuing to embrace diversity of thought, elevating underrepresented voices and bringing those different types of lived experience to the table in our creative industry.”