running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

Another Young Spark

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

On Friday I was lucky enough to attend the 2009 DMA (Direct Marketing Association) Ball. It's held annually at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh and is a class event where the good and the great from the direct marketing & advertising world come together to celebrate their industry.

And for the last five years it has also hosted the premier award for upcoming marketeers, the Young Spark Award. Apparently entries for this year's Young Spark competition were up 64% on last year. Which is no surprise to me - the award is rapidly gaining the sort of kudos that great events always seem to garner.

This year, in one of the most hotly-contested finals since the awards started in 2005, Roxanne Messenger, a Creative Art Director from Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw, held off challenges from co-finalists Renee Heath of WMpS and Sophie Slowe of Targetbase Claydon Heeley. It was great to see a creative picking up the accolade, and despite being blown away by the whole thing, when I spoke to her she was already talking about flying back down to London on Sunday to prepare for a 9am pitch on Monday morning!

If it sounds like I'm keen on the event, its because the Young Spark Award was launched in Scotland in memory of John Young, the former WWAV Rapp Collins Edinburgh managing director, who passed away in 2005. John had been Joint MD at Claydon Heeley, and had headed their Beijing operation during the late 1990's, before a stint at Wundermann in Amsterdam. He also happened to be a very close friend of mine, who died way before his time, at just 38 years.

I hear that the award is moving to London next year. I'm not sure if it's a permanent arrangement, but I think John would have liked the idea, so long as the award keeps ties with its roots. And in that way, it sets things up for a sort of homecoming further down the line.

'Messenger Crowned Young Spark' - the Drum.
'Young Spark Winner' - Marketing Direct Magazine.