Notes from the Jury: Menno Kluin
By Alixandra Rutnik Posted on Jun 04, 2020
“If you win a pencil, you truly now belong to that top select group of people with creative excellence in their DNA.”
Judging for The One Show 2020 and the ADC 99th Annual Awards was just about to begin, with hundreds of creatives from all across the globe coming to New York and Puerto Rico for several weeks of deciding the most Pencil and Cube-worthy work of the past year.
COVID-19 had other plans.
Never ones to be deterred, we at The One Club for Creativity quickly put together a course of action that allowed for the majority of the submissions to be debated and discussed online, while a small group of New York-based creatives viewed work in person. Our goal has been to maintain the integrity of our two main awards while erring on the side of safety, and our phenomenal judges have been more than accommodating.
Each year, we like to share some of the judges' views coming out of the various jury rooms. This year, however, those rooms are virtual.
Menno Kluin, Chief Creative Officer at 360i shares his thoughts on judging the Interactive & Online / Mobile / Digital Craft discipline for The One Show 2020, talks about the future of the creative industry, and gives some powerful insight to aspiring creatives.
This year you were on the jury for Interactive & Online / Mobile / Digital Craft– is there a particular piece of work you judged that stands out in your mind?
This year had a lot of great work, and I personally loved seeing agencies bringing craft and design to technology like “Lessons in HerStory” from Goodby. Tech without craft and humanity lacks compelling storytelling and can be easily dismissed. I also enjoyed "The #UNIGNORABLE Tower" for United Way. AR has been around for a while now and it feels like we are finally getting to idea based executions that are expressed in captivating ways. This project is a big step forward for the AR category as a whole. Congrats to the team that developed this campaign, it’s something to be proud of.
Lessons in Herstory
Goodby Silverstein & Partners / San Francisco + GS&P Social / San Francisco + GS&P Labs / Santa Rosa + Elevel / San Francisco
Daughters of the Evolution
2020 Experiential Design: Digital Experiences / Augmented / Mixed Reality
The #UNIGNORABLE Tower
TAXI / Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver/New York + United Way / Toronto
2020 Experiential Design: Experiential Design / Placemaking
What do you think it takes to win a One Show Pencil and what do you think it means to a creative?
It takes just one person on the jury to be passionate about your project. They advocate for it vigorously– that is the best part of judging. It’s fun to stand up for somebody else’s excellence– to dig into their project and figure out why its better than others. It’s rare to have a moment that genuinely figures out the why and what, and these jury sessions almost force you to reflect and dig in to decode excellence. For someone to stand up for it and attach their credibility, it needs to be a project that is flawlessly executed and stands out.
Winning a pencil is the confirmation that you belong and can play with an elite group of creatives on a global scale. Creativity is about expressing yourself and that comes with confidence and believing in your ideas. A strong belief is that your idea is excellent and you have the right skills to execute against it, which is not always easy. Years ago, Juan Cabral at Fallon London did some of the best work in the world almost all by himself. The work was in a singular voice. The creative was more distinct. It was unique and unbelievably good as it was just an expression of one person’s vision rather than a compromise of many.
“If you win a pencil, you can feel good that no other factors were at play to get the recognition. You truly now belong to that top select group of people with creative excellence in their DNA.”
One Show is a pure celebration of the work. The judging is done with strict tone guidelines as not to initiate a climate of politics and fear. It doesn’t lead to bitterness or games. It’s all about the work. If you win a pencil, you can feel good that no other factors were at play to get the recognition. You truly now belong to that top select group of people with creative excellence in their DNA.
How are you and your team at 360i coping in the current environment?
I miss being in an office. I miss shooting the shit over lunch and seeing all of my friends and colleagues. I am glad we are out of the initial anxious phase of this pandemic. I was early about being concerned about coronavirus because I was closely tracking what was happening in Europe because of my family. Now that many European countries are reopening, it’s giving me confidence and hope that the tides are turning also for the US. The team has been incredibly strong and resilient despite all the ups and downs.
“Time and money are always needed to deliver on the highest level. If there is less money, you need more time. If there is less time, then you need more money. The lack of both is where things get tricky.”
Resourcing has been challenging. There are tighter systems and scopes. We are trying to deliver the highest quality we can, considering the restraints, which is tough. Time and money are always needed to deliver on the highest level. If there is less money, you need more time. If there is less time, then you need more money. The lack of both is where things get tricky. The current countermeasure is that we are implementing an even more unambiguous vision from the creative leads upfront and aligning the client to that early on. This way, there is less exploration, but more time upgrading a pre-determined path, which has been working so far. Other than that, I personally struggle to get groceries in between all the Zoom calls.
Do you think the covid-crisis will change the type of creative being made?
Ideas will be ideas. Being able to deliver the best ideas in different and exciting ways will remain the same. The channels and types of ideas will continue to morph, but that is inherent to an industry that is trying to be relevant and current. Our company motto is "we help brands capitalize on change," so the ability to adapt and evolve is in our DNA. COVID-19 has accelerated some things, like clients leaning more into tech to deliver meaningful relationships with their consumers.
How might this experience impact how agencies work in the future?
Currently, for our creative department, the main goal is to return to normal as soon as there is a safe work environment. I am a firm believer in teams working together in an office, collaborating, discussing, brainstorming, and putting up ideas on the walls. This experience has just shown all of us that agencies now have even more options on determining how to get the work done as well as make their own choices on culture and work environment. In the end, creatives benefit as they can pick what works for their lives, ambitions, and goals.
What advice can you give a junior-level creative who’s trying to manage this time?
Focus on the work, and if you don't have anything to do at the moment, use the time to keep learning new skills. That's what I am doing. I’ve taken it on myself to master something that wasn't around when I was an art director. Maybe before all of this is over, I'll take up another challenge to dust off my creative skills. Just because you finished school, doesn't mean the learning needs to stop. Keep upgrading your portfolio, keep coming up with ideas, and keep putting yourself out there. Try giving yourself a goal and stick to it. Once some sort of normalcy returns, you will have an advantage over everyone else.
“Just because you finished school, doesn't mean the learning needs to stop.”
How are you staying inspired?
With my learning mission comes exploring new areas like YouTube tutorials, books, and downloading new stuff. I am trying to explore as many new skill sets as I can during this work from home time. I'll continue to challenge myself, continue to understand what the creative teams are going through, and continue to focus on something that brings me forward rather than staying stagnant.
The WINNERS of The One Show will be unveiled online on June 17–18.