The D&AD White Pencil, an award that highlights excellent creative ideas with a social purpose — now in its third year — is the world’s top prize for design, advertising or digital work that addresses key social, political or ethical issues.
In order to demonstrate its increasing commitment to supporting positive change through creativity, D&AD is now collaborating with The International Exchange (TIE) — a leadership development programme that combines the expertise within agencies and studios with the needs of NGOs to create positive, sustainable change — to offer two TIE placements to this year’s White Pencil nominees.
D&AD, a British non-profit that promotes excellence in design and advertising, founded the White Pencil award in 2012 with the support of Unilever, as part of a long-term partnership offering “a programme of educational activities to get people talking, joining in and taking action to really make a difference,” according to D&AD. The 2013 award went to U.S. agency Droga5 for its 'Help I Want to Save a Life' campaign.
Tim Lindsay, CEO of D&AD, said: “Our responsibility is to help agencies, studios and individuals to understand and get involved in more sustainable ways of doing business. To encourage a movement that puts corporate social responsibility at the cornerstone of all corporate growth plans and that makes ethical business behaviour the norm, not the exception.
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“Ahead of the curve, as they so often are, Unilever liked this and now generously sponsor the White Pencil and through their support we’ve been able to collaborate with TIE to help push the White Pencil agenda forward.”
TIE takes talented communications leaders and enables them to find further inspiration and broaden their impact by sharing their experience and skills in areas of urgent need:
LB Change is a collective dedicated to making powerful communications with positive social impact, and this initiative led to Leo Burnett Worldwide entering the inaugural White Pencil challenge in 2012 and winning, with “Recipeace” by Leo Burnett Chicago.
Philippa White, founder and managing director of TIE, said, “By collaborating with D&AD, our reach around the world will be that much bigger, and the skill sets offered that much more diverse. We’ll not only be helping many more NGOs and communities around the world with our powerful communications skills, but together we’ll also be enabling more talented communication leaders to learn and grow from the experience of sharing their skills with the emerging world.
“The more TIE placements that take place, the more our industry will start to change from the core. Our industry will be made to stand for more and we’ll all feel even prouder of our chosen profession. Here’s to a very exciting collaboration.”
All nominees for this year's White Pencil will have the chance to apply for a TIE placement of up to 30 days. According to TIE, winners could, for example, find themselves in Brazil, working with Action Aid to raise awareness of the sexual exploitation and help break the cycle of poverty of women; in Malawi, working with local indigenous organization LICO, to create communication materials to support their educational work and consciousness building around HIV; or in Ghana, working to raise awareness of The Golden Baobab Prize, which addresses the issue of insufficent quality children's books in Africa by discovering, nurturing and celebrating promising writers of African children's literature. Hear stories of those who've previously been on a placement.
Placements will run from mid-to-late 2014.
“The opportunity for change is huge, both abroad, but also back at home,” White said. “On the back of the TIE placements, more commercially sustainable ways to fix problems will be discovered and the industry will be better placed to know how to grow business by doing the right thing.
Now merged with the D&AD Awards (now in its 52nd year) and split into two categories — advertising and design — the White Pencil is about encouraging and rewarding brands and their agencies, who are looking to grow those brands and businesses in a way that benefits everyone involved, Lindsay said.
"And if everyone — consumer, supplier, retailer, employee and employer — benefits, then the motivation becomes irrelevant,” the CEO added. “In the end, everyone will have to join in or see their business diminish and eventually disappear.”
D&AD is calling on international creatives to rise to the challenge of achieving a White Pencil. Entries must demonstrate real positive social impact, the capacity to change behaviour and a sensitivity to sustainability issues across research, development and implementation. Work entered must have been commercially released in 2013 and been produced in genuine response to a client brief. Enter your work for either category of the White Pencil — Advertising or Design — by January 29, 2014.