Tim Lindsay: Awarding creative excellence in advertising

CEO of advertising and design awards show D&AD, Tim Lindsay, explains what he thinks gives agencies that winning edge.

“I’m a reconstructed advertising dinosaur and I’ve enjoyed a fantastic career.”

Tim Lindsay became CEO of D&AD, the advertising and design awards show and education charity, in September 2011. Their famed Pencil and Black Pencil awards, according to Lindsay, are still the most desirable in the industry.

“It’s 54 years of work that defines it; it is the stuff that has won. Each new jury looks at the past and says ‘Right! We are going to be as tough as them if not tougher!’ And that’s how you maintain the standard.”

The criteria for the awards are “beautiful idea, brilliantly executed”, and thus the craft is more valued than in other award shows.

If you have a great idea but it looks shit, it won't win at D&AD.

Lindsay maintains that advertising agencies need clarity of purpose and clarity of process in order to free up their creatives to do their best work. He also believes that ad agencies take fewer risks now than they used to.

“Advertising is at its best when it is leading, not just doing what it is told. Clients used to look to be surprised and scared by their agencies recommendations, and that was exciting! And I think that is less the case now.”

Even so, Lindsay remains optimistic about the industry, claiming that we are heading to a place where profit and sustainability will meet and where the only way to make money will be to do the right thing.