John McPartland has written a series of blogs documenting his time at the LIA Creative LIAision in Las Vegas. In his third blog about the event, John describes what it was like sitting in on the Non-Traditional Jury

Entering work into awards shows you are always wondering what it takes to win. How important is the case study? Do results matter?  Is the idea simple enough? Day 3 was a chance to see behind the curtain, to sit and listen in as judges debate what work is worthy of some serious metal.

Sitting in on the Non-Traditional jury was an eye opener, to stand out in the industry you need to do something seriously different, this category was full of that.

Led by Khai Tham Meng the jury worked their way through some of the best work in the world, and each entry was put to the test. Ideas that weren’t truly original were left behind, a line in a case film could help move an entry up or down and choosing the right category is crutial.

There were some stand out pieces of work that didn’t require much debate though. The Palau Pledge was one of those ideas that is so simple and pure that there isn’t much to argue against. A simple stamp, placed in a passport, that makes people change their behaviour towards the environment and holds them responsible. Brilliant. C21 for the National Down Syndrome Society was another inspiring piece. How do you convince a set of law makers that people with Down Syndrome should be allowed to work? You let them experience what they can really do when given the chance. Both pieces flew through.

Others were debated more, the trend was becoming apparent. The more complex an idea, the more it was discussed. If the idea is not simple enough then it can open up so many more uncomfortable conversations.

Once all of the work was awarded, it was time for the big discussion. Which piece was worthy of the Grand Prix. One piece that stands out above all else. It was an intense discussion with arguments being made for many pieces.

Towards the end one topic was brought up that has been debated for the past few years, consumer work vs charity and NGO work. More and more ‘for good’ campaigns have been cleaning up at shows, most notably last year was Fearless Girl. A campaign that inspired millions through the simple use of a statue. But was this trend having a negative effect on the industry. As more and more brands are moving into the space of ‘for good’ campaigns it can be seen as people exploiting these forms of advertising to win awards. It was an intriguing debate about which direction the industry should head, when the results are out you will see which way this jury chose to go.