Chip Shops judge Simon Elliott: the acceptance of mediocrity is the greatest barrier to creativity today

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

February 15, 2012 | 3 min read

Rose co-founder Simon Elliott tells The Drum why he won't be settling for mediocrity when he judges this year's Chip Shop Awards - the international creative awards scheme with no limits or rules.

Why do you think events like the Chip Shop Awards are important?

Unlike many other awards I've judged, the Chip Shop Awards are unique in their criteria. They reward pure creative thinking and execution, regardless of commercial context or constraints. Whilst some might argue this makes them less relevant than those awards which reward work which has achieved its commercial goals, I think they provide an important channel or outlet to present those ideas which might have seen the light of day had the client been a bit braver or prepared to take greater risks. They're also refreshing in that they don't take themselves too seriously.

What do you think makes the ultimate Chip Shop Awards ad?

The ultimate Chip Shop Awards project - whether it be an ad or corporate identity - should expose a brilliant opportunity missed, or perhaps waiting to happen. A piece of work which could really connect with its intended audience in an emotive way. Stop people in their tracks, or make them think differently about the brand it's communicating.

What criteria will you apply on the judging panel?

I'll be looking for all of the above. Work which displays real passion and commitment to brilliant thinking and ideas, no matter how big or small, and without the constraints of budgets, schedules, practicality or feasibility. Work which pushes boundaries, channels and media. Work you'd love to see in the public domain to really fire-up audiences who are becoming increasingly numb to mediocre, anodyne or just plain lazy creative solutions.

What’s the greatest barrier to creativity today?

The acceptance of mediocrity. By audiences, clients, and worst of all, the creative communities responsible for creating and producing the work, bought by and sold to the former. A lot of agencies and studios hide behind the excuse that the climate has made clients more cautious and budgets smaller. There's no denying this is as an observation we can all relate to. But history has demonstrated that some of the most creative work has been produced in the most difficult of times. So we need to apply our creativity in different ways, to demonstrate the value we add to clients and their businesses when times are tough.

The Chip Shop Awards are open for entries until 16 March. For more details and to submit your entry visit the Chip Shop Awards website.

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