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The Drum Roses Awards: Digitas's Emma De La Fosse on the Scottish Government's drug driving ads

The Scottish Government’s drug driving campaign ‘Drive Like your Gran is in the Car’ has been described as ‘single minded’ and ‘edgy’ by this year’s The Drum Roses Awards chair as she recognised the work, giving it her personal prize.

Emma De La Fosse, chief creative officer for Digitas UK and chair of this year’s Roses Awards, honoured The Leith Agency‘s campaign for its unexpected approach to a serious campaign for a public sector client.

The series of adverts features a group of young lads whose grans begin to pop out of unusual spaces, delivering truth bombs to their grandsons to improve their road behaviour.

Praising the work, De La Fosse told The Drum that she had repeatedly watched the ads for their humour after finishing judging: “Whenever I judge a piece of work I think about the brief, who was the client, what’s the context? It’s very easy to do great work on trendy, cool brands or for brave clients who have done brave work in the past. However, when you are working on a government campaign, it’s going to be a lot tougher. The whole nature of that organisation is more risk averse. You might not be dealing with people who are likely to have come from creative agency backgrounds, you are dealing with ministers and people who are not likely to think that your wacky idea is quite as brilliant as you do.

She continued to explain another aspect she looks for when judging: “What was the message? It’s very easy when you are doing any sort of public service messaging to start wagging a finger. I’ve worked for government organisations in the past and the tendency is to giving a bit of a lecture… it’s difficult to get very creative work out. Why I liked ‘Drive Like Gran is in the Car’ so much because it was brave work for a government organisation and they used humour. There is a dearth of humour these days and I want to see more funny work that makes us laugh and smile – let’s have a bit of fun, if you want something to resonate, make them laugh and get them to come with you. The scripts were written was brilliant as was the way they were executed.”

De La Fosse said that public sector campaigns must consider their target audiences through both message and execution, but also advocated the use of humour in advertising to really hit home.

“They were single minded, they kept on message and that allowed them to do it with the kind of humour which will engage with the younger target audience.”

De La Fosse offered advice for a creative sector striving to continue to produce good work during the pandemic lockdown: “I really take my hat off to all those creative teams who aren’t able to do that at the moment but are producing amazing ideas. Use whatever technology you need but don’t feel the need to use it… perhaps take the opportunity to take the time of lack of commuting and constant meetings, try and use the time to take in some other stimulus. Read more books, watch more films. Ideas occur in the subconscious but they need something to feed off of – while you have this time at home try and take this time to absorb more material.”

Watch the full interview and the winning advertising campaign in the videos above or check out more of the work at The Drum Rose’s Awards in the Winner’s round up.

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