The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By Dani Gibson, Senior Writer

February 9, 2023 | 6 min read

In the first episode of The Drum's Chair Leaders series, editor-in-chief Gordon Young meets the founder of Here We Go, Louise Sloper, who will be heading up The Roses Awards jury this year.

The Drum Roses Awards is one of our oldest programs, celebrating the great work created outside London’s M25. Chairing the jury this year is Louise Sloper, founder and creative director of the Here We Go agency.

Having trained as a typographer and become interested in branding when working as head of design and art at a number of leading ad agencies, Sloper has now amassed more than 20 years in the industry. She's a former judge of the Roses and is also one of the first female chairs in more than 30 years of the creative organization Typo Circle.

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Sloper sat down with our editor-in-chief to talk about her hopes for this year’s entries, the purpose-led creative leading advertising and how the Scottish Government's potential ban on alcohol marketing will affect the creative industry.

'The jury room fell silent'

Purposeful campaigns were a hallmark of 2022's Roses-winning work. Take the Chair Award for example, ‘That’ Guy’, created by Stand for Police Scotland. According to Sloper, the film was so impactful it reduced the jury room to silence.

“It's a very difficult conversation to have even in a relatively safe space,” she explains to Young. “It's an important conversation to be having and was done in a powerful way. The build-up from that sort of softness, drawing you into the conversation, to a suddenly much darker message unfolding as it goes along.

"They didn’t brand it as Police Scotland either which is an interesting perspective. We felt very strongly that it was creating conversation, and maybe you trusted it a little bit more, and you're more inclined to listen to the film. It was clever which is a testament to the overall art direction and concept that allowed it to win.”

Trends to watch in 2023

Sloper is expecting to see maturing technologies – like AI and gaming – feature heavily this awards season. But she also hopes some of advertising's lost arts will make a comeback in the work this year.

"Humor will also play a strong part. It's something that we sorely need,” she says. “And we're going to see quite a lot of work with some form of humor."

And finally, if your craft is in typography, “lead pieces are likely going to be a big thing,” she concludes. “As well as more purpose-driven pieces of work. There have been some beautiful pieces of work that have come out this year, that I'm highly expecting to be entered. And I would love to see.”

Could regulation curtail creativity?

The work entered into the Roses Awards represents the pride of local industries across the length and breadth of the UK. Given the preponderance of great beer and spirits brands outside London, alcohol advertising and branding has always enjoyed a strong showing in previous years' awards.

But could that now be in danger?

The Scottish Government is running a consultation which could result in an effective ban of alcohol advertising in the home of whisky. The move has been described by one Scottish agency boss as akin to 'creative prohibition', and Sloper agrees that it could deprive the UK's creative talents of some of their best briefs.

“There is an ethical issue here. Just like smoking and cigarettes, we had some of the best advertising that was ever done in this field. And that's all now been lost. I’ll be curious to see the impact that this is going to have if it does happen, and whether it will just be in Scotland or UK-wide, eventually, it'd be interesting to see if it does happen in the other nations.”

As it stands, the work in the Roses represents both the increasing prominence of health and wellness campaigning and the promotion of some of the region's greatest exports. In 2022, Johnnie Walker and its agency, Made Brave won in the Leisure, Travel, and Tourism category for the whisky giant's new eight-floor visitor experience in Princes Street, Edinburgh. If the ban on alcohol advertising goes ahead in Scotland, many experiences like this will disappear.

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The Drum Roses Awards are now open for entry. Submit your award-winning work before Thursday, February 23, for an early bird discount.

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