Keep Chipping Away: why the industry needs The Chip Shop Awards

By Andrew Boulton

January 31, 2013 | 3 min read

There are many jobs far worse than being a creative (as we rather embarrassingly call ourselves).

The man who has to test batteries by putting them on his tongue (that’s the only way they can do it) has a pretty rough time.

Similarly, the people who get paid to tell Tom Cruise he’s brilliant and not in any way a tiny, creepy man must find work equally difficult.

But even in our lovely, stimulating, fulfilling line of work, there comes a time when you need to just, quite frankly, go a bit nuts.

And that is precisely why the Chip Shop Awards are just so darn popular.

And I don’t even have to say that. Those scoundrels at The Drum don’t pay me for my words (occasionally they’ll post me a pork scratching they’ve all been gnawing on but that’s about it).

No, my affection for the Chip Shop Awards is deep and true.

More than any other aspect of the industry, it reflects the true creative mindset. Unshackled from the needs and nervousness of a client, designers and writers are able to demonstrate a boldness that they mostly have to withhold.

The awards also serve as a platform for a degree of subtlety that tends to make some clients both baffled and anxious.

Also, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are the submissions that push the boundaries of taste and language far beyond the stringent limits we generally have to work within.

And even if you’re a delicate flower who blushes and/or seethes at the sight of anything slightly beyond the pale, the Chip Shop Awards is an extraordinary demonstration of the impact unrestrained creativity can have.

Probably most importantly of all, for the past ten years The Chip Shop Awards have provided a major industry platform for people starting out in the business to establish their creative reputation. It rewards vision and originality, while removing the obstacles placed before newcomers to the mainstream awards.

The competition has produced hundreds of pieces of extraordinary work, that otherwise may never have made it out of the dark and terrifying creative recesses of some clever rascal’s mind. And long may it continue to do so.

Right. That should be enough to bag me another gnawed pork scratching. I wonder if Tom Cruise is hiring. Call me Tom, I loved you in ‘The Last Samurai’.


Andrew Boulton is a copywriter at the Together Agency. He would like to make it clear that he most definitely did not love ‘The Last Samurai’.


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