David Snellenberg on the value of the Lamps

Amsterdam, 31 January 2018

david snellenberg



Face it. We are living in turbulent times. The world around us is changing in every way possible; politically, culturally, climate-wise. Our industry is under pressure.

Together with everyone at the frontiers of advertising and design, we feel it. We are at crossroads. New players have entered the game. Business models are under pressure. It’s harder for agencies to retain young talent. Many agencies are struggling to prove their value. Technology is changing the paradigms. And let’s not start talking about clients who’ve decided to take matters into their own hands. Creativity, in the way we know it, is changing dramatically.

What does that mean for the Lamps? For over 50 years ADCN has awarded creative work in more or less the same way. You entered your best work and the in one of the categories and we had the professional and members juries review your work. If your work was excellent, you would win a Lamp at a big industry party and, for one night, you were the man (or woman). If you lost, you had a whole year ahead thinking about how to get better and win next year. Is that cycle about to end?

Our big brother Cannes Lions got hit a couple of times last year. The withdrawal of Publicis sent a clear message across the industry. Cannes Lions had to change, which they did, but maybe a bit late. These last couple of years questions were raised about our collective hunt for creativity awards, and this is completely logical if you ask me.

Is the work that’s being entered even real? Did it actually work for the clients and the people or was it just an agency’s PR dream? How do you link creativity and effectiveness? Are most case-movies not just blown-ups without proof? Do our clients even care? Are the Lamps keeping up with the fast-changing context?

These are all valid questions and we have a good answer. Boundless creativity must be stimulated. The shape of creativity may change, but the source is still the same: It’s about the people and companies that dare to pioneer. The people who walk the unbeaten path and speak from their heart deserve our attention. We still have a lot to learn from their ideas, products and services. They motivate and inspire us. And the Lamp, one of the biggest Dutch awards, is a great way to thank them. Fame, attention, and visibility have always been superchargers for innovation.

So what about ADCN? Well, we need to change just like everybody to new realities. Last year we made our first steps. A more structured category system, fewer awards per category, more transparency and clarity in the judging process and a more diverse jury composition. Next to Advertising, Design and Craft awards we are building the Next awards, celebrating next-generation creativity. Next already included Lamps for Impact and Innovation and now also for Experimental and Business Creativity. We want to show that the Lamps are the frontrunners in the world of awards in the Netherlands, always looking for what’s next.

In 2018 and the coming years we will improve our awards program with new events like jury feedback sessions, festivals and exhibitions; extended publications and PR for winning work, and a brand new digital archive and gallery. Our goal is to inspire and unleash your creativity.

Nevertheless, we’re not done. It’s 2018 and in the years to come, we will continue to discuss what’s needed to deal with further change. We’re going to face even bigger changes. And we will continue to discuss our role in the field. We think it’s only healthy for our industry to be disrupted by new competitors, technology and perspectives. Those challenges make the present one of the most exciting times in the history of our industry. We will have to define and redefine our position. And we will get better along the way.

Let’s make this a great year, with a beautiful Awards Show and Lamps for the very best work. And most of all, let’s keep on challenging each other to become better at what we do.

No ego, no fear.

Till we meet again.

David Snellenberg
ADCN President