Dope, Cool and LIT: Jimmy Smith Introduces The One Show’s Cultural Driver Award
This week the One Club announced the Cultural Driver Award – a new category to premiere at the 44th Annual One Show Awards in May.
Celebrating influential ideas and executions that have had a noticeable impact on pop culture, the new award was devised to transcend the traditional categories in advertising and design, and recognise a broader spectrum of entrants.
We caught up with the driving force behind this addition – Jimmy Smith, Chairman, CEO, and CCO of Amusement Park Entertainment LA, and One Club Board member, to find out more about the award, the criteria, and what he hopes will be achieved.
Q> Why do you give your time to being a board member?
JS> I participate primarily because it’s the One Club. When I was in college and I discovered the One Show annual, I was mesmerised and wanted to be in the book, and be involved with those people. The board, the judges, the creatives… all of those people!
So, when the One Club asked me to be on the board in 2009, it was like heaven. Who wouldn’t? Now that I’m a member of the board, and know many of the judges and the creatives, it’s about maintaining that connection, plus, helping others to break the colour barrier in advertising.
Q> What first inspired you to create a new category?
JS> Kevin Swanepoel, CEO of the One Club. He was my inspiration, and it was actually his idea!
I was frustrated that many, many dope ideas were being overlooked, because those ideas didn’t fit the traditional narrative of what an award-winning idea was supposed to be. So, I let Kevin know how I was feeling, and immediately after I was finished talking, he goes, “Jimmy, why don’t we create a new category?!”
Q> What is the process for submitting a new category?
JS> You have to present your idea to the board,and structure it in way that gets the board excited. We (the board), along with Kevin, discuss the merits of the idea. And then we vote!
Q>Why is it important to add this new award to the One Show?
JS> It’s important because the One Club prides itself on being a forward thinking and looking organisation. And it’s apparent from all of the good it does for the advertising community, whether it’s the Creative Boot Camps, Creative Leaders Retreats, Young Ones and Here Are All The Black People. So, the One Club puts its money where its mouth is. That’s why it’s important to do an award like this.
It’s not called the One White Club. It’s one club for Black, White, Brown, Yellow and Red creatives.
Q> Did you have any particular work or creative idea in mind when you first thought of the new category?
JS> Yep, the work of creatives outside and inside of advertising have been overlooked since the dawn of awards shows.
It’s not just a problem for the world of advertising. For instance, Diana Ross, Public Enemy, Guns N’ Roses, Snoop Dogg,Talking Heads, Tupac, The Who, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Nas, Jimi Hendrix, the Jackson 5, Iggy Pop and Run D.M.C. have never won a Grammy.
As for advertising, Jim Riswold’s classics for Nike- Hello World (Tiger Woods) and Mars Blackmon/Michael Jordan never won a One Show Gold pencil. Ditto for Stacy Wall’s Lil’ Penny, not to mention, Nike Freestyle, which was created by Hal Curtis, Tim Hanrahan and myself.
Q>Have there been instances where you felt work was undervalued due to a lack of this type of category?
JS> Of course, happens every year. I was on a jury where I had to fight for a Grammy’s campaign that featured Kendrick Lamar. It was called Compton.
Q>Under this new category the work can ‘transcend the traditional categories in advertising and design’ – what does this mean?
JS> All of the work that I mentioned above, at the time, transcended the traditional categories of advertising. If the judges don’t know what to do with nor how to judge what they’re looking at, then it follows that that work transcends whatever category they’re judging,particularly if those same judges, years later, admit that they overlooked the types of work I mentioned earlier.
We’re the One Club. We’re unique. Our goal is NOT to miss anything.
Q>Is there any other criteria for this category?
JS> Some of my colleagues hate when I say it, but the work just needs to be cool, dope and LIT.
And if you don’t know what those three words mean,you better ask somebody. Because I’ll tell you what, pretty soon you’re going to be hearing about who the judges are, and those cats will know EXACTLY what those three words mean. And they’ll need that knowledge when judging the work.
These judges will be from the worlds of music,sports, Hollywood and fashion, as well as, advertising. They’ll be white, black and every hue in between.
Q>Do you think this category widens the scope of entrants?
JS> Absolutely, I know folks who don’t enter their work in the awards shows, because they believe the judges won’t get it. Well, that excuse has just been removed. Let’s get up!
Q> Ultimately – what do you hope to achieve by the introduction of this category?
JS> That in the year 2020, we look back and say, “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn, we got it right!”