Queenslander Edward King has been crowned Australia’s Top Student at the 2018 AWARD School National Announcement, which was held at Facebook’s Sydney office on Tuesday night.
King (pictured above) beat almost 200 graduates around the country to earn the title and wins a once-in-a-lifetime trip courtesy of sponsor Facebook Australia to the social media giant’s headquarters in San Francisco to train with its creative agency ambassador group.
He was tutored by Ryan Petie (Publicis Worldwide), Kirsten Twigg (Publicis Worldwide) and Lindsay Thompson (Khemistry).
To determine the national winner, AWARD appointed a ‘Super Jury’ comprising eight leading creatives from around the world, who reviewed the state winners’ portfolios in an independent and blind-judging round.
Commenting on the winning portfolio, the judges described the campaign ideas as “exciting”, “insightful” and “unexpected”.
Jeff Goodby, co-chairman and partner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, congratulated King for producing work far more senior than his experience level.
Justine Armour, executive creative director at 72andSunny NYC, said: “This is an exciting book for a first-timer. Several good, simple ideas, clearly expressed.”
Kim Pick, executive creative director at Y&R NZ, said the winner’s Cannes Lions execution “stopped her in her tracks” and that King would be a “great asset in any creative department”.
A total of 200 students across NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia graduated from AWARD School in 2018, with winners selected from each of the five states.
This year, the theme was ‘Big Ideas for a Big Future’, with each student tasked with 10 briefs ranging from experiential and social, to game changer and integrated campaigns.
Victoria’s top student, Phoebe Sloane, was named national winner of the ‘Social Brief’ – an AWARD initiative whereby students develop a campaign idea for Australia’s most deserving social causes. This year, food rescue charity OzHarvest was selected for the initiative.
AWARD committee member and M&C Saatchi Australia chief creative officer Cam Blackley said this year’s top students raised the bar for aspiring creatives.
“I encourage everyone in the creative sector, particularly CDs and ECDs, to look at the top student portfolios and think about how we can further support our next generation, whether it be through mentoring or a graduate opportunity,” he said.
Blackley also thanked the school heads, lecturers and tutors in each state for the unwavering support and dedication throughout the 12 week course. In 2018, a total of 188 industry leaders participated in AWARD School including 94 tutors from 42 agencies.
Facebook’s head of marketing for Australia and New Zealand, Alexandra Sloane, said: “AWARD School brings together the brightest creative minds in our industry, from the most seasoned ECDs, right through to fresh talent.
“Our partnership with AWARD is about strengthening those connections.”