AWARD School Crowns Its Top National Student For 2017

  • AWARD School National Announcement 2017 - Tom Lawrence
  • AWARD School National Announcement 2017 - Tom Lawrence with Esther Clerehan and Wilf Sweetland
  • AWARD School National Announcement 2017 - Tom Lawrence with tutors
  • AWARD School National Announcement 2017 - Tom Lawrence (2)
  • AWARD School National Announcement 2017 - top 5
  • AWARD School National Announcement 2017
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Tom Lawrence from NSW has been named AWARD School’s top Aussie student for 2017 at an event at The Dolphin Hotel in Sydney last night.

Lawrence, co-founder and campaign director of non-profit organisation Proudly Pokies Free, was up against fellow top state students Jackie Elliott (Queensland), Jesse Young (Victoria), Layla Firth (South Australia) and Luke Williams (Western Australia) to win the national title. You can view the work and read about the experiences of each of these AWARD School’s top five students here.

In an AWARD School first, Lawrence won a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York, where he will meet droga5’s David Droga and compare their winning portfolios from AWARD School 1987 and 2017 respectively.

Remarkably, this makes Lawrence the only person in the last 30 years (outside Droga’s family) to see the portfolio that landed the adland veteran his big break at OMON.

To determine the national winner, AWARD appointed a ‘Super Jury’ comprising of 10 leading creatives from around the world, who reviewed each state winner’s portfolio in an independent and blind-judging round.

A total of 187 students across five states, including NSW, QLD, VIC, SA and WA graduated from AWARD School in 2017. Each student received 10 briefs, ranging from experiential and outdoor, to game-changer and integrated campaigns, resulting in close to 2,000 brief submissions nationally.

AWARD chair and Saatchi & Saatchi national chief creative officer Mike Spirkovski said: “With a long and proud history of nurturing and launching the careers of our industry’s most recognisable pioneers, including David Droga, AWARD School remains the most relevant and highly regarded course in Australasia.

“As we celebrate the 2017 graduates tonight, we also reflect on the successes of the creatives and art directors who have walked in their shoes over the last three decades.”

Commenting on Lawrence’s winning portfolio, Spirkovski said: “Creating engaging, effective ideas in a simple scamp is difficult for even the most experienced creative. Kudos to this creative for stripping it all back to what I believe is the reason we are all here in this business – to make great ideas.”

Among the Super Jury comments, one judge said that Lawrence had “Simple ideas that make you smile or think… it made me feel slightly embarrassed that my student book wasn’t this good.”

While another judge said, “Strong conceptual thinking. Sense of humour and wit. Clever, surprising solutions.”

Lawrence said AWARD School was without a doubt the hardest but most rewarding thing he has ever done.

“I am so humbled to have won, and fear for my friends and family who will now have to put up with a lot more of ‘what do you think of this idea?’,” he said.

Lawrence also thanked NSW AWARD School heads Niccola Phillips (M&C Saatchi) and Brendan Willenberg (Clemenger BBDO), along with and his lecturers and tutors, for their commitment, time and support throughout the 12-week intensive course.

He was tutored by Jerome Gaslain, Oskar Westerdal and Rene Schultz from BWM Dentsu, and Karen Ferry and Sarah Parris from Leo Burnett.

Lawrence’s trip to NYC to meet Droga in September has been sponsored by The Sweet Shop and Clerehan Pty. Ltd.




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