Advertising Council Australia (ACA) has announced that Mandie van der Merwe will take over as the chair of the Australasian Writers and Art Directors Association (AWARD) from Cam Blackley.
B&T TV had an exclusive chat with van der Merwe and Blackley ahead of the move. It’s been a big week for the pair, with van der Merwe leaving Dentsu as joint chief creative officer with her creative partner Avish Gordhan to become Saatchi & Saatchi’s chief creatives. Cam Blackley, meanwhile, announced that he would also be stepping down as the chief creative at M&C Saatchi.
van der Merwe is not new to AWARD having served as the national head of the AWARD School for two terms in 2020 and 2021 and transformed the School’s program during the pandemic.
During Blackley’s time as AWARD Chair, he has rebranded and restructured AWARD, taking it from a committee-based association to a council of respected creative leaders. He has also rebuilt the entry criteria for the AWARD Awards and boosted entries, diversity among jurors and the program’s international standing.
He also oversaw the transformation of the AWARD School during the pandemic and created a hybrid learning experience that now upskills international, regional and remote students in the art of commercial creativity and launched This Way Up, AWARD’s three-day creative festival which has been embraced by the country’s creative community.
Finally, he has expanded AWARD’s education offering to include AWARD Craft and AWARD Uni and filling a gap in the industry’s professional development offering for senior and mid-weight creatives.
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