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Rare Access: Changing The World

Rare Access: Changing The World


Having attended D&AD as part of Rare Access powered by Sweetshop, Ogilvy creative and founder of Ogilvy Roots Amie Snow shared her take on a first-time D&AD festival experience with Shots.

Last week saw the great and the good of the creative industry gather at D&AD Festival in London for a week of talks, workshops and networking.

It’s an opportunity that’s out of reach for many young creatives, but thanks to Rare Access – a partnership between R-LDN and Sweetshop that offers diverse talent the kind of access they’d receive if they were judging the awards or headlining the festival – five rare minds got the chance to shadow the juries, hobnob with festival headliners at private dinners and soak up all the work at the awards ceremony. 

Day One

I landed at 8.40am in the UK after a 10-hour journey back from the States. With a bad case of jet lag, I eagerly made my way to what would be our home for the next five days, the plush and trendy Ace Hotel! When Rare Access say they’ll be giving you an authentic VIP D&AD Experience, better believe them…

Once checked in, I headed over to the Rare Access Meet & Greet Lunch, where I finally got to meet the other four awesome delegates, the amazing Stef, Nadya and the extended RA team. 

I mean… anything with Food + Drink + Diverse Creative Minds = A Great Time!

This was then followed by an afternoon of shadowing the D&AD judges.  Having a profound love for music and film I was definitely excited about shadowing the music video category. 

It was interesting to see the way the panel debated on what defined the work as great. I was very happy to see that the panel had a great gender balance, but as a diversity champion it was hard to ignore the fact that there were no POC on the panel, especially when a lot of the content in the music videos came from a culturally diverse background. However, I understand that D&AD are working towards diversifying their panels beyond gender. I look forward to seeing the result of this in 2020… *ahem*… I’d also be happy to judge.

We ended the evening at the D&AD judging welcome reception, where I got to meet the inspiring Claudia Cristovao, Head of Brand Studio APAC at Google in Japan. 

Day Two

…was spent at the Rare Leadership Fundamentals masterclass at D&AD HQ, which was magical to say the least!

We were exposed to some of the greatest minds in the creative industry, who shared strategies on how to navigate the industry and become better creative leaders. 

I loved how collaborative and candid everybody was, to the point where questions raised soon became healthy debates. 

Dope quote of the day, from Lucy Jameson, Co-Founder of Uncommon: “Are you dependent on people less ambitious than you to make your dreams come true?” 

Stef DiGianvincenzo, Co-Founder of RARE, also gave a beautiful overview of her creative journey and an insight to the challenges she overcame. We need more people like Stef in this world.  

Day Three

Yeah… I fell in the shower and smashed my ribs on the side of the bath, I suggest not doing this *cries*

What can I say, I’m a klutz and was completely gutted to miss the majority of the first day of the festival in recovery mode.

But as I love to seize great opportunities with both hands, I dosed up and dragged myself out of bed. 

In the evening I found myself at the D&AD Nominee party with fellow Rare Creative Lucy. Bonding with Lucy and getting a better understanding of her journey with ADHD was a highlight of my day.

Day Four

Mentors’ Breakfast! One thing I’ve learnt growing up is mentors are so important and play a key role in career and personal development. The Rare Access team paired me up with the incredible Krystle Mullin, a Canadian native who is now killing it as a Creative Director at RPA in LA. 

We exchanged personal stories, words of advice and talked all things creative – Krystle’s positivity is infectious and I look forward to the next 12 months as her mentee.  (She also gives the best hugs.)

During the RARE experience I also connected with another awesome trailblazer Selma Nicholls, Founder of Looks Like Me, a talent agency that aims to champion greater ethnic diversity within ads. I asked her to feature in one of my provisional campaign shoots that same evening – which, to our delight, she accepted and totally aced it! 

A great end to the day.

Day Five

The last day of Rare Access *sobs*

I spent the majority of my day exploring the shortlisted D&AD work. As a creative myself, gaining insight into what type of creative work is deemed as award-worthy was highly useful.

However, the main thing I love about D&AD are the talks and workshops, as they explore more than just advertising, you’ll find talks on tech, social media, illustration, politics etc –  all information that can hugely facilitate your creativity and strategic thinking. As a nano-influencer and body positive model, I found the Creativity Beyond the Grid talk great, as it gave a broad and diverse overview on how to best use influencer marketing and social media platforms.

The evening ceremony was an amazing opportunity to view the award-winning work and an even better opportunity to network with the creatives responsible for it.

I’m not a big drinker and one thing that I’ve realised in my short time within the industry, is that alcohol seems to be ingrained within the culture.

Sadly, I think this culture backfired as it seemed to take away the focus from the ceremony and the awarded work, work that they’ve all worked so hard on and rightly deserved people’s full attention.

I began to wonder if D&AD would ever enforce a ‘Dry ceremony’ and reinvest the 2020 bar budget into their D&I initiatives like Rare Access or New Blood Shift?

My fellow Rare creative Ryan Lanji and I also deliberated on how we would love to assist in taking D&AD to the next level and creatively consult for them in the near future.  

Nike’s Dream Crazier by Widen & Kennedy was definitely my favourite campaign with Viva La Vulva coming in a strong second, it’s always liberating and refreshing to see great purpose-led work being awarded. Something I strive to do all the time, as we have the platform to change the world.

This piece was first published by Shots on 31 May 2019.