Carter Wong announces Kelly Tam as winner of 2018 Black Sheep Awards


Multidisciplinary design studio Carter Wong has announced Kelly Tam as the 2018 winner of its Black Sheep Awards, recognising her design for a digital app that seeks to change the way we initiate the act of social drinking.

Held each year as a collaboration with Norwich University of the Arts (UK), Carter Wong sets a design-led brief for the Black Sheep Awards that challenges students to devise a creative and compelling answer addressing a social trend or product perception. The results are judged not by the platform the message is delivered on but how well it answers the problem.

The 2018 challenge asked: ‘How would you change people’s perceptions of social drinking?’. Students were encouraged to ‘think like a Black Sheep’ with responses that were truly individual, using the medium they felt best answered the challenge, be that an app, a campaign for a brand, or a new experiential solution.

This year’s jury panel included: Sarah Dawood, Deputy Editor, Design Week; Kerstin Robinson, Nix & Kix Drinks; Lucy Blazey, Course Leader, Graphic Design, Norwich University of the Arts; James Kindred, Big Drop Brewing Company; and Sarah Turner, Managing Director and Martyn Garrod, Creative Director, Carter Wong.

First place: Kelly Tam

Taking first place in the awards programme – with a cash prize and paid month-long placement at Carter Wong’s Soho studio – is Kelly Tam with her campaign ‘Slurp’. Tam’s personal experiences as someone who would rather have a cup of tea over an alcoholic beverage led her to develop an app that creates new dialogue in social drinking, redefining the meaning of ‘grabbing a drink’ and shifting the associations away from an alcoholic beverage to wider connotations beyond the notion of alcohol.

For her award-winning idea, Tam created a rewards-based app that enables users to track where and when they take a ‘Slurp’, connect with friends for a ‘Slurp-up’ and create customised profiles and avatars through which they engage with a network of contacts. QR codes also enable users to build up loyalty points and earn free ‘Slurps’ for them and their friends.

Martyn Garrod, Creative Director, Carter Wong said: “The UK has one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption compared to other developed countries, ranking 6th out of 33 developed nations in 2016. Whilst there is a growing trend for drinking less volume but higher quality when it comes to alcohol, drinking is still ingrained in our culture, accompanying almost every social occasion.

“We wanted to challenge students to address this issue and consider how they would change the general public’s perception of social drinking. This isn’t necessarily about encouraging people to stop drinking, but to raise social acceptance of teetotallers and those who don’t want to drink to excess.

“This year we have been inundated with inventive solutions but Kelly Tam’s ‘Slurp’ campaign really stood apart for the judges. In expanding the offering of ‘Let’s Grab a Drink’ and reclaiming the phrase, she created more opportunities to meet up that aren’t always centred around alcohol – an intelligent approach to changing behaviours of how people socialise that still feels familiar.”

Second place: Manuel Molinar

Second place winner Manuel Molinar delivered an engaging animation for his ‘Soberman’ campaign, with an athletics-inspired challenge that calls for followers to ‘endure 30 dry days’. Again, supported by a digital app, Molinar’s campaign looks to build a sense of community between people taking up the ‘Soberman’ challenge, with options to connect with other app users, a hurdling video game, and challenges to ‘go the extra mile’ if devotees fall off the wagon. This gives people a fun excuse to not to drink and breaks down the social pressure of consuming alcohol.

Third place: Charlotte Tankard and Katie Squirrel

Charlotte Tankard and Katie Squirrel joined forces to create third place campaign ‘FRESHH’. Particularly targeting students during their Freshers week – who are often under high pressure to drink alcohol – the campaign and associated event partners with Wetherspoons to drive awareness of the pressures of drinking and the importance of socialising.

Their colourful concept centres on a fresh way to break the ice when meeting new people during Freshers Week, without alcohol playing a guiding role. The subtle ‘SHH’ in the title is designed to remove any judgement or pressure to drink, with bold colours of blue, yellow and pink used to reflect the fun atmosphere of the event. Tankard and Squirrel created a series of animations to be used across digital platforms, plus leaflets and posters to drive awareness of the FRESHH campaign, including vouchers offering discounts on drinks.