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D&AD awards 4Creative and McCann Melbourne

Channel 4’s “Meet The Superhumans’ Paralympics campaign (left) by 4Creative (C4’s in-house agency) and Metro Trains’ ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ from McCann Melbourne won black pencils, the top prizes at the UK’s D&AD Awards last night.

Both of these have been picking up gongs all year and must be among the favourites for the big Cannes Lions, with McCann Melbourne the likelier star of the show.

D&AD is rather a shadow of what it used to be, when British creative agencies ruled the world (or thought they did).

Placing what is now an international competition so close to Cannes seems a peculiar thing to do; it really is a titbit before the main course. D&AD stands for Designers & Art directors and, when the awards began in the 1960s, designers and art directors (who had just promoted themselves from ‘visualisers’) were pretty interchangeable.

Both groups worked, mostly, on paper. It was easy to go from ad agency to design agency and vice versa. Most of the brilliant work coming out of the most celebrated agency of the era, Collett Dickenson Pearce, was actually print: usually from the dynamic duo of writer Tony Brignull and art director Neil Godfrey. The equally brilliant BMP (now DDB) which emerged a little later was the first British creative agency whose award-winning output was largely defined by TV.

At which point designers and art directors rather drifted apart.

Here’s Frank Lowe (one-time boss of CDP) and David Abbott of AMV fame (who knows a thing or two about copywriting) paying tribute to writer Brignull for last year’s D&AD. But Godfrey’s art direction was just as important. The ads really stood out while remaining the epitome of taste and style.

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Alas we can’t show you ‘Meet The Superhumans’ because someone has made a copyright claim over the rapper-style soundtrack (should have got this sorted first guys – don’t you have lawyers?). Must have been fun on the night and won’t help its chances in Cannes.

Here’s Dumb Ways To Die.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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