To this year’s Designers & Art Directors Awards (D&AD) at Evolution in London’s Battersea Park.
On a perfect summer’s evening too, perfect too for the Chelsea Flower Show across the river – which meant that lots of D&AD guests turned up late because of the traffic. But it’s the mayfly-like English summer and you have to grab it while you can.
What a Manichean monster D&AD has become.
The UK’s oldest and biggest awards show has always been split between design and advertising, with design coming first. To the extent that when I left, early, to grapple with the still-thriving traffic jam, I’d barely seen an ad.
But there were some ad pencil winners, lots of them actually as D&AD has added graphite and wood pencils, in place of entries in the book and nominations. Not so many though in the biggies: black, white (‘creativity for good’ as D&AD calls it) and the iconic yellows.
D&AD’s great rival in the trophy stakes is the forthcoming Cannes International Festival of creativity. Maybe its awards provide some clues to that too.
Colenso BBDO in New Zealand won a black pencil for its ‘K9FM’ campaign for Mars, the first such award for radio in 32 years as my new friend from the Radio Advertising Bureau tweeted happily. That will surely do well at Cannes.
The big winner was Leo Burnett and Holler’s campaign #LikeAGirl for Procter & Gamble’s Always (this won a white and two yellows too) and will do well – maybe better than well – at Cannes. Blacks also went to Marcel’s ‘Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables’ and, in the branding stakes, to 4Creative’s Film 4 idents and Made Thought’s web and design work for GF Smith, a paper company.
Whites went to ‘Lego: everything is NOT awesome’ by Don’t Panic London for Greenpeace, ‘This is Wholesome” by Droga5 for Honey Maid, ‘Nazis against Nazis – Germany’s most involuntary charity walk’ by Germany’s Constanze Spross for ZDK Gesellschaft Demokratische Kultur and Human Traffic Sign” by Lowe China for Buick.
The UK was the top-scoring country with 229 pencils (out of 842) ahead of the US. R/GA was the top-scoring agency across the piece.
Royal College of Art tutor and the co-designer of Britain’s roadway signs Margaret Calvert won the President’s Award. All the winners are here.
But disappointing from an adland perspective. #LikeAGirl has undoubtedly had a big impact, following in the footsteps of Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches.’ Saying that you think these and others like them (and there’ll be more and more) are over-hyped is a bit like confessing to kicking the cat.
But we seem to be almost at the point where ads that try to sell stuff are always going to run second to communications that purport, honestly or otherwise, to change the world for the better. Do people think P&G is a better company because of Always?
Last year’s big Cannes winner was adam&eveDDB’s deliberately heartless ‘Sorry I Spent It On Myself’ for Harvey Nichols. A dose of commercial reality can be quite bracing.