Engine, Ogilvy, adam&eve win at D&AD, but where’s the joy?

Big brand campaigns were in short supply at D&AD’s virtual (really?) awards this year. One of the two Black Pencils went to Samsung’s iTest, which allows Apple loyalists to test out a Samsung Galaxy on their own iPhones – but for media rather than creativity.

The other Black Pencil went to “The Lost Class,” which staged a graduation ceremony for the 3,044 US students who would have graduated last year if they hadn’t been killed by guns.

Twix “Camping” by adam&eveDDB with DDB Chicago was the only big brand commercial to pick up a Yellow Pencil in the film advertising category. Unless you count Energy BBDO’s work for Extra gum, which is a good film but it’s all about emerging from pandemic lockdowns.

Alma DDB Miami’s “Better with Pepsi” and Dove were the big brand Yellow Pencil winners in press and outdoor.

The 15 UK Yellow Pencils were mostly awarded for production and post-production skills rather than advertising. The exceptions were Ogilvy UK for Dove’s “Reverse Selfie” and Engine Group for “Long Live the Prince.”

Mother’s “Typically” ad for client Bloody Good Period won Yellow for animation, with a Wood Pencil for art direction, and 4Creative’s Super Human for the Tokyo Paralympics won Yellow for direction. Burberry’s “Open Spaces,” a standout ad from last year, won two Yellows for visual effects and direction.

As usual, the UK’s 297 Pencils placed them second to the US with 365 Pencils, followed by France, Brazil, Australia. AMV BBDO was the ad agency of the year, ahead of Publicis Italia, Africa and Droga5 New York. Also in the top 50, adam&eveDDB came 8th and Ogilvy London 30th, while Wieden + Kennedy London made it to 45th and Droga5 London 46th.

There were a lot of very worthy winners at D&AD, and it’s right that advertising is undergoing an overhaul, but it can take the joy out of the awards when so many of the campaigns come with a harrowing message and a low budget.

D&AD promises an in-person 60th anniversary event in September, at which the President’s Award will be announced — let’s hope it’s a good night.

The two Black Pencil winners below.

Lost Class by Leo Burnett Chicago

Samsung iTest by DDB New Zealand

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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