D&AD hands out four Black Pencils at 2024 awards, none to UK

Black Pencils are for work that is “truly ground breaking” and some years D&AD has awarded none at all. This year, there were four: Marcel’s “WoMen’s Football” for Orange; McCann Poland’s “Where to Settle” for Mastercard; Apple’s VisionOS design; and Japan Railways’ “My Japan Railway” by Dentsu Tokyo.

UK agencies missed out on the Black Pencils, but won 23 Yellows – awarded for “outstanding” work – up from eight last year and 15 in 2022. 4Creative won three of them for its Channel 4 idents, and adam&eveDDB won two for “If you’re into it, it’s in the V&A”.

Despite the tight financial situation in the industry, businesses are clearly willing to splash out to enter their work into the top-level awards schemes. D&AD entries reached their highest number since 2007, with 12,387 submissions made from 78 countries.

VML New York was named Agency of the Year, mainly for its “Oreo Codes” work, while Ogilvy is Network of the Year thanks to the CeraVe Super Bowl work. AB InBev’s Client of the Year award was based on its “Dreamcaster” work for Michelob Ultra, and Serviceplan won Independent Agency of the Year on the back of two campaigns: “How to quit opioids” and “Wastecare” for Aizome textiles’ harmless clothes dye.

Luxury is a new category at Cannes this year, and at D&AD it was won by Chanel, which took home a Yellow Pencil for its erotic game of musical chairs for Coco Crush fine jewellery.

Chanel deserves a win at Cannes, and we are likely to see a lot more of Marcel’s “WoMen’s Football” in the South of France too. Interesting that Uncommon, which has been creating so much stand-out work over the last year, won only a Wooden Pencil for Sirius XM, a shortlist for B&Q, and a Graphite and a Wood for BA – it’s not clear that the agency made the entries, so maybe they are saving their energies (and budgets) for Cannes.

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