I was about two-thirds of the way through the new D&AD Annual when it hit me, the whole paedophile exposure thing.
Should I, like the fearless Rebekah Wade, name and shame the guilty men.
Or, should I just "look the other way". I'm not saying the men (OK, there was one girl) on the Television and Cinema jury are paedophiles. That is what I'm not saying. But they're guilty all right, guilty as hell.
The Honda campaign picks up a couple of Pencils. I've got no problem with that. But, the Orange cinema campaign merely accepted? Excuse me?
Not even nominated for a silver? Just OK? No better than, say, David and Jonny play "pass the charisma"? The Johnnie Walker fish/man/post thing?
Nike's musical chairs? (Who else can I piss off?) God save us, the entire 118 118 campaign? The Wrigley's dog breath ad that scared hundreds of children to death? Cherokee? For fuck's sake.
These are not bad ads, I admit that, but they are not as good as the Orange work, the ones with Spike Lee, Carrie Fisher and Roy Scheider.
I love these ads. Every cinema audience I've ever sat with loved these ads. Brilliantly conceived, cast and written but not worth a Pencil. Oh no, not according to this ... this ... jury. The foreman, let's call him "Paul Silburn" shall we, admits to "darkened rooms", "heavy attack" and "impassioned speeches".
"Paul", who I understand is soon to QUIT BRITAIN, goes on to claim a "week of recovery at the Priory" for his pains.
A ten-stretch in Parkhurst would be a more fitting sentence for permitting, maybe even condoning, this travesty of justice.
Look, it's out of my hands now. You know what you have to do. You'll find the 24 men (and the girl) on page 459. Just imagine it was your ad they did this to and take whatever retribution you think fit.
That's the great thing about the D&AD Annual, "The Old Infuriator", it gets you going; it inflames the passions. The Annual should provoke debate, not just envy and feelings of utter and complete rejection. Although, I do remember, many years ago, writing a commercial for Pirelli called "gripping stuff", which won a hatful of awards around the world but didn't make it into the Annual. I remembered the names of every single member of that year's television jury and carved them into my arm with a wire coat hanger. Sometimes I just stand outside their houses at night and watch them.
Apparently, the more I talk about it, the nearer I am to "closure" but enough about me, and what about the 2004 Annual? Dave Dye and his 23-strong design team have done a fantastic job. For the cover, Dye has taken that object of stylistic and musical derision, the Now That's What I Call Music!
series, and turned it into a witty analogy of D&AD's own role as a compilation album. He solves the old "is it advertising? is it design?" problem by going lenticular. Traditionally, this age-old technique is something media boys get excited about and creatives don't. Yes, it can do winky but it's also quite wanky. Here it works really well. Dye has obviously spent too much life in musty second-hand record shops and is to be commended for it. This is a painstaking parody of old record covers and there is much love and humour in his detail.
The Annual continues the irreverent style set in motion by Mother's Gothic monsterpiece in 2002 and surpasses it. Rather than a patrician record of who won and who lost, this is an Annual that will make you smile, even if you're not in it. Which is just as well because you'll not get much joy out of this year's advertising juries. There are no Pencils for Posters, Photography, Illustration, Writing, Art Direction, Typography, Ambient or Direct Marketing.
The implication, of course, is that there are good years and there are bad years for work. It's as if creativity was some kind of fine wine.
Stop any creative on his or her way to a fine wine bar and say: "1998? A vintage year for ads or just quaffing?" They couldn't tell you and it doesn't matter.
I suspect juries that withhold top honours are trying to tell you more about their own impeccable standards than the quality of the work submitted.
Even the talented Dye is so fastidious that as the foreman of the Art Direction jury, he restricts himself to two nominations - Merrydown and Adnams.
I love the latter. Chris Wormell's illustrations make me want to throw £250,000 at a beach hut in Southwold. Were these two really not worth a Pencil in Illustration? Harvey Nichols manages one in Press with a poster campaign in all but media spend. All but two of the 28 nominees in that category carried barely more than a line of copy. Was neither Volkswagen's "cops" nor "elepump" worth a stubby yellow one? Shame on you.
If it's gold and glory you want, then carry on down to the Design end of the book. Here they're handing them out like leaving bags at a children's party and rightly so. There's some wonderful work. Graphic Design has a gold winner in johnson banks' brilliant "Fruit & Veg Stamps" and a further four silvers. Two Pencils for TV and Cinema Graphics. A gold and five Pencils for Environmental Design and Architecture. Five Pencils for Digital Crafts. Four Pencils in Music Videos, including one for Bjork. She can clear a dance floor quicker than a Yardie turf war but she's commissioned some groundbreaking work over the years.
Glorious stuff all of it but, for me, the best part of the entire book is the six-Pencil Product Design section. Turn to page 354 and tell me you don't covet every single beautiful object (OK, maybe not the Birkenstocks). All in all, a lesson in loveliness and largesse for us crabby advertising folk.
Lastly, on the international front, shouldn't someone have a quiet word with our brothers "from behind the Bamboo Curtain"? I'm not saying all their ads are scams (although Google has a hard job finding some of those logo/URLs) but there is no doubt that the primary target of many of these campaigns is juries not punters, and that makes us all look vain and silly.
Although, it has to be said that the Far East was trumped in this regard by those unlikely candidates, the Austrians, with their cinema spot for Japanese motorcycles. "Fuck you! Kawasaki is back!" was their slogan. My sentiments exactly.
- Gerry Moira is standing outside your house, watching.