CLOSE-UP: PERSPECTIVE - D&AD continues to nominate ’original’ over populist work

With the kind of understated flourish that characterises all my dealings with the World Wide Wait, I learned last week of the nominations for this year’s D&AD awards with a ’you have new mail’ and a bong which delivered a press release.

With the kind of understated flourish that characterises all my

dealings with the World Wide Wait, I learned last week of the

nominations for this year’s D&AD awards with a ’you have new mail’ and a

bong which delivered a press release.



As ever, D&AD has gathered a tasty-looking lot, although there were few

surprises in the advertising categories. TBWA has the most nominations -

eight in all - for Sony PlayStation’s ’double life’, Waterstone’s and

the Tate Gallery; BMP DDB follows with six for its work for Volkswagen

and Sony. The US shop, Cliff Freeman & Partners, is in third place with

five nominations. But I’m afraid the D&AD jurors have been afflicted by

the usual attack of elitism that we harp on about every year.



Of course, anyone who is putting together an awards scheme wants it to

be judged by the finest talent in the business. That’s how the D&AD

maintained its prestige when everything else the organisation did was,

putting it kindly, chaotic. (That pounds 448 lunch for two at Le

Gavroche which we reported in 1992 was the least of it.)



While D&AD is now a vastly improved organisation, it does not seem to

have got round the conundrum: if you want the best people to do the

judging and you want the best work to win, how do you prevent most of

the awards going to ’cool’ ads produced by the same handful of people

and agencies?



How do you stop D&AD jurors acting like sheep, with individuals unable

or unwilling to proffer a vote that is unpopular with the majority? The

result is that the list of nominations works brilliantly as a record of

work that is considered to be original - but as a record of recent

advertising that’s effective, entertaining and (poncey as it sounds)

culturally significant ... it fails, hands down.



If that were the case then fcuk, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Apple, Peugeot

and Walkers would surely be there. The problem is that this work is

unfashionable and probably not entered for D&AD in the first place.



Finally, but still on the topic of awards, I would like to state for the

record that Campaign stands more firmly than ever behind one of its

recent nominations. It’s for the very prestigious Turkey of the Week

slot, featuring ads that haven’t quite made it into D&AD.



Appropriately enough, it was recently presented by one of our reporters,

Francesca Newland, to the current Chicken Tonight spot starring Ian

Wright.



Of course it is possible to disagree with our Turkey choices: we happily

publish letters arguing the opposing view and readers can air their

grievances, unedited, on our website. On the other hand, is it possible

to make the director of this particular ’commercial’ - who, of course,

has never met Francesca - blush for his sexist and ill-informed phone

rant to berate our chit of a twentysomething girl for daring to cast

aspersions on his oeuvre? Unfortunately, I doubt it.



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