Okay, so I'm standing in the middle of the room where the D&AD Gold
jury meets, surrounded by all the work that has been nominated for a
My overwhelming priority, apart from making an informed and considered
choice, of course, is not to make a fool of myself in front of my peers.
I am the new president elect of D&AD and therefore not at home to Mr
Unfortunately, Mr Cockup has his own front door key.
We have an hour to look in detail at any work with which we are not
I make for the direct mail table where the entries, a selection of
imaginative 3D items, are spread out on yellow cards and being examined
by my fellow jury members. I pick up the only free objects, which are a
subtly adapted pack of cigarettes and a red lighter. On closer
examination, I can see that the typography is a faithful reproduction of
that found on an ordinary pack of ciggies but I can't find the selling
message so I move on to search for it in the red lighter.
"It's up for a pencil so there must be something fiendishly clever here
somewhere," I say to myself. At this point I realise that I am not the
only person talking to me. "Can I have my fags back, please?" a fellow
As well as discovering at least one idiot in the room, the jury also
found four Gold pencils. The only advertising Gold went to Mother for
its stunning Britart campaign, which capped a brilliant year at D&AD for
London's finest young agency. Their ingenuity and raw creativity got
them prizes for everything from TV campaigns to Christmas card-websitey
things. If I were much younger and poorer I'd be banging on their door
right this minute trying to get any kind of job going. D&AD don't do an
agency of the year but if we did, Mother would have won it by a
In the past Leo Burnett didn't even win agency of the year in their own
agency. But since the arrival of Nick Bell and Mark Tutsell, all that
has changed. McDonald's, John West and Heinz Salad Cream all charmed and
impressed the jury and won a clutch of nominations and Silvers. An
The other dreary dinosaur agencies such as TBWA/London, Saatchi &
Saatchi, Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO also did
well. Paul Belford's parting gift to his agency was another pair of
brilliant award-winning campaigns for TBWA. Old Saatchi biffed the nose
of New Saatchi with its heartbreakingly funny multimedia campaign for
BBH fielded the most creative women in advertising: Rosie (Arnold),
Claudia (Southgate) and Verity (Williams) picked up pencils and showed
the hairy-arsed boys how it's done. And we picked up a couple of pencils
and half a dozen nominations, too. (Well, I don't have to be impartial
until next year.)
But design dominated the Golds. Apple even wins prizes for its mice now
- what a company. The genuinely beautiful London Eye got the world's
most obvious Gold and the Science Museum also grabbed itself a black one
for its "... comment" exhibition. No comment.
I think that this may well be the greatest D&AD book ever published.
Four Golds, 50 Silvers, 72 Silver nominations and 707 pieces in the book
(an overall increase of 63 per cent on last year). The reason the book
will be the greatest ever is because of the sheer quantity of the work
you'll find in your copy when it is published in late 2004 (just
kidding, it's going to be on time this year).
The difference in quantity, although not quality in my opinion, is due
to a small but significant change to the voting process and a big change
in where we voted.
David Stuart, our wise and gentle president, changed the rules. From
this year on, if 50 per cent of the jury say an ad should be in the book
then that's where it ends up (previously a majority was required). David
Kester, D&AD's tireless and perceptive chief executive officer, took us
all to Brighton for the judging week. It was an inspired move for which
David should be applauded. The 200 judges wandered around the Brighton
conference centre and literally assembled the annual together day by
We behaved like a cohesive industry exhibiting our best work to the
Which, when you think about it, is what D&AD should be.
It was all just fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. I pity the poor sod who
has to try and top that next year.