A record number of yellow pencils at last month's Design and Art Direction Awards made for a long and hot night at London's Earl's Court. With 53 pencils (18 more than last year) and 143 nominated pieces of work, one would assume it had been a bumper year for creative work.
The figures are misleading. To begin with, no golds were awarded - the first time since 1995. Michael Johnson, D&AD president, denied this reflected a poor year. "A gold has got to be gob-smackingly amazing and the jury didn't feel there was something unprecedented like that this year."
However, many in the industry argue that there is increasingly little evidence of fresh thinking. The US, which has led the way in previous years with genuinely new ideas for the likes of Fox Sports and Nike, put in a disappointing performance.
While the latest Fox Sports ads, through TBWA/Chiat/Day are admittedly among the funniest things around, the idea is not dissimilar to previous years. And how many times can we award the same 'guy gets injured in sick way' gag? Not to the mention the fact that the ads are unlikely to get through the censors on any channel other than Fox Sports.
The Nike 'Angry Chicken' ad, from Wieden & Kennedy Portland, is both amusing and original, but the other silver winner from the US prompted disapproving mutterings from the 2000-strong audience. It was Sprint PCS through Publicis & Hal Riney. Never mind 'What About the Monkey?', a more suitable question might be 'What About the Idea?' We can only assume that after viewing 21,500 entries in 161 sub-categories, the judges had a temporary, perhaps understandable, fit of insanity.
The UK fared better with BBH scooping most awards - a total of seven Pencils. Audi 'Bull' won two, and Barnardo's won one. Danny Kleinman's direction helped secure the rest with Audi 'Influence', Xbox 'Champagne', and 'Mosquito'.
Saatchi & Saatchi added to its raft of awards for NSPCC 'Cartoon', winning four silvers for TV and one for print.
TBWA/London scooped three silvers for its brilliant John Smith's campaign while the BBC was also awarded three for spots in the craft category through roster agencies Campbell Doyle Dye, Fallon and Abbott Mead Vickers.
As we have featured most of these ads on previous issues of Campaign Screen, (see the archive section on www.campaignscreen.com for details) the tape features work which our subscribers may not have seen.
It includes the title sequence to Spielberg's Catch Me if You Can (winner of a new prize, the People's Pencil, voted for by D&AD members); a music video winner for the Doves and the haunting Barnardos campaign.
The One Show, meanwhile, should have been renamed the Crispin Porter & Bogusky Show this year as the Miami-based agency scooped an incredible 23 Pencils, 16 of them for their work with Mini. The agency and client also won Best of Show within the Integrated Branding category. And it doesn't stop there. Mini was also the winner of two new awards, Advertiser of the Year as well as a special award for Innovative Marketing.
In total, eight Gold Pencils out of 33 went to the car company.
Meanwhile, its parent company BMW, won Best of Show in One Show Interactive for the second consecutive year for its short films, broadcast on the internet through Fallon Worldwide.
Elsewhere at the One Show, Arnold Worldwide won three Gold Pencils for their work on Volkswagen 'Bubble Boy'; 'Squares' and 'Chain Reaction'.
TBWA/Chiat/Day/San Francisco, meanwhile, won two Golds for the Fox Sports hockey campaign. Wieden & Kennedy/New York won Gold for ESPN 'Shelfball/Travis', while Hill Holiday/San Francisco won Gold for its cinema trailer of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
More than 12,200 entries were submitted from around 40 different countries. The awards, now in their 32nd year, took place at the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center in New York. As part of our 'The One Show Award' and 'Best of the US' round-up this month, we are featuring some of the award winners not seen before in the pages of Campaign Screen.