Pick of the Pencils 2006

What does it take to impress the D&AD judges? Seymour Powell's Dick Powell and Wieden & Kennedy's Tony Davidson, the men at the top of the organisation, survey this year's crop of award-winners and explain exactly what made these ads stand out from the crowd.

DICK POWELL is the president of D&AD and the founder of Seymour Powell

Let's start with a Yellow Pencil winner in the Direct category, "bulldog clips" for Land Rover Defender. For me, direct communication seems to be coming of age - there are fewer turgid printed leaflets, more imaginative, compelling and well-targeted ideas, many of which carry a digital component.

The best, like this one, focus on a single, simple idea writ large. More grip anyone? Get the message and bin it, but hang on to those useful clips - you'll remember where they came from them every time you use them.

Next up is the "cameraphone" ad for the Department of Transport. Persuading distracted teenagers to pay more attention when crossing the road is a tough brief - but it is solved brilliantly by alloying the medium with the message. Not just by shooting the action as if it were real, but by delivering it to mobile phones, themselves a primary cause of distraction. Seeding the idea that the ad uses real footage helps spread the message virally - and the everyday normality of the situation hits home, prompting viewers to think: "That could have been me."

This year, there are two Black Pencil winners. The first is for the redesign of The Guardian. When it was launched, much was made of the Berliner format - boy, did it miss the point. Newspaper design has to be one of the toughest jobs there is for a graphic designer, as well as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is more like product design in that a celebration of style over function is wholly unacceptable and the product is the brand. Moreover, the Guardian team had a hard act to follow in David Hillman's seminal 1988 redesign. Its solution achieves a complex balancing act with masterful craft and precision; it is an effective solution that is a pleasure to pick up and read.

The other Black Pencil went to "big ideas come out of big pencils" at www.leoburnett.ca. Browsing websites used to be like looking at the world through a letterbox; these days, thankfully, it's a larger window but that frame is always there, resisting your emotional engagement. Not so with Leo Burnett's site. Its animation draws you in, engaging you with its charm and delighting you with its ease of use, but never frustrating you with lengthy downloads and unintelligible navigation. You can float through and browse playfully, or drill down deep to find something specific (such as the agency's phone number) and it always rewards. It's a triumph and a worthy first Black Pencil for Online.

Back to TV with the "balls" ad for Sony. This is one of those memorable epics, and I imagine it's easier to win a Pencil when armed with a big budget and one or two minutes of creative canvas. It is a very beautiful film married to a serene soundtrack, so it rewards repeated viewing. But effective communication for Sony Bravia? I'm not convinced. It feels to me like an ad for ad folk.

Harvey Nichols. Fascinating psychology - men don't get this immediately (at least I didn't), while women get it straight away, but it raises a smile from both. It is classy, as befits the Harvey Nichols brand, yet grabs its intended audience by subtly acknowledging how the average fashion victim thinks when confronted with the irresistible. A brilliant idea, beautifully executed.

The five idents. I love these - a simple, appropriate idea that reaches its audience through sponsorship credits for The Farm.They bring together movies (five DVD's product) and farm animals in a witty resolution that segues with the programme's content. It's fresh, memorable and entertaining, but doesn't get in the way of viewing - perfect.

Finally, Guinness "noitulove". Craft and special effects - absolutely.

Idea? I'm sorry but, in the pantheon of Guinness greats, absolutely not. But as the Pencil is for the craft of special effects, it is richly deserved. That said, I have a sense of foreboding for the future of this craft.

In cinema, we have reached the point where reality and animation are almost indistinguishable and the only thing that betrays the virtual is the implausibility or impossibility of real footage - as here. Over-familiarity with special effects, no matter how good, strains consumer credibility and dilutes impact - a real challenge for the art directors of tomorrow.

TONY DAVIDSON is the deputy president of D&AD and the joint creative director of Wieden & Kennedy London

More so than the other categories, online constantly reinvents itself. The spread of broadband means that designers can be braver and more inventive than ever before. I think this site, the Black Pencil-winner www.leoburnett.ca, is beautifully executed and a lot of fun to play with. The team behind it must have spent a huge amount of time on the details, yet it managed to keep an eye on the big picture. Engaging and rewarding - it is great to see a large agency like Leo Burnett going out on a limb.

The Guardian. The financial implications of changing the format of any newspaper are huge - so for this alone, The Guardian deserves a Pencil. The choice of the Berliner format is the easy part - re-addressing the content, layout, and imagery in a smaller space without damaging the brand is a huge undertaking by anyone's standards.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to view the new format before its launch and, while I was sad to see the David Hillman design disappear, the new format is a groundbreaking and timeless piece of design in its own right. I was very impressed by the new design's ease of use and I'm a big fan of the photography in the centrefold.

"Cameraphone" for the Department of Transport. I've seen a series of commercials recently where suddenly, out of the blue, someone is hit by a speeding car - so nothing new here then. However, what is new is the idea of shooting this realistic-looking spot on a mobile phone and distributing it to the target market via video messaging. However, given that mobile phones are often the reason why people are distracted when crossing the road, I hope no-one was knocked down while watching this commercial.

Land Rover. It is interesting to see what is coming out of direct marketing now that D&AD can acknowledge the creativity and diversity of the category. "Bulldog clips" really stood out because it places the experience of the product directly in the hands of the recipient - proper direct work for direct clients.

Now to the "balls" commercial for Sony's Bravia range of high-definition TVs. What I like about this commercial is that it causes debate. Some people like it, others are not so keen, but they are all talking about it. When it was first launched, "balls" was e-mailed around and I remember reading blogs on which people from all over the world discussed how it was made. This is a good example of content being good enough for people to want to seek it out. I think it's a worthy winner. It is a beautiful piece of film that engages on an emotional level, like a good pop promo. The visuals and music seem made for each other.

Harvey Nichols. These ads stood out a mile when I first saw them, so a big tick for art direction. The idea is also good, but I have one small gripe - I felt that, as a campaign, some of the executions were weaker than others and "beans" is by far the strongest. The main target market for Harvey Nichols is women and I wonder if there weren't some better female insights to be had than using the telephone directory as toilet paper.

Next, the five DVD idents. It's hard to make people laugh, and even harder when you only have 15 seconds or less in which to do it. These simple sponsorship credits for the reality show The Farm prove that the content in between the programmes can be as good, if not better, than the programmes themselves.

Guinness. First, full marks to the agency and client for being smart enough to return to an endline as great as: "Good things come to those who wait." There are hundreds of great ideas waiting to be hatched from this totally relevant concept and I bet the public loves this particular execution. I have to admit, I've seen the rewind idea before, but this award is for special effects. The idea requires an enormous amount of computer-generated imagery and I'm sure many nights were spent burning the midnight oil. The end result bears repeated viewing and, while I felt the casting of the three characters could have been more engaging, the choice of music was inspired.

THE WINNERS
SONY
Agency: Fallon London
Category: TV and cinema advertising/cinema commercials 41-120 seconds
Title: Balls
Writer: Juan Cabral
Art director: Juan Cabral
Creative directors: Richard Flintham, Andy McLeod
Producer: Nell Jordan
Director: Nicolai Fuglsig
Production company: MJZ
Post-production: The Mill

THE GUARDIAN
Agency: The Guardian design team
Category: Magazine and newspaper design/complete newspapers
Title: Berliner relaunch issue
Writer: n/a
Art director: Mark Porter

FIVE
Agency: Devilfish Category TV and cinema advertising/TV and cinema
sponsorship credits
Titles: Cow; horses; pigs; sheep
Writer: Claire Lambert
Creative director: Richard Holman
Producer: Audrey Hawkins
Director: Claire Lambert

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
Agency: Leo Burnett London
Category: Direct/direct mobile phone advertising
Title: Cameraphone
Writers: Paul Jordan, Angus Macadam
Art directors: Paul Jordan, Angus Macadam
Editor: Paul Watts
Producer: Rupert Smythe
Director: Chris Palmer
Production company: Gorgeous

GUINNESS
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Category: TV and cinema crafts/special effects
Title: Noitulove
Writer: Ian Heartfield
Art director: Matt Doman
Visual effects: William Bartlett
Director: Daniel Kleinman

HARVEY NICHOLS
Agency: DDB London
Category: Press advertising/magazine press advertising colour
Titles: Beans; jigsaw; cat; toilet paper
Writer: Adam Tucker
Art director: Justin Tindall
Creative directors: Justin Tindall, Adam Tucker
Photographer: James Day

LAND ROVER DEFENDER
Agency: Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel
Category: Direct/addressed direct mail (medium volume: 10,001-100,000
items)
Title: Bulldog clips
Writer: Vaughan Townsend
Art director: Jo Jenkins
Photographer: Ed Lee
Typographer: Jon Checkley

LEO BURNETT CANADA
Agency: Leo Burnett Canada
Category: Online/primary brand websites
Title: Big ideas come out of big pencils
Art directors: Peter Gomes, Ian Kay, Israel Diaz
Creative directors: Shirley Ward-Taggart, Judy John
Technical director: Hubert Bandurski Director Peter Gomes

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