Firstly a teaser. It was a big year for TV. Lots of great work, particularly for the youth and sports brands. But, unlike last year, the really cutting-edge press and poster work was thinner on the ground. With recessionary pressures abounding, was it easier for clients to turn the tap on print, or were the TV savings made in media spend rather than production, perhaps? After strong performances in the ambient category over the past two years (including the gold last year for britart. com), it seemed surprising that this lower cost media didn't thrive in adversity.
Having said this, there were one or two gems, such as Dentsu Young & Rubicam's anti-smoking campaign for the Singapore Cancer Society, which produced blood red ashtrays, shaped like human lungs. It was pleasing to see mail media making some healthy advances, with the judges rewarding some excellent examples of integrated thinking, including Bartle Bogle Hegarty's silver nominated Barnardo's campaign, with its harrowing press and equally moving direct mailer. The director John Lloyd waxed lyrical about a vintage year for radio, though notably the only gong went to DDB Chicago for its Budweiser campaign.
Overall no doubt the Americans did well to walk away with such a healthy clutch of Pencils. The juries were wowed by the rich canon of work by Wieden & Kennedy USA for Nike, and TBWA/Chiat/Day hit the funny bone with the very re-watchable campaign for Fox Sports.
But this year, with Marcello Serpa from Almap BBDO heading a new non-English language TV category, there were some new contenders, resulting in four strong award nominations from other corners of the globe. Leo Burnett Oslo produced a touching tooth fairy tale for McDonald's about a little lad, his grandpa and some missing false teeth, and TBWA/Campaign Company produced a stunning epic for Delta Lloyd insurance involving a Chinese military parade and a cast of thousands.
However, the advertising star from this year's crop was unquestionably BBH and Frank Budgen with their "twist
ad for Levi's jeans. Yes, the D&AD jury debated which length version was best and whether the decapitated man and the dog walking off with a hand improved the ad. But in the end it was unanimous that this was a stunning and original film, brilliantly directed, perfectly on brand, unique for the product, and hugely deserving the rare honour of a D&AD gold.
- Further information on D&AD can be found at: www.dandad.org.