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
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
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.