D&AD 2001 - THE YEAR OF DESIGN: Mother is the only agency to pick up a Gold award as design dominates judging at the 2001 D&AD Awards. Peter Soutar assesses the winners and applauds the revised system of judging.

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

juror asks.

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

amazing achievement.

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.