At last the multimedia industry is to be recognised with its own
category at the UK’s premier awards ceremony. At D&AD this year, the new
Interactive Media category will contain three sub-categories in which
silver pencils may be won. The judging will be divided according to
medium - one set of jurors for ‘media-based’ entries (anything on CD-Rom
or floppy disk), one for kiosk-based entries and one for Internet sites.
There will even be a CD-Rom version of the D&AD annual, a series of
interactive kiosks at the week-long Festival of Design and Advertising
at the Royal College of Art in November and a D&AD Website.
My oh my! Has D&AD gone interactive crazy? This is not the usual
evolutionary tack that we expect from advertising’s powers that be. This
is not the trickle-down, scraps-at-the-table, tokenistic approach of
which we were all set to accuse D&AD. It is no less than full-blooded
Should we be suspicious? This is, after all, the body which last year
refused to accept Ogilvy and Mather’s Guinness screensaver as an entry
because it wasn’t an ad. Later, it transpired, the necessary equipment
to view the screensaver was not available to the judges.
But no. There are no hidden agendas or tricks with mirrors. It seems the
change in attitude is genuine.
Part of the reason for this transformation is the sponsorship deal with
Apple that is funding the new-media initiatives. But much of the credit
for this happy state of affairs must go to those members of D&AD who
argued the case for recognition.
The industry should thank Richard Mellor, creative director of
Hyperinteractive, and those who elected him on to D&AD’s executive
committee. The best response would be a glut of high-quality British
D&AD recognition could be the making of British new media. This
country’s advertising is widely regarded as the best in the world,
partly because awards such as D&AD communicate its excellence to the
rest of the world. Our new-media industry now has the chance to follow
in advertising’s footsteps.
As Mellor says: ‘D&AD has thrown down the gauntlet. It’s up to the
industry to respond.’