Initial controversy at this year’s D&AD ceremony centred on the absence
of any awards in either the photography or copy categories, and the
failure to include any examples of copy in the 1996 D&AD annual.
The celebrity turn-out also provided a talking point. When Graham Fink,
the president of D&AD, announced the list of invited judges earlier this
year it contained famous names from the arts, including the novelists,
Martin Amis and Will Self; the artists, Damien Hirst and Gilbert and
George; and the comedians, Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves (Campaign, 10
The judging was beset with rumours about members of the ‘luvvie’
contingent not showing up. Hirst was expected but did not appear,
Mortimer turned up for the final round of judging only, leaving Griff
Rhys Jones as the only famous name who carried out his full jury
Fink defended his move to appoint celebrity judges. He demanded: ‘Who
knows more about good TV scripts than a successful TV comedy writer, and
who better to judge illustration than Damien Hirst?’
This year’s re-organisation of the juries into 18 specialist panels that
sat for two days each, helped to make the workload more manageable
compared with last year, when 36 judges, divided into only three groups,
were asked to sift through 14,000 entries over five days.
Fink claimed the new system was a success, with a 5 per cent drop-out
rate among judges this year, as opposed to nearly 50 per cent last year.