PERSPECTIVE: D&AD Rewind won't paint picture of how advertising really is

As the perfect companion to help these long winter evenings just fly by, the new D&AD Rewind book celebrating 40 years of the best in advertising and design has more gems than Paul Burrell's attic.

From Y&R's Beanz Meanz Heinz and the design for the new Campaign in the 60s, through CDP's legendary B&H work of the 70s, the 80s VW Golf campaign, Levi's in the 90s, and PlayStation in 2000, the book is a fair romp through seminal advertising from the past four decades. And go see the accompanying exhibition at the V&A in London.

So far, so impressive, real class-A for the veins of anyone in this business suffering from those economic reds; this is the stuff to remind you what it's all about. Or perhaps "what it's all been about ... so far." Because if there's one thing this sort of retrospective does, it's highlight the crux the fragmented, over-specialised advertising industry is at right now. As a celebration (and I hesitate to invite further debate on this most craggy of cliches) of advertising as art, and even history, the D&AD exhibition has a natural home at the V&A. But it's certainly not an inclusive view of the world of advertising from the past ten years or so.

The impact of media separation, the growing stature of direct marketing, and the pressure on advertising to deliver effectiveness have no natural place here, of course.

Yes, much of the Rewind work was conceived by full-service agencies that offered media, DM and so on, but creativity was king. The result is that, from the hindsight pinnacle of 2002, this is a quaintly antediluvian, one-dimensional vision of advertising.

So if you're lucky enough to get hold of a copy of the Rewind book, turn to the back, to Jeremy Bullmore's wise and provocative sign-off "The Last Word on the Future". For it is only here, really, that Rewind acknowledges that creativity is no longer the answer to the question "what is advertising?"

It's not D&AD's job to take an integrated view of advertising, but at a time when the reunification, in some form, of media and creativity is the wagon that many creative agencies are chasing, it must acknowledge the debate if it (and the creatives who drive it) are to keep pace with the industry. Bullmore's case for integrated communications anchored to a real understanding of the business of business adds further fuel.

Looking ahead to the next 40 years (pity the person who tries to reflect this in any celebration of D&AD's 80th anniversary), Bullmore warns that the winners will be the companies that combine an informed sense of business with "an alchemist's ability to turn strategy into enviable execution".

The losers will be those whose sole pursuit is some unanchored concept called creativity. In celebrating this creativity, Rewind has done a fine job, but it is Bullmore's piece that finally rescues the book from the shelves of the history section.

- Caroline Marshall is away.


Become a member of Campaign

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content