It's been an eventful year to be the president of D&AD. We've had the recession, of course, and then, on the eve of the judging, an erupting volcano. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the judges who overcame the odds to get to Olympia, and to those who cleared their schedules to fill in.
From a staggering 20,000 entries, this year's juries voted 558 pieces of work into the book and nominated 134 for Pencils. (You can see all the work online at awards.dandad.org.) Today, we're going to whittle the numbers down further, to my favourite dozen.
My first choice is a competition where the winner had to overcome even tougher odds than entering D&AD. Thirty-five thousand people applied for The Best Job In The World.
The campaign itself is up for two Pencils. The idea is so well-known now, we almost take it for granted. We shouldn't. It's a brilliant leap of thinking. Rather than write another invisible tourism campaign for the Great Barrier Reef, CumminsNitro's idea got the area splashed all over the world.
Staying down under, I have to include The Treehouse Restaurant. I should declare an interest here - it's a BBDO entry involving my old partner Nick Worthington. Blatant plug of network and mate aside, this is a great piece of work that stamped the Yellow Pages brand all over the Kiwi consciousness. An ordinary person was asked to create the Treehouse using only businesses found in the Yellow Pages. The Treehouse hit the news and was soon in demand as a restaurant. And it reminded consumers of the big yellow book that might have been gathering dust on the shelves.
Judging at D&AD takes stamina and determination. And some juries need more than others. While the sunlight streamed in through the glass and iron roof at Olympia, the Website and Digital Advertising juries spent days in darkened rooms. You could say their choice of Apple.com was an easy one - Apple frequently gets nominated at D&AD. But the company just seems to have the knack for designing beautiful, functional things, and this website was no exception.
The "Sounds of Hamburg" from Jung von Matt was nominated for two Pencils. The Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra wanted to modernise its image and attract new fans. The website beautifully juxtaposes live streaming images from around the city with music that you generate by clicking on people, cars, even ships.
I'm really excited by the developments in advertising right now. It's a great time to be working in the industry - there are so many new ways of doing things and new media to explore.
But it's also nice to see that there are still some great TV ads being made.
"Fantastic Journey", by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R for Virgin Media, is one of them, deservedly picking up five nominations in TV & Cinema Crafts.
I've seen a few ads where the seducer is hiding in the wardrobe, but I've never seen it done like "The Closet" for Canal+ by BETC Euro RSCG. The joy of the ad is that it really is impossible to guess where the narrative is taking you - or even what it's for. Yet it's completely riveting and compels you to watch right to the very end. I won't say too much more, though - I don't want to ruin it for you.
Lots of design caught my eye as I looked around Olympia. I was spellbound by one tableful until somebody pointed out I was looking at work that hadn't got in. D&AD judges really do redefine tough.
One piece of design that did make it was "Phonetikana" from Johnson Banks. It's inspired by many trips to Japan and the resulting frustration at being unable to read the language. Combining English phonetics with Japanese letterforms is a brilliant, bold, simple idea. I love its ambition. I love its lack of subtlety. I love the fact it will create interest and comment.
Innocent is a brand with a strong identity and tone of voice - no surprise given the company was founded by ex-advertising people. Innocent was quick to realise that its packaging was one of the biggest opportunities for communicating with its customers, and it has worked really hard to get it right. It comes across as anything but hard work, though. This range of packaging nominated in Writing for Design takes a health theme, and, instead of making it seem preachy or worthy, gives it the trademark Innocent style.
It's no mean feat to turn a symbol of oppression into a campaign for freedom of speech. But TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris has done exactly that with the "Trillion Dollar Flyer". Following its exile from the country, The Zimbabwean newspaper needed to drive sales outside Zimbabwe. The agency used the worthless currency to send a clear message about the newspaper's objectives. It's so simple, but it feels really fresh. The campaign is nominated in no less then three categories. To come up with this bold idea, and then make it happen, puts this work right up there with the best in my book.
I'm passionate about the craft of film, but these days I'm even more interested in the world of integrated. And that's why I love the work for the V&A. "Recode Decode" was an exhibition of digital work and the digital artist Karsten Schmidt created this beautiful visual identity which the public could play and interact with. Further proof that museums like the V&A aren't the fusty, pretentious places some people imagine they are.
People love something for nothing. But they want things even more when there's some value in it for them. There's a story about a man who left some unwanted furniture on the pavement with a sign saying: FREE - PLEASE TAKE.
It didn't shift. So the guy had another go and put a sign on the furniture saying: £5 - ENQUIRE WITHIN. It was stolen within five minutes.
I loved Ikea's "Facebook Showroom". The store manager posted photographs of all the items in the store and invited Facebook friends to tag the product they wanted the most. If you got there first, you got it for free. As you might expect, this created lots of attention for the brand and, despite giving stuff away, increased sales.
Well, that's my opinion. The judges' verdicts will be announced at the D&AD awards ceremony and dinner tonight (3 June). There's still time to book a ticket, or you can watch it live online at awards.dandad.org.
- Paul Brazier is the executive creative director at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.