And who would have predicted that the Paralympics – previously regarded as the poor relation of the ‘main’ event - would surpass the ‘warm-up’ for emotion, drama and brilliance?
I can’t resist repeating the best comment on the opening ceremony I saw at the time. Alastair Campbell tweeted that it was Danny Boyle ‘explaining the Big Society to David Cameron’. It really was.
At D&AD judging in April we got a wonderful reminder of those magical times, with at least a dozen pieces of Olympic and Paralympic work entered. It was the Olympic Torch that initially got everyone excited; there must have been a hundred photographs of people holding it on Facebook and Twitter by the end of the first morning.
So excited did one jury foreperson become at the wealth of Olympic entries that she insisted that we run a special feature in this year’s Annual, grouping the entries and even bringing in some things that hadn’t been entered. And she was American. Good idea though.
I’m going to pick out a few of my favourites, all winner’s at this year’s D&AD Awards.
The aforementioned Torch, by BarberOsgerby, was lovely; tactile, technical and shiny. People couldn’t resist picking it up - and it was surrounded by a lot of other very beautiful things. We practically had to mount a 24 hour guard on it. It won a coveted Yellow Pencil at this year’s ceremony.
Two little words impressed the Writing for Brands’ jury. Games Maker. The entry film explained how McCann had come up with the phrase and how it had transformed the outlook, behaviour and remit of the 80,000 volunteers, literally making the Games. The idea has been lifted in its entirety by Brazil for both the World Cup in 2014 and their Olympics in 2016. Brilliant copywriting.
Talking of beauty, Heatherwick Studio’s Olympic Cauldron took the breath away, when it was revealed on that glittering opening night of course, and then again at judging. Apparently the brief asked for simplicity. The response? A highly complex and outstandingly lovely sculpture with 204 moving parts that worked perfectly as it ignited the event.
4Creative’s ‘thanks for the warm-up’ posters were witty, engaging and right on the money – pitching the Paralympics to a semi-sated public so confidently that you just couldn’t ignore them.
But for me the stand-out work in a stand-out year of celebrating what for many were the best British events in living memory (what’s wrong with a bit of hyperbole?) was 4Creative’s ‘Meet the Superhumans’. It’s gorgeously shot and edited and the music is fantastic. It out-muscles Nike at its most macho. It’s one of those ‘wouldn’t change a frame’ commercials that comes along once every ten years.
But most of all it’s inspires jaw dropping awe. It makes you want to cry with admiration. One juror, unashamedly and rather wonderfully, did have tears rolling down his cheeks the first time he saw it. And best of all it has radically changed attitudes to the world’s ‘superhumans’ and the rest of the world’s differently abled people. Superhumans deservedly won a Black Pencil – our top accolade – this year.
Pencils or not, congratulations to everyone involved.
Tim Lindsay is CEO at D&AD