Letdown at D&AD: At the London Show, a Sense That Good Work Was Harder to Find This Year

By O'Leary, Noreen | ADWEEK, May 31, 2004 | Go to article overview

Letdown at D&AD: At the London Show, a Sense That Good Work Was Harder to Find This Year


O'Leary, Noreen, ADWEEK


As expected, London's Design & Art Direction organization threw a great party last week to toast the best of 2003's international advertising and design. Some 1,730 of the U.K.'s creative talent turned out for the event at the old Billingsgate fish market overlooking the Thames. But for all the good food and drink, there was something disappointing about the evening.

Blame it on the recent bad economy or, as Leagas Delaney's Tim Delaney proposed, the absorption of smaller shops by conglomerates. "There's no doubt agencies have done better work in the past," said Delaney, a judge in the Writing lot Advertising category. The work, he said, was "less audacious, less focused" and "fairly repetitive."

In terms of the writing, Delaney added, "A lot of the craft has gone away. Print's gone to a whole visual thing--headlines are virtually nonexistent."

But while last year, the D&AD jury--known for its exacting standards--awarded no gold awards (the highest accolade), this time, two were handed out. Neither, however, went to traditional ads. In the category of graphic design, U.K. firm Johnson Banks picked up a coveted black Pencil, representing a gold award, for its "Fruit and Veg" stamps for Royal Mail. Atleier Markgraph won for environmental design and architecture with "Ship of Ideas," a floating platform that projected lights and images on several large screens for Germany's Tourismus and Congress.

Still, many judges agreed this year was not a high point. Paul Silburn, deputy creative director at TBWA/London and chair of the Television & Cinema Advertising jury, said this year's awards book will contain half the amount of work as in past years. "It wasn't a particularly good year," he noted. "The economy hasn't been helping things.'" Submissions from the U.S. and the U.K. were the most creative, he said.

D&AD gave eight of 53 yellow Pencils, representing silver awards, to Wieden + Kennedy in London for its Honda U.K. work. "Cog," Britain's most recognized commercial this awards season, took home honors for best TV commercial over 60 seconds; the campaign, encompassing three spots ("Everyday" and "Sense" are the other two) won for TV commercials and TV campaigns.

"Cog" was bypassed for a Grand Prix at Cannes last year because of its similarity to a 1987 film made by Swiss artists, but at least one D&AD judge felt that criticism was too harsh. …

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