D&AD, alongside other awards schemes such as the One Show and Cannes Lions, are seen as offering a snapshot of the very best work in advertising each year. This year’s winners list from advertising features some excellent work, but a number of great projects also slipped through the net: here’s our pick of the ones that got away…
Before we begin, it’s worth offering up an obvious caveat to this piece. Award schemes are notoriously fickle, depending on issues such as whether the work has been entered into the right category, whether it will resonate with a global panel, and – whisper it – politics between agencies. However, despite this, the hope is that the best work will always rise to the top. This year, while some very worthy work has been recognised, we feel that there are some surprising absences too.
Many of those are digital projects. Second Chance, a clever charity project by Leo Burnett for BITC that was aimed at raising awareness of the difficulties ex-offenders face in job interviews, is In Book but missed out on a Pencil, while Blinkwashing for Virgin by Mother New York wasn’t even nominated (we don’t know for sure if it was entered, but assume it was). Both of these campaigns featured creative use of tech (the ‘Skip Ad’ button in the former, and webcams in the latter) to create compelling campaigns.
A number of great digital music video works have also been left out of the Pencils. Pharrell Williams’ 24 Hours of Happy project has been awarded In Book status but nothing more – perhaps a 24-hour long interactive video was just too gimmicky when placed against the filmic videos that won (the incredible Pursuit for Gesaffelstein and uncomfortably great Dancing Anymore for Is Tropical both picked up Yellow Pencils in the newly reinstated Music Videos category). Likewise the excellent Like A Rolling Stone website sadly didn’t make it any further than In Book and nor did Vincent Morisset’s ambitious interactive project Reflektor for Arcade Fire – it feels a shame that these interactive experiments in music aren’t getting their due from D&AD.
Elsewhere, it was also surprising that the John Lewis Christmas ad, Bear & Hare, didn’t pick up a Pencil for craft. While the ad itself seems a little divisive – its sentiment proves joyous to some, yet cloying to others – the story of its making is compelling (and told in full here). Similarly, Wieden + Kennedy London’s Honda Hands idents are also an unexpected absentee from this year’s gongs.
But perhaps this is just the fun and games of all awards schemes – if everything we thought should appear did, where would the interest be? And what would we have to talk about afterwards?