D&AD in the water

Yellow Pencils 

Quite funny to see the polarity of views about digital at the Design and Art Direction (D&AD) awards – the most respected forum for rewards creativity and craft in the advertising industry.

On the one hand, you got Jeremy Garner from LBi waxing lyrically about how exciting it is that both Nike+ and Leo Burnett Canada got black pencils (the top award), and for very different styles of work. And then there’s the other bunch quoted by Robin Grant here, who are traditional advertising people saying that the work simply isn’t very good, it’s not of a very high standard and the D&AD judges are getting carried away by the tide of digital.

I think Nike+ is brilliant. Like Run London before it, it’s a brilliant piece of lateral marketing. Does it deserve a black pencil for creativity and craft? Nope. It’s fine but it’s not beautiful.

What about the Leo Burnett site? Well it is – as Jeremy says – an absolute treat. The craft skills are incredibly evident. And yet the site itself feels a little bit like a party trick, but a good trick at that.

So (imo) Nike is brilliant but doesn’t really deserve the award, Leos might deserve the award but is kind of irrelevant.

And, true enough, The banners and buttons that have been awarded do seem to fall short of their offline competitors. Actually, I think that’s simply because digital craft skills are a long way off their traditional counterparts. And, of course, so are budgets. But it must also be at least in part that effectiveness is no longer so closely tied to creativity, and that (deep breath) the primacy of the “big idea” is in doubt.

Is the real loser in all this actually D&AD themselves, are their criteria for success simply less relevant today?

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