May 23, 2016

Sharpen your pencils

pencils

Imagine if the Oscars and the Golden Globes had almost the same trophy, a bald nude muscled man standing on a plinth holding a sword. Like Jason Stratham in a homo-erotic King Arthur movie. Wouldn’t it be confusing? Well in the past week both the One Show and D&AD handed out pencil trophies to the advertising and design industry. Which pencil is more coveted than the other? Is one sharper than the other in terms of reputation? Let’s have a duel to the death as I take a look at what these two award  festivals recognised as some of the best work.

 

Round 1 – It’s a virtual world

Virtual reality is the buzzword of the moment. Until recently everyone talked about “transmedia storytelling” until the word trans came to mean something quite different. So what did the these rival pencil select from all the innovative VR submissions this year?

Y&R New Zealand picked up a Wood Pencil from D&AD in the Branding/Brand Experience & Environments category. But it’s not VR as we know it. With a real twist, customers thought they were in a driving simulator, only to find out they were experiencing the real deal.

In the One Show corner we have a different approach with this Gold Pencil winner in the mobile category. VR doesn’t have always mean wearing an anti-social headset. McCann Paris developed a mobile app for L’Oreal which let’s anyone apply makeup virtually. D&AD just gave this one a Graphite pencil 🙁

Round 1 winner – Hard to compare such different uses of virtual reality from two very different categories but I would go for One Show’s choice with the Make Up genius. A more useful and smart way to use VR that drives buzz and sales.

 

Round 2 – Advertising isn’t dead

Yes, there is so much talk about how traditional advertising is dying because everyone is too busy watching cat videos on their mobile phones. But even if the TVC doesn’t have the same power it once had when the whole family would sit around the goggle box for hours each evening, there is still nothing quite as brilliant as a highly-creative, well-crafted piece of film. Both One Show and D&AD celebrate this art and each has given pencils to what they think is the very best of the bunch.

adam&eveDDB continue to produce outstanding work for Harvey Nichols and this film using CCTV footage of real shoplifters continues that tradition. D&AD gave out a coveted Yellow pencil for this. One Show gave it gold but it seems just that bit harder to get the Yellow pencil.

As for One Show, my pick of the gold winners has to be this spot for Old Spice. They continue putting a splash of humour on everything and “Rocket Car” from Wieden+Kennedy is a worthy successor of the previous (legendary) Old Spice films.

Round 2 winner – I have to hand it to D&AD for choosing a worthy winner.

 

Round 3 – Let’s make a change

It’s still the hottest trend in award shows, brands trying to do good by showing the world how they should live, think, feel, act etc. Maybe I’m being a little cynical but we do live in a hyper politically correct world these days. Brands have to walk the talk or be slammed for not doing the right thing. So what stood out in these two rival award shows?

One Show gave a Best in Show Award to a brand that said no to consumerism. You might have seen videos of shoppers on America’s Black Friday fighting in the aisles for discounted biscuits. Outdoor retailer REI decided to live by its beliefs and close their stores on that day and encourage people to go outside instead. D&AD only gave a Wood pencil for this project – that’s harsh.

But there was one project that ruled both pencils…

It’s Y&R New Zealand that strike again with a winner that was recognised by both sides of the pencil war. It’s only fair to make peace and declare round two a draw as both the One Show and D&AD gave out lots of pencils for the McWhopper Peace Day project. Even if McDonald’s didn’t accept to pool their resources (and ingredients), the public took it upon themselves to unilaterally unite the Big Mac and the Whopper.

Round 3 (and overall) winner – In the spirit of peace we’ll bring the pencil war to a close, bringing these rival award shows together and declaring the final winner One&AD.

May 25, 2015

Sharper ideas

Hot on the heels of the One Show winners we now have D&AD pencil winners to admire. I’ve selected some of my favourites, ones that I haven’t shared here before…

Yellow pencil winners

Geico – Unskippable
The Martin Agency

Most pre-roll ads just beg to be skipped. But this one was designed to get the message across in a flash then make you want to watch the whole thing. They even created an extended version of one of the ads which I’m showing below. Can’t resist a naughty dog.

 

Issey Miyake – message
Tymote

Can’t find the full case video but this is a taste of a project developed in Japan with beautiful animated typography using Issey Miyake products so people could send customised messages.

 

White Pencil winners

Burger King – Proud Whopper
David the Agency Brazil

I love campaigns that piss people off. Especially ignorant bigots. It’s a super simple idea but really well executed. White Pencil winners are all about work for important causes. LGBT being the most fashionable one right now. Until Bruce Jenner makes us all sick of hearing about it.

 

Rainbow Laces
Lucky Generals

Another campaign supporting gay rights. It won’t change the mind of most morons but at least loads of brands get to show how politically correct they are…

 

Graphite Pencil

Luxottica – Penny the Pirate
Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney

Really smart idea to get young kids to have their eyes tested and to prey on the minds of paranoid parents.

 

Foxtel – Zombie Followers
Clemenger BBDO Sydney

I love anything to do with zombies so I had to choose this as my last selection. How to make maximum buzz with minimum bucks.

 

 

There were 5 Black Pencil winners. None I wanted to share here but check them out for yourself.

To me, D&AD is the ultimate award. Cannes has become ruled by scam. So congratulations to all this year’s pencil winners.

June 13, 2013

D&AD Winners

Great sum up of the winning projects at D&AD. Check them all out on the Creative Review Blog.

My personal favorite has to be Help I Want To Save a Life by Droga5 (video above). Donor registration kits are included with packs of Help Remedies plasters. Blood is collected on the plasters and are then sent t0 the donor centre affiliated with the project who will then follow up if they find donor matches. It’s smart design that does good for society by thinking of new uses for an everyday object.

June 4, 2010

D&AD Winners

Last night the D&AD winners were announced at a gala dinners in London. No big surprises to be honest but the winners definitely deserved their pencils. Here are a couple of my favourites:

Developed by Domani Studios, this site was launched as a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch. Commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the site enabled a whole new generation to experience the mission just as it happened in 1969. It allows users to track the entire process of the Apollo 11 mission from launch to moon landing. This unique experience mixes photos, audio, and transmissions between the spacecraft and mission control. All of this is presented in real time, allowing the user to experience the events as they happened. Check it out here.

It won a Yellow Pencil in the digital advertising campaigns and in the website categories.

Droga 5 Australia won a Yellow Pencil for the V Australia campaign. The whole thing used Twitter and was called 4320:LA. 4320 is the number of minutes they were challenging people to tweet – one tweet per minute on their new 3 day LA holiday packages. All you had to do was tweet why you should be the one to win the ultimate non-stop tweeting holiday through their twitter interface. Check it out here.

All the winners should be appearing on their website once they get over their hangovers…

May 31, 2010

Art direction and digital

Following on from my series on the David Ogilvy book “Confession of an Advertising Man”, I should be covering the chapter How to write potent copy. But I am skipping to the one after that while waiting for a copywriter colleague who is helping me put something meaningful together. So we will be covering How to illustrate Advertisements and Posters.

David Ogilvy devoted a whole chapter to creating illustrations/images for advertising. He believed that they “should work as hard to sell the product” as copy and headlines. In the book he states that the subject of the illustration is more important than the technique. That they must “arouse the reader’s curiosity”. He refers to “story appeal” and talks about the eye patch that he put on the star of the Hathaway campaign – one of Ogilvy’s classic success stories.

What would he make of art direction in the digital age? Perhaps he would be horrified by the motion graphics and rule-breaking nature of online communication. Or maybe he would love the instant results of digital campaigns and would forgive their flashy visual nature. Let’s look at what kind of art direction works well today…

The first challenge is how to define digital art direction. With more campaigns using the same visual assets on and offline it is becoming harder to isolate specific examples of pure digital art direction. Then you have multiple disciplines within digital art direction such as interface design, animation, motion graphics and more. Probably the best place to start are the D&AD Awards that champion art direction above the idea behind the piece itself.

In terms of Interface and Navigation there are many projects that forgo the rules of simple usability for a more experimental and experiential approach. One of the 2009 winners was 12 CAMS, CREATE YOUR RAINBOW for the band Radiohead. By integrating video footage and a clever interface they created a way for users to interact extensively with both media. Every user’s action was recorded as a piece of a rainbow. At the end, the resulting rainbow containing everyone’s feelings into one piece of art.

This style of art direction relies heavily on the data-centric nature of the web and uses data visualization as its main design theme. Even the video footage was extremely pixelated that adds to the glitchy nature of Radiohead’s music.

Good design online should make people want to explore. Take this award winning campaign site from Poke London for Orange which brings to life the advertising concept that good things should never end. Many people believe that the best websites should never make people scroll. This one scrolls forever. Along the way you will learn things about the product and be entertained too.

Uniqlo have continued to build an instantly identifiable brand image partly thanks to the work they’ve done online. They have created their own unique language that goes from the style of typography through to the videos that mix seamlessly in their websites. Not only is the design a masterclass in simplicity but the thinking that goes into their digital work really makes them stand apart.

When it comes to graphic design, one big trend in digital is the Apple school of art direction featuring white spaces, highly polished images and (of course) reflective surfaces. Take the Heinz “Talk to the plant” project from Daddy. Every pixel is polished to perfection. The 3D animation of the plants is beautifully rendered. It makes you want to lick the screen.

Another trend is non-design. When design is reduced to a minimum to take down any barriers between people and what they are looking for… it creates a whole new approach to art direction. How more minimalistic can Google’s homepage get? Now they even have navigation hidden on first load then it slowly appears. A great example of non-design is the Modernista website. Or rather a floating navigation that guides you to content about the agency wherever it may be online. There is no actual website. Try selling that to a client.

So unlike David Ogilvy’s book there are no real rules any more when it comes to art direction. But it has to be noticed by the audience and be true to the brand. Designers, you have more freedom than every before. Use it wisely.

June 16, 2009

Digital @ D&AD

The D&AD Awards last week recognised the very best in advertising, design and digital from around the world.

radiohead

Some worthy gold pencil winners in the digital category included the Radiohead 12 Cams project from Japan agency Bascule Inc. This brilliant extension of the concert experience involved 12 camera operators covering the live performance on stage and then projecting those streams onto giant screens behind the band. On the site you have access to all 12 camera feeds and as the song “15 Step” from In Rainbows is performed by the band. You can switch between each feed and assemble your own “rainbow” or mix. You can then playback your mix, save it and view mixes by other users.

barnardosIn the online advertising category a gold went to BBH London for their Barnardo’s video banner. This charity helps protect vunerable children and the ad shows a girl’s life spiralling out of control in a vicious cycle. Only when you touched the banner does the video stop.

Check out the advert on the Barnardos website.

dog

In the mobile category I loved the entry from M&C Saatchi Australia for the Sydney Dogs & Cats home. This virtual dog was put on a large outdoor screen and people were invited to Throw a Bone via SMS. The dog would then catch the bone and perform tricks.


silverman

No gold pencils in the viral category but a black pencil for copywriting. That went to Droga5 for the Great Schlep video featuring politically incorrect Sarah Silverman.

Check out all the winners, digital and traditional, at the D&AD site.