LONDON—Wieden + Kennedy Portland and Droga5 continue to dominate the 2019 awards circuit, today sharing top honors at the D&AD Awards alongside four other marketers.
The U.S. agencies each won a Black Pencil, D&AD’s highest award—generally considered one of the most difficult advertising accolades to win.
Droga5’s The Truth Is Worth It campaign for The New York Times was one of the London-based festival’s biggest winners, taking home two Black Pencils—one for Droga5 as creative agency and one for production house Furlined. The campaign also won seven Yellow Pencils (gold), four Graphite Pencils (silver) and three Wood Pencils (bronze).
Wieden + Kennedy again won for its Nike Dream Crazy campaign, whose launch featured polarizing quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Earlier this month, that work won 10 golds at The One Show, where W+K Portland was also named Agency of the Year. At D&AD, the campaign also won three Yellow Pencils, one Graphite Pencil and one Wood Pencil.
Other Black Pencil winners included:
• London-based AMV BBDO’s “Viva La Vulva” film for feminine care company Essity (sold globally under various brand names such as Bodyform or Libresse).
• Australia’s BWM Dentsu for its “Project Revoice” campaign with The ALS Association.
• Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller, an accessibility project designed to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility.
In the 57-year history of D&AD, the festival had only awarded 154 Black Pencils before this year’s awards, making it one of the rarest and most hard-fought honors in the marketing world, said D&AD CEO Tim Lindsay.
Some years, no Black Pencils have been awarded. This year’s total of six top awards is one of the highest in the festival’s history, with the record standing at seven in one year.
“The work I have seen has been fantastic and everyone on the jury and everyone who has seen the final list of Pencil-winning work has been knocked out by the quality,” Lindsay said. “It is a hugely encouraging sign for the buoyant and vibrant direction of our industry.”
In terms of film, one clear favorite among jurors this year was AMV BBDO’s “Viva La Vulva,” directed by Kim Gehrig for the Essity family of brands as a follow-up to the highly admired #BloodNormal campaign that sought to shatter the stigmas around periods. The new spot, created to promote the company’s new line of new daily intimate care products such as washes and wipes, features an array of visual metaphors for women’s vulvas and a stirring anthem in 1975’s “Take Yo’ Praise” from Camille Yarbrough.
“We thought, if we’re going to enter this category, we have to break down taboos, but we have to also break down the shame that goes around using these products,” Martina Poulopati, global brand communications manager for Essity, tells Adweek. “You should be fine with taking care of your vulva. You should love it and you should care for it, and you should just feel happy about it. You should celebrate it.”
“It’s brilliantly crafted,” Lindsay said of the spot, “as well as being a joyful idea.”
In addition to its Black Pencil, “Viva La Vulva” won four Yellow Pencils, two Graphite Pencils and two Wood Pencils for AMV BBDO and production partner Somesuch.
Here’s a look back at the other two Black Pencil winners, Project Revoice for The ALS Association and the Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller:
Other big winners at D&AD this year included:
• Droga5, named Agency of the Year, largely based on the success of its New York Times work. Second place went to London’s adam&eveDDB (whose 84 Project for suicide awareness and “The Boy and the Piano” for John Lewis & Partners were both highly awarded), and McCann New York (honored for its Universal Love project with MGM Grand Resorts, partnerships with March for Our Lives and National Geographic’s Astronaut Reality Helmets).
• Jones Knowles Ritchie, named Design Agency of the Year.
• Academy Films, named Production Company of the Year.
• Apple, named Client of the Year.
• Artist and stage designer Es Devlin, recipient of the President’s Award for creative excellence.
The United States led the world in Pencils won, with 223. Britain came in second with 158 Pencils, while Germany was third with 40.