Kiwi agencies put in strong performance at D&AD Awards: attention now turns to Yellow Pencils

It was a case of the usual suspects with last week’s announcement of the D&AD Awards nominations, as most of the recent winners at the Axis Awards were also honoured with nominations for the international show.

Regarded as one of the world’s toughest awards shows, D&AD receives entries from across the globe and it usually gives a decent indication of how nations compare creatively.  

At past events, New Zealand has confirmed itself as a creative hub, and this year’s shortlist of potential yellow pencil winners served to reiterate this point.

This year, the nominations were categorised into 13 categories: TV & Cinema Advertising, Film Advertising Craft, Art Direction, Radio, Writing for Advertising, Digital Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Packaging Design, Graphic Design, Music Videos, Branding, Direct and the White Pencil (awarded for campaigns that further a social cause). 

In total, the 52nd edition of the annual awards show attracted 683 awarded entries, an increase of 69 from 2013. 202 of these entries were awarded nominated status, which means that they will be able to vie for coveted yellow pencils when these are awarded on May 22.

A host of other entries were also honoured with ‘in book’ status, which means that they will feature in D&AD’s annual edition, which will be released in September this year. 

From a local perspective, FCB led the charge winning nominations for the ‘Devil’s Chair (Animation for Film Advertising),’ ‘Brothers in Arms’ (Direct Response and Digital), ‘Food Photos Save Lives’ (Integrated Mobile) campaigns.

FCB executive creative director Regan Grafton says that he hopes at least one of the campaigns picks up a yellow pencil in May.

Given that NZI’s ‘Devil Chair’ campaign  resulted in a Craft Grand Prix in the Animation/Design/Visual Effects category as well as two gold awards for Assembly at the Axis Awards, this could be the campaign that’s most likely to win a yellow pencil when the time comes. 

This being said, the Axis and A&AD awards have in the past diverged in their respective opinions of what merited awards. Two years ago, there was a slight furor in the industry when it was announced that Clemenger’s ‘Ghost Chips’ had won a yellow pencil (traditionally considered more difficult to win), but not an Axis Grand Prix.           

This year, Clemenger is again in the running with campaign developed for the New Zealand Transport Association, as ‘Blazed’ was nominated in TV commercials category for spots between 60 and 120 seconds long. And Blazed also rendered a good result for Curious Film, with the production company receiving an in book spot in the Direction for Film Advertising category.  

In addition to this, Clemenger also received an in book allocation for its ‘Expert Opinion’ campaign, which was also crafted for the NZTA.

Colenso BBDO, the other big winner at the Axis Awards, has also been acknowledged with nominations for the Smart Phone Line (in the Ambient category) and Trial by Timeline (Art Direction for Direct and Direct Response categories) campaigns. ‘Trial by Timeline’ also received an in book nod in the Animation and Illustration for Digital Marketing Campaign category.

Whybin\TBWA’s decision to do some pro-bono work for Minds for Minds has also paid off, with this campaign pulling in a few awards at the event.

“Our Minds for Minds works seemed to buck the ‘Axis trend’ at D&AD by picking up a ‘Silver Nomination, Writing for design’ and ‘In-Book, Writing for Direct’. Considerably better than it did at Axis where it only got a bronze in Craft and wasn’t a finalist in Charity,” says Whybin’s outgoing creative director Steve Kane. 

Well-awarded design agency Alt Group continued its vein of good form by being nominated for its ‘Identity’ campaign for Silo Theatre. In addition to this, the agency also won a spot in the D&AD annual edition in the Poster (Graphic Design) category for its summer campaign for the theatre.  


In the highly competitive category for TV commercials between 41 and 60 seconds, DDB was honoured with an in book spot for its ‘Be the Artist’ campaign for Lion. 

And a similar fate befell New Zealand’s other popular beer commercial from last year, as Saatchi & Saatchi NZ missed out on a nomination for its ‘Beer Plumber’ but will receive some consolation in September when the campaign features in the prestigious D&AD edition.   

List of New Zealand nominations (now in contention for yellow pencils)  

  • Alt Group – Silo Theatre season 2013 poster in the Graphic Design (Poster) category
  • Colenso BBDO – ‘Smart Phone Line’ for Samsung in the Ambient category and ‘Trial by Timeline’ for Amnesty International in Direct Response/Digital and Art Direction for Direct categories   
  • Clemenger – ‘Blazed’ for NZTA in the TV Commercials between 61 and 120 seconds category
  • Whybin\TBWA – ‘Meeting of Minds’ in the Writing for Design category
  • FCB – ‘Brothers in Arms – Bank Job’ in the  Direct Response/Digital category, ‘Devil’s Chair’ for NZI in the Animation for Film Advertising category and Food Photos Save Lives for UNICEF in the Integrated Mobile Campaigns category

​Click here to see the full list of nominations and in book winners.

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