Last Thursday was a record night for radio at the D&AD Awards. With 16 entries awarded ‘In Book’ Status and 8 nominations, a total of 3 Yellow Pencils were awarded: the highest number of honours since 2004.
Awarded agencies included Be Bravo, USA for “Leica”, Net#work BDDO, Johannesburg for “Mercedes-Benz” and Grey, South Africa for “The Nelson Mandela Foundation”. Warren Brown, Creative Founder at BMF and Foreman of the D&AD Radio Jury said “Great writing, great production and great ideas are evergreen at D&AD and in the industry as a whole – and that’s what we’re looking for when we’re judging the radio category here – it’s an awards that really honours and recognises the craft involved.”
At a time when questions are being raised about the quality of writing for radio, writing for advertising in general and about language and literacy in a much broader context, it was fantastic to see this standard of creativity within the category and the strength of craft and story-telling. One thing that struck me was that two of the pencils awarded were given to categories that are purportedly difficult to bring to life on radio. Leica is an inherently visual product but the script succeeds in stimulating the imagination to create pictures through sound. Mercedes Benz was also awarded a Yellow Pencil although car advertising is notoriously considered a ‘difficult’ category to write for.
Another thing that struck me was the absence of UK entries on the shortlist, the worthy exception being AMV BDDO’s nomination for the Metropolitan Police. Britain prides itself on being a nation that loves language – indeed all the awarded entries were written in English – yet UK scripts were scarce at D&AD.
Whether UK agencies prefer to focus their sights on other categories at awards, or whether there is a lack of skill/confidence in radio writing in the UK is up for discussion. Through partnering with D&AD in such initiatives as our Inspiration sessions (being piloted at AMV, Ogilvy, McCann and Adam & Eve) the RAB is committed to offering its support to agencies and helping them to deliver a consistently higher standard of radio writing in the country.
And here’s hoping for a British Yellow Pencil in 2013!