Best of the Pencils.


Matt Watts, CD at hunch, shares some of his favourite winning campaigns from this year’s D&AD awards.

Earlier this year, ad folk from all corners of the globe congregated in London for the 2018 D&AD awards. Widely regarded as the world’s preeminent advertising awards show, it features 28 categories, where work can be awarded a Wood, Graphite, Yellow or Black Pencil.

This just so happened to line up perfectly with my turn for FIMO, so I spent five minutes inspiring the team with five of my favourite campaigns from the show. Here they are.


The phrase ‘game-changing’ gets thrown around a fair bit these days. A little too easily, perhaps. But when a campaign instigates the changing of a nation’s entire immigration policy, it’s fair to say it’s earned the tag. Now, instead of getting the typical entry stamp you’d expect at an arrival gate, visitors to Palau must sign a pledge to ‘tread lightly, act kindly and explore mindfully’ during their time on the small island nation. It was one of just three campaigns to pick up a coveted Black Pencil – and even the most jealous of anonymous blog commenters would struggle to argue with that.

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 Most of the big winners at award shows these days aren’t ‘ads’ in the traditional sense. Instead, they’re game-changing (there’s that word again) solutions to serious problems. One of my favourites from this year was ‘The Immunity Charm’. Everything about it just works. Beautifully. Problem: for a number of reasons, families in Afghanistan are losing track of their children’s immunisation records. Solution: stop using paper records and start using coloured beads on a bracelet that’s already deeply rooted in Afghan culture. An absolute cracker.

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I was massively encouraged to see this reactive response from KFC pick up a Yellow Pencil. Because it’s so stupidly simple. And in an industry where all the attention seems to be on VR, FR and RFID, it’s nice to see the simple movement of one letter in a headline recognised for the genius that it is. I love the bravery. I love the tone. I love it all.

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I love everything about this. It can often be easy to spot scenarios where the idea’s come first, followed by a client and a ‘brief’, retro-fitted to bring it to life. There’s no chance of that here. Having seen on the news that the Glasgow School of Art had burned to the ground, the creative department at JWT London quickly clocked a way to turn the disaster into a fundraiser. Retrieve ash from the fire, send it to famous artists and ask them to make magic, then auction their pieces to raise money to rebuild the school. Genius.

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I love an idea with a bit of passion and angst in it. So naturally, ‘The most German Supermarket’ appeals. To make a bold statement about diversity, German Supermarket, ‘Edeka’, pulled every product that wasn’t made in Germany off their shelves for a day. And while some might scoff at a quick and easy ‘stunt’, I prefer to think of it as a smart, tangible demonstration. One that, thanks to the power of Social Media, managed to make its way around the world.

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Matt Watts