Jonathan Kneebone's D&AD Diary - Day One

JK-IMG_0966.jpgJonathan Kneebone, director of The Glue Society, is representing Australia on the D&AD Outdoor jury, currently convened in London. Here is his Day One report, exclusive to Campaign Brief


It's a modern disease. It can certainly cause irritation (mostly amongst those on the receiving end). And is highly likely to have side effects which result in depression or at the very least disappointment (mostly in the case of the entrant).

The cure? Hard as it is to do, resist the temptation.
Of the 26,000 entries this year at D&AD, I would say a fair few of them would be repeats.

JK-IMG_0969.jpgMeaning that an entry into the ambient category of outdoor may well find itself in the online film category or integrated or direct or PR or digital or quite possibly experiential design or possibly even branding section.

In some instances the lines of definition are blurry. And with a bit of self-indulgent persuasion, it has become possible to justify something as being valid for close to twenty categories. Dumb ways to die pulled off the coup.

But reading between the lines of many of the jurors this year, I would suggest the idea of hoping to win multiple awards for one piece of work just because it's sort of eligible is starting to wear thin - it's becoming a dumb way to enter.

Because, today, with so many entries to judge, the only way to separate the neat from the naff is to apply category definitions with a rod of iron.

This week, in the outdoor category alone, we've seen work which you suspect is only being put in front of us in the hope that we might be a more lenient bunch than the integrated panel or the promotion jury.

But that is beyond wishful thinking.

JK-DSC09209.jpgNot because it just so happens we're determined to be tougher bitches than everyone else. (Everyone's really lovely actually).

It's more we're determined to make sure something that receives a pencil for outdoor is genuinely worthy of recognition in this particular category.

It's fair to say we've been fairly tough. And probably toughly fair.

And things which may well have received recognition in other shows notoriously - as time has told - don't get automatic entry into the D&AD halls of fame.

The reason?

D&AD is a show which simply compares work to a set of standards. And it's a yes/no decision.   

It takes a majority of votes to get a wooden pencil. A majority of votes to then get graphite. A majority of votes to then get yellow. And 60% of votes for the black pencil jury (made up of all the various jury presidents) to give your work a black.

From what I've seen thus far, I'd say if you have even got a wooden pencil this year, you will have not only entered wisely, you will have been more than likely tougher on yourself than the juries.

That's what it takes.

D&AD won't thank me for saying enter less - as the money from entry fees here goes into education and enabling positive change for the industry.

God knows, we need the likes of D&AD Shift to bring more radical but perhaps less privileged talent into the business.

We need D&AD to help foster programmes to force agencies to change the balance and make-up of our industry.

And they are contributing to programmes all around the world - with Australia one of their primary areas of activity.

But just as those cynical gambling ads tell us after making some crass blokey gag to subsequently gamble responsibly - now might be the time to enter award shows responsibly.

kneebone1.jpgSure, you may not end up with 20 bronze trophies - but you might end up with a single far more special one.

Either way, later this week, you'll find out.

For the first time ever, the entire results of this year's D&AD show will be announced during the week of judging.

By Friday morning Australia time, the winners will know who they are.

But I suspect the people who have done truly incredible work already know.

Leave a comment