D & AD and the Yellow Haired Trophies

Thanks D & AD, for a great evening last wednesday.

Hats off to the organisers for deciding to jetison the awards do formula of having an overpaid comedian present the awards in between quips about what a silly industry advertising is (as you sometimes get when Simon Amstell, Stephen Mangan, Edith Bowman et.al. are at the mic).

Instead they chose two people who knew the work and cared about the work – Neville Brody and Timothy Lindsay, both of whom did a great job.

So that decision was a genuine improvement. But it was undone by another less progressive decision.

‘We might not have a comedian to hand over the pencils to the winners, but don’t worry’ said Tim, ‘we’ve still got a bit of glamour for you’. Shortly after, they wheeled in a tall blonde in a black dress, to er, transport the yellow pencils all of the one metre journey from behind the curtain to the presenter. There was then a succession of blondes to convey each award  to the stage (whether it was the same model each time, or there were multiple blondes, I can’t recall).

Now I may have been O.D.ing on Caitlin Moran at the moment, so my apologies if this comes over as a feminist rant, but…


Did we really need a trophy blonde to carry in the pencils? It felt like something out of Madmen. Only, the first season, back when Peggy was still making Don’s coffee and playing piano like a dog.

Nothing against blondes here (I am one, in fact). But what was weird was the way she was there to ‘add glamour’ as opposed to anything more cerebral.

This, combined with the fact that only a handful of women went up all night to collect awards (the under-representation of women in adland is a whole other rant for another day), and it all felt a bit weird and old-fashioned. What was worse was that she didn’t even award them to the winners! She just handed them to Neville and Tim. So they could then hand them to the winners. So she was essentially a well-dressed conveyor belt.

Perhaps all they needed instead was some natty Ikea shelving hidden under the lecturn, so they could pick them up before handing them to the winners?

Or, here’s a better suggestion from Nat:

Why not give this conveyor belt honour to some up and coming creatives, or to this year’s D & AD student award nominees? Give tomorrow’s Hegarties and Tagholms the honour of shaking the hand of the winners of today.  Maybe it’s a little cheesy (or reminiscent of the Olympic ceremony) but isn’t nurturing tomorrow’s talent what D & AD is all about? As opposed to helping women fulfil their arm candy potential, I mean.

Now, has anyone got a lighter? I’m just off to burn my bra.