Every year, the team at D&AD brings together 250 of the world’s best designers, advertisers, and creatives. Together it looks at around 25,000 pieces of work and from that work it generates some seriously searing insights into the creative industry.
Then, it bundles it all up into an easily-digestible PDF – the D&AD Insight Report – and a thousand stubbly men in spotless studios up and down the country delicately tap the arm of a pair of Ace and Tate’s on their lower lip, lapping it all up. They nod sagely, in unison. “Yes,” the collective voice murmurs, “yes, this seems about right.”
Consistently endeavouring to map “changes and patterns in consumer behaviour, brand and businesses’ responses, and the role of technology as an influencing force and enabling tool for advertisers, communicators and creatives,” the assembled judges have this year decreed that the dominant trends fall under three pillars: first, “What it means to be human”, then “the impact of increasingly fractured societies” and “how technology is changing the way we assess and share information.”
There’s something oddly calming about this semi-dystopian approach, isn’t there? A kind of Blitz for the hyper-fragmented unreality of the all too real present day. We’re all in this hellscape together, right? Right! As ever, the report provides concrete examples of the thematic concerns highlighted.
In the first category, we’re told that campaigns like David Miami’s anti-bullying spot for Burger King, and the breast cancer awareness ad conjured up by the Classic Partnership Advertising for Medcare Women, are showcasing an ever-growing desire within the industry to increasingly participate in conversations around physical and mental wellbeing.
When it comes to brands and agencies examining a place in an increasingly dislocated world, the D&AD panel decided to doff its cap to the campaigns which used humour as a valuable tool, praising KFC and Coca Cola (amongst others) for continued attempts to marry mirth and message.
“Technology,” the report says, “is truly wonderful.” While this point is eminently debatable – and if you want to talk about it at punishing length, we’ll be in a pub if your choice at 7pm on the dot this coming Friday – brands that seem to share the D&AD mindset include Hermes, Google, and The Times.
“As this report shows, change and disruption are inevitable. As humans needs evolve, social and political changes bring about uncertainty and technology forces us to question our role as creatives, some will approach it all with fear,” the report concludes. “Fear of the unknown. Fear of change.”
Stymie some of those fears by tucking into the D&AD Insight Report 2019 over your lunchtime salad.