This year’s D&AD award winners see director Kim Gehrig take home the top prize, while AMV BBDO wins ad agency of the year

The second online ceremony in a row, this year’s awards saw three campaigns win a coveted Black Pencil, each addressing social issues.

28 May 2021

This year’s D&AD awards results have been announced with Kim Gehrig taking the top prize. The Somesuch director received the President’s Awards at last night’s awards and elsewhere, a total of 664 pencils were awarded including three Black, 63 Yellow, 190 Graphite, 390 Wood, two Hustle, five Future Impact, nine Next and two Collaborative. The three Black Pencils were awarded to work addressing important social issues. This included work around the Black Lives Matter movement, transgender identities and stigma around menstruation.

Elsewhere at the awards, AMV BBDO won advertising agency the year while Collins won design agency of the year. Taking home production company of the year was Division, while Apple was named client of the year. DDB Worldwide was also announced network of the year. For the fifth year in the row, the United States came top of the country rankings followed by the UK and France.

The digital ceremony took place last night (27 May 2021), the second virtual event in a row for D&AD. In a press release, the awards bodies stated it was “proud to see that despite an unprecedented year for the creative industries, the standard of work submitted reached the same exceptional level.” With this in mind, D&AD handed out a whopping three Black pencils, its highest accolade “reserved only for truly groundbreaking work.”

The Black Pencil’s recipients include AMV BBDO’s #wombstories, an advert for Bodyform and directed by Nisha Ganatra. Featuring a handful of animators including Haein Kim, Kate Isobel Scott, Laura Jayne Hodkin and Roos Matter, the acclaimed ad uses a diverse mix of animation styles to tell a wide range of stories about wombs. Delving into how wombs can bring great pain, sadness, joy, life and pleasure, the Black Pencil winner brings together women animators from across the world to tell their stories and “break taboos around the experiences of people with wombs.”

Other winners include McCann New York for its ad True Name. A collaboration with Mastercard, it supports the rights of transgender and non-binary people to use their chosen names on credit cards. And FCB Chicago for Boards of Change, an ad which sees plywood boards used as barricade storefronts during BLM protests turned into polling booths. In turn, empowering Black Americans to use their right to vote.

In honour of her outstanding contribution to creativity, Kim Gehrig was awarded this year’s President award. Best known as the director of the This Girl Can campaign, the first woman to direct a John Lewis Christmas advert and Viva La Vulva for Libresse, Kim’s portfolio also include credits for Ikea, Lurpak, Cadbury and Amnesty International.

D&AD President, Naresh Ramchandani, said in a statement of the acclaimed director: “For me, creative excellence is work that acts both for the brief and for the world, putting social purpose at the heart of commercial success, and showing us that great creativity lifts everybody up. Kim Gehrig’s work lifts so many people up - women trying to get fitter in the case of This Girl Can, men who stand against toxic masculinity with We Believe, and people unafraid to speak up about periods with Viva La Vulva. Kim is not just an ‘issues director’, because when she addresses issues, they’re not issues at all - they’re national and international provocations and celebrations that touch the hearts of everyone who cares and many more who didn’t know they did. For this reason I believe she couldn’t be more deserving of this year's President’s Award.”

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D&AD Awards 2021, design by Studio Nari (Copyright © D&AD, 2021)

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.

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