‘We done it!’ D&AD shoots its Great Pencil Heist

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The London-based D&AD organisation has confessed to stealing D&AD Pencils from agencies around the world in a stunt that D&AD has now revealed was blatant self-promotion.

Agency creative departments in Sao Paul, Cape Town, London, San Francisco and Melbourne (but not NZ) were hit by key “insiders” from within each agency.

D&AD and Brit agency Lucky Generals (who helped organise the stunt) also shot a behind-the scenes-film that shows how it was all orchestrated.

“Why did we do it?” says D&AD ceo Tim Lindsay. “To remind the creative community of the true value of a D&AD Pencil, and that when it comes to creative awards, nothing matters more.

“Everyone has heard the old adage ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ and thanks to the creative minds at Lucky Generals, they were able to remind some of the world’s top creatives just that.

“By capturing the passion (and colourful language) that a missing D&AD Pencil evokes, they wanted to remind people of all the hard graft that goes into winning each award and why striving for creative excellence is still so important.”

The film, which has been released on social media today, shows the reach that this stunt had. Targeting top creatives including Rosie Arnold (BBH), Nils Leonard (Grey London) and Charlie Wilson (OgilvyOne) who talk about their cherished D&AD Pencils.

BBH’s Executive Creative Director Rosie Arnold says in the film: “The D&AD pencils are the most difficult to win, the most treasured – my pencil has pride of place in my collection”.

The heist took place on Monday 11 January and and Tim Lindsay says it sparked a wave of reactions over the following days, as agencies all over the world worried over their trophies’ fate and voiced their confusion on social media.

It was not until four days later (Thursday 14 January), that the Pencils were returned, alongside an explanation that the stunt had been designed to dramatise the uniquely precious nature of the awards.

“The heist was a spectacular piece of planning and was excellently executed, Lindsay said. “But despite the excitement of seeing the reactions on social media, it was never really about taking the Pencils.

“What we set out to do from the start, was to capture the reactions of people as their Pencils were returned, reminding them of a very personal achievement, and I think that this film illustrates this perfectly.”

Lucky Generals founder Helen Calcraft said: “At a time when some are rightly questioning the plethora of awards in our industry, the D&AD Pencil remains the one that creative people really want to win. The response to our heist, in agencies all over the world, proves that when it comes to awards, nothing matters more.”

To learn more about who was involved in the stunt, watch the heist film or see interviews with some of our victims click on this link: www.dandad.org/en/nothingmattersmore/#film

Entries for the D&AD Professional Awards close on 17 February 2016. They cost from £85 to enter and will be judged at the D&AD Festival which will be viewed by senior creatives and visitors to the festival. Learn more about the D&AD Professional Awards here: www.dandad.org/en/professional-awards

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