Passing The Pencil Test: The Winners Of The Inaugural D&AD Impact Awards

A grand total of 87 creative agencies and brands came together in New York City for the Advertising Week-sponsored event.


Against the backdrop of Advertising Week 2016 in New York City, international creative organization D&AD (in partnership with Advertising Week) unveiled the inaugural D&AD Impact Awards. What sets this show apart from the creative awards D&AD has handed out since its founding in 1962 was the specific focus on companies and brands using their work to make the world a better place.


French supermarket brand Intermarché’s “Inglorious Fruit and Vegetables” and America’s “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense” (part of the campaign “Taking Aim at Corporate America”) were among the top honorees (both took home Black Pencil awards) at the event.

“Inglorious Fruit and Vegetables,” created by advertising agency Marcel, is a global campaign to re-brand “ugly” natural produce to make it heroic so more appealing in order to reduce food waste.

National grassroots “gun sense” lobbyists “Moms Demand . . .” worked with Grey Canada for its “Taking Aim at Corporate America” campaign which included “Groceries Not Guns”–a direct challenge to grocery store Kroger’s support of the U.S. law allowing people to bring loaded guns in store.


A total of 87 D&AD Impact Awards were given at the gala evening–including 20 coveted White Pencils–to brands and organizations whose creative projects have benefitted society as well as the bottom line.

D&AD White Pencil winners included:

  • The Ad Council’s iconic, anti-bias campaign Love Has No Labels created by R/GA with a three-minute public service film of people of different genders, abilities and sexual orientation dancing behind a giant X-ray screen

  • Honey Maid’s This Is Wholesome created by Droga 5 which celebrates the diversity of families by conveying their wholesomeness, irrespective of their make-up.

  • Luki Fruit Snacks’ Lifesaver Backpack created with JWT Colombia to help and teach water safety to children in remote jungle communities traveling to school along rivers prone to flash floods.

  • DePaul UK for its DePaul Box Co initiative created by Publicis selling removal and packing boxes with funds raised going to the homeless.

  • P&G India’s Dads #Share the Load created by BBDO India which challenged a predominantly patriarchal society to re-think stereotypes about men and women in the home.

D&AD Impact was conceived to recognize big ideas that are making a difference in the world and which demonstrate the power of creativity to drive positive change.


Designed to build on D&AD’s White Pencils to recognize organizations that prioritize purpose as well as profit, it is also intended to reach beyond the traditional advertising world to extend into tech, social enterprises, media, and entertainment.

“Global industry cannot afford to neglect the imperative that their bottom line must now be driven by profit as well as purpose,” says D&AD President Tim Lindsay.

“We’re in a post-CSR environment in which businesses are now acutely aware that consumers are demanding ethical as well as financial value from their products and services. Tokenistic projects no longer hold any weight.”

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

D&AD Impact has been designed to highlight and celebrate examples of creative excellence that we can admire and emulate. “The winners are case studies for creating a better future,” he says.

Jointly backed by D&AD and Advertising Week, D&AD Impact’s 12 categories ranged from communication and interaction through education, humanitarian aid and government engagement to urban living.

Jamie Oliver and Richard Curtis lead juries spanning the world of business, communications, arts, music, and politics which included BuzzFeed CMO Frank Cooper, Squarespace CEO Anthony Casalena, and Airbnb head of marketing Alex Dimiziani.


Entries were judged according to the originality and innovativeness of their idea, their clear and measurable impact, and relevance to the business’s commercial needs.

You can see a full list of honorees over at D&AD Impact.

About the author

Meg Carter is a UK-based freelance journalist who has written widely on all aspects of branding, media, marketing & creativity for a wide range of outlets including The Independent, Financial Times and Guardian newspapers, New Media Age and Wired.