There may have been four Black Pencil winners at last night’s D&AD Awards (including the hugely overjoyed chaps from Sapient Nitro’s Brisbane office, who bounded on stage to collect two), but there were two stars of the show – cult US director Spike Jonze, and outgoing D&AD chairman Anthony Simonds-Gooding.
Jonze, who picked up the President’s Award from D&AD president Paul Brazier, was a low-key presence at the event, held at Camden’s Roundhouse venue, sporting the ever-popular black tie and trainers look and surrounded by a coterie of skater chums. He was clearly touched, however, by the showreel put together in his honour, which featured shots from his early skateboard video days, a dancing Christopher Walken, and tributes from colleagues/rivals including Michel Gondry and David O Russell.
Jonze’s laid-back presence was a welcome counterpoint to host Jimmy Carr’s manic mugging and selection of risque one-liners, which occasionally leapt beyond the boundaries of good taste (to the audience’s vocal approval).
Simonds-Gooding was also treated to a showreel of his greatest hits, including the glorious Brief Encounter-spoofing Birds Eye Roast Dinner for One ad he commissioned from director Alan Parker while marketing manager at the company.
Simonds-Gooding has been at D&AD for 17 years, and has steered it through rough waters and smooth. In a lengthy, entertaining and sometimes moving speech, which was rewarded with a standing ovation, Simonds-Gooding paid tribute to the staff at D&AD, in particular the Irish pairing of finance director Dara Lynch and chief executive Tim O’Kennedy. O’Kennedy, Simonds-Gooding declared, comes from a family famed in Ireland for ‘never taking the soup,’ adding, ‘you don’t know what that means, do you?’ Design Week, which shares some of O’Kennedy and Simonds-Gooding’s Irish heritage, believes he was referring to the O’Kennedys’ stubborn refusal to Anglicise their family name by dropping the O.
Simonds-Gooding also praised his successor Dick Powell (making particular and lengthy note of what a handsome chap he is), before taking heed of Trevor Howard’s advice in Brief Encounter – ‘Don’t say goodbye, it sounds so permanent’ – and departing with a cheery ‘Good luck’.