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D&AD: celebrating creativity in technology

Sep 11, 2020

In the creative world, there are few career milestones more defining than being a D&AD Pencil-winner. Established in 1962 to stimulate, inspire and award the very best in creative excellence, these awards recognise beautiful and brilliantly executed ideas in design, communications, technology and film – setting the standard for the coming year.

This year’s virtual ceremony took place on Thursday, September 10th, and as a leader in our field, PHMG celebrated the exceptional work of our peers in the Radio and Audio Category – honouring the very best communications across broadcasting, podcasts, and other audio channels. 

We’ve payed close attention to the Creative Use of Technology Category, which awarded brands who’ve used technology in an innovative or ingenious way to bring their message to life through audio. This exciting work in voice activation, virtual assistants, FM transmitters, apps, data and binaural recording pushes the boundaries of what tech can do, connects creativity with efficiency, and inspires us to explore the furthest potentials of sound so we can maintain our own cutting-edge.

This year’s nominees included VIRTUE’s work with Copenhagen Pride, who celebrated the shift in social conscience to move beyond binary gender by introducing the world’s first genderless voice for AI assistants. Since its launch, Q has been added to the UNESCO report, ‘I’d Blush If I Could,’ and exhibited at museums around the world. VMLY&R also earned a nod for their voice-activated game celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and Volkswagen for ‘Road Tales,’ – location-based audiobooks that transform ordinary highways into magical tales. But the overall winner was Jung Von Matt for the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra – a previous Pencil-winner who collaborated with a team of software developers and music arrangers. They used custom-built algorithms and 300 years of climate data to recompose Vivaldi’s masterpiece, Four Seasons. The result is ‘For Seasons,’ a piece very much of its time which uses the power of data to raise awareness of the consequences of climate change.

All of the nominees in the 2020 D&AD awards have created exceptionally impressive work, but we find this category particularly inspiring as it demonstrates how technology and creativity work hand in hand to transform audience perceptions and increase engagement – both key benefits of using audio branding through cloud telephony. Unlocking the unlimited potential of this innovative telephone system, this adaptable, future-proof and entirely cost-effective technology transforms the caller journey into a branded experience – injecting real identity through creative use of audio. As our copywriters, composers, voice artists and producers bring such exciting levels of ingenuity to each client production, we aspire to take home our own D&AD Pencil in the not-too-distant future.