The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

May 30, 2015 | 3 min read

Agencies have welcomed D&AD's Ad Filter tool that allows people to swap boring ads for award-winning work from the body’s extensive archive.

Created by BETC Paris, the free installation for Chrome and Firefox replaces a bad pre-roll with the likes of Volvo’s ‘Van Damme splits’, Cadbury’s ‘drumming gorilla’ or Sony’s ‘balls’ with the click of the iconic yellow pencil.

The launch was particularly relevant as AdBlock Plus, which allows people to block “annoying” online ads, won a court case in Germany and marked the fourth time it had batted away legal challenges to its offering.

It comes as online advertising continues to grow, worth an estimated $141.2bn globally in 2014. Simultaneously, the number of people with ad blockers jumped 70 per cent year on year in 2014, according to PageFair and Adobe.

Simon Gill, chief creative officer UK at DigitasLBi, said the tool is a timely reminder of the power of creativity.

“I once had a chat with an SVP of a major ad platform, where he shared an insight that poor ads are bad for business; they are training viewers to ignore anything that looks like an online and in doing so making the future online advertising less successful for both brand and publisher. So, ad platforms should incentivise advertisers to create (and target) better ads. Ones we’ll stop, watch or interact with and enjoy,” he explained.

However, Peter Souter, chairman and chief creative officer at TBWA\London was impressed with D&AD’s Ad Filter.

“We need the chance to see new work making its way out into the world. So let's not block the hand that feeds us," he said.

However, unless D&AD puts a sizeable PR budget behind it, it's unlikely to be taken up widely by people outside the ad industry.

Ben Clapp, deputy execuitve creative director at Grey - and regular D&AD judge - said he was hooked as soon as he downloaded it but doubts ‘normal’ people will feel the same. "Why would people install an app to just block bad ads, when they could choose to avoid all ads…even great ones?," he asked.

"My question would be instead, are we doing pre-roll right? Why do these (admittedly great) 30-90 second TV spots plonked on YouTube, seem so much more engaging than the ads placed on Trueview everyday? Because with a few exceptions, we aren’t getting it right. The typical agency approach to pre-roll is echoing our audiences response to ads in general, suffering this intrusion into their world…instead of genuinely loving it."


Client: D&AD

Brand Management: Laura Kelly

Agency: BETC, BETC Digital

Agency Management: Niamh O'Connor, Anaïs Pirajean

Chief Creative Officer: Stéphane Xiberras

Executive Creative Director: Olivier Apers

Art Directors: Alphons Conzen, Jonathan Baudet-Botella

Copywriter: Adrian Skenderovic

Development: Cogit

Motion Design: Raphaël Benhamou

Adblockers D&AD Grey

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