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Australia has won its first "black pencil" at the D&AD Awards, with success for Tourism Queensland's "Best job in the world" campaign.

The D&AD Awards, held last night at the Roundhouse in Camden, London, celebrate excellence in design and advertising. Five of the coveted black pencil awards were handed out, for work including an anti-Robert Mugabe campaign for a newspaper, Apple's website and an environmental project turning New York's elevated railway into a park.

Tourism Queensland's campaign, which attracted global media coverage with a competition to find a "caretaker" for Hamilton Island, in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, picked up two black pencils.

The campaign, by SapientNitro, was awarded black pencils in the integrated and direct categories, after winning three awards at last year's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

South Africa also picked up its first black pencil for a campaign to boost sales of the Zimbabwean, a newspaper that attacked Robert Mugabe's regime, which used the troubled country's almost worthless bank notes to make billboard adverts.

The campaign, "Trillion Dollar Flyer", was developed by South African agency TBWA\Hunt Lascaris and was awarded in the graphic design category. It also was successful at last year's Cannes advertising festival.

The High Line project, which turned 2.5km of disused elevated railway track in New York into an inner-city park, also won a black pencil. The project, which won in the environmental design category, was developed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

D&AD's fifth top award of the night went to in the websites category. The US company, which has now won a record seven black pencils since 1999, is the most successful in the 48-year history of the event.

"And there we have it: proof, if it were needed, that creativity shines in the face of the global recession," said the D&AD president, Paul Brazier. "When a simple stamp on a useless banknote can make a statement for freedom of speech and a barrier reef tourist destination can become the biggest story on the news, it really feels like times are changing."

Black pencils are only awarded to work that is considered by judges to be "truly groundbreaking, the kind of work that redefines a medium". There are some years in which none are handed out by the D&AD judges.

A total of 42 yellow pencils were awarded last night. TBWA\Hunt Lascaris picked up three yellow pencils, on top of the black award, for the Zimbabwean campaign in the graphic design, outdoor and integrated categories.

In terms of UK ad agencies, RKCR won two pencils for TV craft for "Fantastic Journey" for Virgin Media and for a fire safety campaign called "Breathe".

Smoothie maker Innocent won a yellow pencil for its latest package redesign.

Perhaps due to the recession, D&AD entries was down by 3.9% year on year.


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