D&AD’s Top Social-Good Campaigns Highlight How 3D Printing Can Help or Hurt the World

'Harmless Guns' and Ikea's 'ThisAbles' win Black Pencils

'Harmless Guns' from 3D printing company Dagoma and TBWA\Paris altered printable firearm plans to keep them from being functional. TBWA\Paris
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Advertising awards program D&AD has announced the winners of its fourth annual Impact Awards, honoring marketing campaigns that drive positive change in the categories of Community and Civic Engagement, Equality and Diversity, Educational and Financial Empowerment, Health and Wellness, Humanitarian Aid and Environment and Sustainability.

In addition to D&AD’s usual Wood Pencil (bronze) and Graphite Pencil (silver), the Impact Award juries give White Pencils as the gold equivalent for cause-marketing campaigns. Black Pencils, D&AD’s highest honors, can also be given out to work that the jury determines to be innovative at a level that sets a new bar for the industry.

This year, two Impact Black Pencils were awarded, both coincidentally showcasing 3D printing’s potential as an increasingly accessible tool that can be used to help or hurt others.

The campaign “Harmless Guns” by agency TBWA\Paris for 3D printing company Dagoma, entered in the category of Community and Civic Engagement, won a Black Pencil for its efforts to both spotlight and address the issue of downloadable firearm designs.

The French company disrupted the illegal dissemination of 3D-printed gun designs by distorting and corrupting weapons schematics found online and then reuploading them to the sites where people might be searching for them.

When users tried printing guns from these sites, they noted that while the guns came out looking correct, they did not function properly. Hence, the guns were rendered harmless.

This year’s second Black Pencil went to “ThisAbles” by McCann Tel Aviv in the category of Equality and Diversity. The campaign developed a series of 3D-printed products that make Ikea furniture more accessible for people with disabilities.

To see a brand creating something “that hacks your own products but is open source and free is truly remarkable,” said Vice Media partner and Impact juror Lars Hemming. “And, quite honestly, those add-ons that they’ve designed would work for other furniture too.”

Hemming said the ThisAbles campaign is an example of an idea that could scale far beyond its original intent.

“I really believe they will help hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, which is amazing,” he said. “It’s not self-serving. At times you’re like, ‘Yeah, but you’re doing that just to sell more,’ and people can see through it. But this feels like very altruistic and groundbreaking.”

In all, this year’s D&AD Impact awarded two Black Pencils, four White Pencils, five Graphite Pencils and 10 Wood Pencils and 11 Future Impact Pencils.

The D&AD Impact White Pencil winners were:

FCB/Six’s “Go Back to Africa” for Black & Abroad

FBC Inferno’s “Story Sign” for Huawei

It’s a super simple idea,” said juror Nicole Vollebregt, svp of global purpose at Adidas. “Millions of deaf children [who], if they’re aren’t able to become literate, there is a higher incidence of mental illness—which makes perfect sense, but I’ve never thought of it before. The ability to create something so simple for them to be able to become literate is just amazing.”

Finch Melbourne’s “The Lion’s Share” for Mars Inc.

The Lion’s Share stood out a lot, not only for the simplicity of the idea but also for the impact it created,” said juror Ali Rez, regional executive creative director for Middle East and Pakistan at Impact BBDO. “It was real action. It’s a hugely sustainable thought that can work anywhere in the world.

“It’s one of those thoughts that makes you want to kick yourself for not [having thought of] it. It’s brilliant. It respects my life. And that’s what I love about it. It’s a real solution that works.”

McCann New York’s “Changing the Game” for Microsoft

@monicroqueta monica.zorrilla@adweek.com Mónica is a breaking news reporter at Adweek.